cancer blog photography cheltenham gloucestershire testicular cancer story

Cancer – 1 Year On

It’s been just over a year since I finished treatment for testicular cancer, an experience that lasted just over 6 months. I had hoped to write a follow up blog a year on, but things have been so brilliantly busy with all the wonderful weddings and future brides and grooms to be, I just haven’t had chance to commit the time to it. However I have been managing to write a bit here and a bit there, and at last its done!

I can’t quite believe it has been over a year, but at the same time I can’t believe how much has happened in that time. Time flies when you’re having fun and that’s certainly the case with all the wonderful people I have met, and weddings iv been able to capture in 2017.

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For those new to my blog you can catch up below in my 4 part series. As with my photography, these blogs are candid, honest, at times emotional and hopefully funny.
Part 1 – Fear & Fight
Part 2 – Curve Balls
Part 3 – Chemo
Part 4 – It was all going a little too well
Reading them again brought back a lot of memories, the fear and pain being stand out feelings. It has also given me a reminder of the stress and worry I once again put my poor family through!

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​My optimism and determination for 2017 after what 2016 dealt has been rewarded with so much happiness, and more professional success than I could have imagined. Having cancer, albeit nothing like what so many have to suffer, was a life affirming experience, but with the pace of life and how busy I have been, I have never really stopped to take stock, but thanks to the beauty of having a blog this is a good opportunity to do just that, and share it with those who gave me such wonderful words of support throughout that very tough time.

Two events in my life made a significant difference to my outlook onto the world. The first was a serious road traffic accident in my early 20’s which I was one of several victims, and the second was the birth of my son. The former brought the privilege life is into focus and how to never take it for granted, the latter highlighted how precious it is.

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​I am still not sure whether having cancer has made a similar impact. It could be argued my determination and willingness to throw everything into my photography work is a consequence, but that’s always been my approach to things I’m passionate about. I am possibly more willing to take a gamble now by investing in it as I’m more acutely aware life is short, but it’s possibly one of the things I will never know the real answer.

I do know I am a bit more emotional since, with random things catching me off guard, and I’ll admit I get a lump in my throat on nearly every brides walk down the aisle!

​On the health front so far everything is going well. I have regular blood tests, X-Rays and yes even more bollock (singular) fondling, but so far so good. I don’t really know what the plan is going forward, I just wait for the next letter and turn up! Ignorance has been my approach throughout and it works for me.

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You will see from Part 2 of my blog I had a tough decision to make as to whether I should go ahead and have Chemo or not. My decision was obviously to go ahead, and my logic being I’d rather take short term pain for long term peace of mind. It was 100% the right decision for me. Even when I was in absolute agony as a consequence of the treatment, I didn’t regret it for one minute, and now that I am able to go on living my life with no real elevated reason to worry about cancer than anyone else, I know my shoulders carry less weight than they could.

Oh yeah, and I now have very curly hair after 35 years of poker strait hair!

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​I am under no illusion how fortunate I have been with my cancer experience. Although I had some horrible experiences, it was all done and dusted really quite quickly, leaving me with no real long term consequences and able to get on with my life that so many are cruelly denied.

And getting on with life I sure am! Juggling home life with putting everything I can into Lee Hawley Photography.  The title for my initial 4 part blog  was “Photography Fighting Cancer” as my love for it was a real escape and source of comfort and focus. This last 12 months has only strengthened and made that title more meaningful as I get to capture so many amazing wedding days, with my images living on for the rest of those couples lives. I’m enormously humbled I get to share this passion with so many people.

And with more people I shall share it! 2018 has already surpassed 2017 for bookings, and I am spending just as much time dealing with enquiries for 2019 as 2018!

Thanks for reading, and have a healthy 2018.


Posted by Lee Hawley