Cancer Story

Cancer – 1 Year On

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 in Cancer Story
Photography Fighting Cancer – Part 4

Photography Fighting Cancer – Part 4

It was all going a little too well!

When I last signed off I had had by far the best two days since starting chemotherapy. I had managed to take the dogs out for a couple of sunrise walks where we saw a lovely deer, and I even met my nephew from school to celebrate his 9th birthday. All these things tired me out much more than normal, but I was able to do them and was just so so grateful to not feel ill.

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That night my hair started to fall out. I knew this would happen and wasn’t concerned or upset by it, so the plan was the next morning to nip down the barbers and shave it all off. I woke up around 5am and was really severely sick. Not really sure what caused it, we wonder if it was food poisoning as after being sick I felt ok again. I then went and had the full Phil Mitchel to avoid blocking every drain in the house and covering my pillow with hair. I’ll let you decide if it’s more The Rock or Humpty Dumpty in effect!

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When I came back I felt much worse, and was really REALLY sick. Today was also my final chemo treatment so I had a midday appointment to prescribe the chemo to be administered at 4pm. I felt terrible when we arrived, and I seemingly looking it too as one of the volunteers who help out around oncology got me immediately in front of the specialist despite him running 20 mins late and without us even asking! They immediately admitted me and suspected I had picked up some sort of virus which under normal circumstances would be unpleasant, but in my position with a much lower immune system could be very serious indeed. My temp was 39 and blood test showed that I was Neutropenic, which in a basic explanation (due to my ability to describe not your inability to understand) is an abnormally low white blood cell count. Fluids and antibiotics would hopefully see the temp and bloods return to a safe level within 48hrs.

After a very unpleasant 24hrs my temp returned to normal and I felt much better. My white blood cells were still low, but after another 24hrs they were happy for me to go home. I felt good, for about 3 hours and then went downhill badly again. Fortunately, this lasted only for about 4 hours, and by the morning I was feeling OK again. But another scare just to remind me that I’m not out the woods yet!

Whilst this was going on pretty much my entire family was hit by the same bug to a lesser or greater degree. Wife, son, mother, father, mother in law, sister, brother in law, niece & nephews! I sit here a week on almost amused by how ridiculous that situation was, but it wasn’t funny at the time. Especially as I was of no practical use, and in fact needed a bit of a hand, and all the hands who are usually there were busy holding a toilet, holding someone’s hair back or cleaning up!

A week has since passed from the last time I left hospital, and the week has seen a steady and very welcome improvement. I no longer feel sick, my reliance on napping is reducing, and my only real issue is a constant headache which after everything else iv been through, I can put up with! My main objective has been to avoid contact with everyone for fear of catching something again whilst my immune system is really low, but it does mean I have been able to get out and walk the dogs a little, and I even snuck out for a couple of hours to take the photo above of Broadway Tower. I love night photography. There is something about shooting in the dark at a bizarre time of day that’s quite special. There is never anyone else doing it too, which adds to the feeling you’re capturing something unique. The picture below is probably my favourite night photo I have taken so far. It is of Trevose Head lighthouse in Cornwall. I had to scale a fairly high rock face in the pitch black to get it, and the headline of “lunatic photography kills himself scaling cliff” did cross my mind half way up as I questioned my own sanity!

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One revealing bit of data which very clearly documents how poorly/well I’ve been, is my Apple Health App, which unknown to me is always recording how far I travel in a day.  A look at the graph below quite clearly shows the ups and downs I have experienced! Perhaps we shouldn’t make any employers aware of this feature!

One thing I have been able to commit a bit of time to in the last week or so despite being more pushed for time than I’d like thanks to being out of action, is preparing for exhibiting at the Bride & Groom Show at Cheltenham town hall in January. I think for most people when choosing a wedding photographer they are as much buying into you as a person as in the images they see on your website, that’s where recommendations or meeting in the flesh at events like this are so helpful spreading the word! Come and say hello if you’re going!

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Throughout the last 4 month rollercoaster it has been great having this blog to put a bit of time into that isn’t too draining but also enjoyable and rewarding. I would like to thank everyone who has continued to read it and especially those who have messaged me with such kind words of support. It really makes a difference. A welcome side effect has been the support my family have received from their friends who have also read it, and they truly deserve that support as to see a loved one suffer, and you be completely unable to make it stop, must be a horrible position to be in. I hope I don’t put you all through too many more!

This will hopefully be my last blog for the foreseeable future on my experience with cancer. Although I will possibly do an update if there are any interesting observations on the NHS, and follow up experiences over the next 12 months. Please keep checking back though, as I will continue to post on photographs I have taken, and of course weddings I shoot in 2017.

I will sign off by saying – Men, check your balls every month. Women – nag your partner to check their balls every month. It could save a life.

Best wishes


Posted by Lee Hawley in Cancer Story
Photography Fighting Cancer – Part 3

Photography Fighting Cancer – Part 3

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So the day hopefully arrives for chemotherapy to start. The plan was a load of tests, checks and a briefing of what to expect, then onto the ward provided there is a bed. I consciously tried to prepare myself for there not being a bed ready, but hope got the better of me meaning I was really disappointed to be told there was no room at the in. The sooner I start the sooner I’m home, but ultimately, it’s just a small delay.

I rang back first thing the following morning and joy of joys I will start chemo today! As I mentioned before I’m doing my best to be ignorant to as much as possible to reduce the worry, so as a father to a 1yr old I’m treating 3 days in hospital as a holiday!

My bed wasn’t ready when I arrived at 10am and didn’t become available until about 5pm, so I had my first full days treatment in a small waiting/treatment room. Which was actually fine as it was private and the chair was comfy. Early on my appointed nurse started to get a sense she wasn’t dealing with a completely regular inpatient when she moved my night bag to the other side of the room, nearly putting her back out saying “bloody hell what you got in here?!”, “ah yes that’ll be the 200kgs of camera kit Iv brought with me. Which reminds me Iv forgotten to bring a towel, shower gel and toothpaste, can you help? I do have a tripod if that’s any consolation”.

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Throughout the day I felt pretty much fine. Maybe a bit light headed, but if that was the extent of it I’d be over the moon. Today I’d received two bags of chemo, with three planned for day two and one for day three. Early evening I started to feel a bit sick, had some more drugs which helped, but a couple of hours later I felt truly horrific. I don’t recall ever feeling so ill. Terrible sickness and hot sweats for about half an hour progressively getting worse. Eventually a new load of drugs started to kick in and it eased. Very unpleasant and did make me slightly fearful of what’s to come.

First night I had got a couple of hrs sleep until I was awoken by the big fat man with cancer (obvs) next to me falling out of bed. It took three nurses, a hoist and about 4000 decibels to get him back to bed.

After that, sleep was sporadic at best. From my sample survey on my ward I can conclude 100% of men snore. Including me as I woke myself up twice!

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Everything you have just read was written on the day it happened, but at the start of day two it was clear anything as strenuous as typing was now beyond me physically and mentally, as was taking photographs sadly. The feeling is hard to describe – not unlike proper flu, but certainly not the same. Achey, weak, shaky, difficult to concentrate, very very tired and worst of all sick. After my horrible first night experience I was paranoid about keeping on top of the sickness with as many drugs as they’d give me, but despite three aural pills and an injection I still felt quite sick during day two’s punishing 3 bags of chemo. My sister had a stab at describing chemo as lots of little Jack Bauer’s whizzing around your bloodstream attacking cancer. Well the analogy kind of works except they aren’t Jack Bauer, but ISIS instead! They don’t care for collateral damage so take down everything in sight, some cancer, some normal stuff that’s not causing any harm, which is why it makes you feel so bad.

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The staff on Cheltenham’s Lilleybrook Ward were amazing. Their caring & helpful attitude is something you rarely see in the real world anymore, and when you are in a strange environment feeling rather fragile it makes the world of difference.

Things picked up a bit for my final day as an inpatient but the next 4 days or so were worse than the lows I’d experienced earlier. I won’t dwell on them as they won’t make nice reading but ultimately they resulted in me being readmitted to hospital for a day and enduring what felt like an eternity of relentless illness. Very challenging times that I can only thank my wife & family for getting me through, and apologise for dragging them through it with me! I want to take this chance to emphasis how experiences like this have far wider impact than those who have the illness. Kim and me both have full time lives outside of work, so for Kim to keep on top of our dogs, ponies and 1yr old whilst working as a vet nurse and dog trainer without me pulling my weight AND looking after me is nothing short of a miracle. I couldn’t continue battling through this without her.

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Day 10 since starting chemo and went back in for my second to last treatment, which made me feel worse again for a day or two, but I’m now feeling the best I have since this process started. Which is to say like I have a horrendous hang over, but that’s much better than things have been!

I went into this knowingly ignorant, and I’d do the same again, but it has been harder than I could have imagined. I have read a fair bit since and it does seem some have it worse than others, so I’ll chalk it up to bad luck! I understand my type of chemo is fairly short and sharp, and affects everyone differently, but the admiration and sympathy I have for those who undergo months of any form of chemo is through the roof. True silent heroes that only those who experience it can be able to understand what they go through.

I am very aware my experience is tip of an iceberg compared to many, and as a result feel a bit of a fraud once this is over and a distant memory. I am however perversely grateful for having this experience. Yes I’d never have chosen to have cancer, but now that I am going through one of life’s more extreme challenges, I feel I have been given an even better context of the world. Perhaps also less tolerance for bullshit (although I expect that’s more temporary) but ultimately a clearer view of what’s important in life and makes me even more dedicated to photograph it.

I sign off this entry at the end of Day 12, and (relatively speaking) I all of a sudden feel amazing. I have spent all but a couple of hours out of bed, been out the house for a few hours and even went for a short walk with the dogs and went photo crazy, with the sun and moon playing ball particularly well. A huge boost, and all of a sudden a massive beam of light at the end of the tunnel has appeared.

I have one more session of chemo to go next week. I will post again after that and hope to bring news of a more steady recovery, but already I am starting to look forward to 2017.

Thanks for reading. Please like and share if you feel inclined.

Posted by Lee Hawley in Cancer Story
Photography Fighting Cancer – Part 2

Photography Fighting Cancer – Part 2

Firstly, thank you for the amazing feedback on part 1 of this series of blogs (Part 1 here if you missed it It has had a huge amount of views and I have been contacted by a real cross section of people to wish me well or share their experiences past and present. It can be a real boost and I urge anyone in a similar boat to give writing a blog a go. It may be the extra bit of support you need.

The clocks changing brings glorious autumn colours and shorter days. There is no denying the excessive darkness isn’t ideal, but getting to experience sunrise and sunset most days goes someway to making up for it. I adore the coming and the going of the sun and the 30 mins before sunset and after sunrise is something that only a photographer will obsess over to quite this level. It’s like a magic wand turning everything it touches a glorious warm colour and really tests your ability to manage settings on your camera to capture something beautiful and very fleeting.

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November brought the much anticipated meeting with the Oncologist. After the seemingly now ubiquitous fondling of my nether regions, he mapped out the plan from here. The following week I would have 3 sperm deposits, which wasn’t even posed as an option and was just the done thing, a good job really as I didn’t fancy making family planning decisions right at this point! The following week would then be the start of 1 cycle of BEP chemo treatment which involved 3 days and nights in hospital while I am hooked up to a drip 24/7 for the drugs to be administered. I should say at this point that if you are after technical ins and outs of chemo or any part of this cancer experience then you are out of luck. My approach from day one has been google nothing, ignorance is your friend, you can’t worry about details you don’t know. It works for me, it might not work for you.

My first thoughts when told of three days in Hospital was to try and get some DVD box sets and check what the hospital Wi-Fi was like! But the following day things started to hit home. Surgery is one thing, I’d had loads before so that wasn’t anything new, but the realisation I was to undergo chemotherapy felt very different. When I would hear of people having chemo id feel that horrible sympathy and fear for their survival. They’d be subconsciously put in a category in my mind that’s hard to explain, but certainly one I’d never expect to find myself in. This was the first time after I initially found the lump that I was scared. No fear for the treatment itself, if anything I welcome some physical connection to what I am suffering mentally, but fear and doubt for my future. It is then you remind yourself of the statistics, and push the doubt to the back of your mind and put on a brave face. This is what men typically do, we don’t ask for help, even when we want it.

It was around this time I was physically up to taking the dogs for a good walk again. I love walking at this time of year, and with my huge telephoto lens there is always a chance of snapping some wildlife along with my gorgeous dogs. Again it helps getting lost away from reality, and goes some way to kerbing a fragile mental state.

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A few days later we had another significant curve ball. The specialist rang me up to say that in their team meeting they had discussed my case, and a more senior specialist had reviewed things and concluded that I may not need Chemotherapy at all. Initially my chances of remittance were put at 30%, and after Chemo that would drop to around 5%, however he now believed my chance of remittance was just 10%, with Chemo taking it down to 5%. So I had a choice to make. Do I take the unpleasantness of chemo on the chin and accept the 1% chance of some form of complication (hearing issues, hair loss, infertility to complications due to low immune system), or adopt the “watch and wait” approach of annual checks for 5 years and get on with life. What would you do? I would genuinely be interested in what your decision would be.

I immediately put this quandary out to my close friends and family. The response was overwhelmingly honest and much more conclusive than the vote to whether we should leave the EU (I’ll avoid that can of worms), but the one opinion that really mattered was my wife’s. She was with me when I took the call, and saw me breakdown upon hanging up. I don’t really know why I did. I hadn’t cried through the whole process to date, but with that moment there was some sort of release. A rare bit of good news, but a bitter sweet one as I now had a very difficult decision to make. Kim’s first thought was to not go ahead with chemo. The stats on initial review seemed like a huge step from 30% down to 10%, so that extra 5% was surely not that significant in context? My initial gut was to carry on with chemo as planned despite the specialist seemingly steering me the other way. Kim’s doubt however really made me challenge that gut feeling. Why wasn’t I euphoric at this good news? Ultimately the answer to that is I knew deep down I still needed to go through with it. An hour later Kim messaged me saying that now she’s had time, she actually thinks I should go through with it. 10% down to 5% is halving the chances, and when you look at it like that, buying 5% and peace of mind for a few weeks of pain, is a small price to pay. That was it then, carry on as planned.

As for the response from friends and family? Well apart from those sitting on the fence, one friend strongly felt I should watch and wait and gave a very(!) detailed and logically stat based argument to back that up, which was great as any decision you make should hold up against strong challenge. But the vast majority went for what I ultimately decided. I later met a chemo expert and asked him what he would do given those choices. He said quite simply the “watch and wait” approach is a life sentence. Never truly being able to move on, waiting for it to come back. He also said that it’s all well and good an expert in an office looking at stats saying “oh yeah he will probably be fine”, but it isn’t them that have to live with it. It was great to hear this. I would take any amount of pain to secure a stronger future even if it is just 5%, and one look at my family confirms that belief.

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My mum always says I am a glass half full kind of person, and I guess she has a point. Although unpleasant, these last few months have been a life experience, and once it’s all over I will be a stronger and mentally richer person. Us humans tend to break things down into years, and often subconsciously or consciously review each year at its conclusion. Now in November it would be easy to write 2016 off and move on, but it’s actually been a fantastic year, my wife and I have seen our son grow from a tiny baby to a little monster, I mean little boy. This is the single proudest & rewarding experience of my life.

I have also had the privilege to capture images at some gorgeous weddings for some very special couples. A genuine thrill and one reason why I cannot wait for a busy 2017 capturing some more perfect days.

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Sorry guys, we are about to lower to tone a bit now I’m afraid. The week before chemo I had to make 3 sperm deposits in case I suffered a reduced sperm count or even infertility as a result of the treatment. Fortunately, these 3 deposits are not all on the same day, probably not a challenge for a 16yr old me, but one I’d rather not tackle right now!

Now, anything I write from here on is an innuendo minefield, which is very difficult to avoid so bear with me! I arrived at the Pathology building to find no reception or obvious place to announce my arrival apart from a small hatch receiving deliveries. I stood by the hatch and a very attractive blonde woman in her 20’s asked if she could help (see what I mean!). What followed was a very clumsy conversation of tip toeing around the obvious, until she eventually understood why I was there and called for a colleague to sort me out. Thankfully she stopped short of “Steve! Iv got Lee Hawley here who needs to give a sperm sample!” The nice man got me to sign some more forms and told me where to put my sample once finished, and gave me a very(!) small cup. Now I’m not bragging, but I seriously questioned my ability to get anything in that cup. Or perhaps there are multiple sized cups and he just made a judgment on me? Who knows! But the embarrassment of going to the little hatch and saying “um, sorry, I missed the cup” was probably too much for my relatively high embarrassment threshold to bear! Anyway, we are bordering on an overshare here now, so we won’t go into any further details and leave it at everything went fine from that point on!

With another extended time laid up looming, I was busier than ever trying to get on top of things whilst attending a significant amount of hospital appointments, as i finish writting this i have been into hospiatl every week day for the last 7 days! With hopefully the final stage nearly here, would it be all downhill? or my biggest challenge yet?

Posted by Lee Hawley in Cancer Story
Photography Fighting Cancer – Part 1

Photography Fighting Cancer – Part 1

Fear & Fight

Many of us know how high the likelihood is that we will be effected by, or even diagnosed with cancer in our lifetime, but despite this I don’t think we ever really expect it to be us. I certainly didn’t at age 34, with a busy life, a full time job, young family and a fledgling photography business.

In the middle of August I found a lump on my right testicle whilst watching the Great British Bake Off (don’t ask), 18hrs later I was in the doctors being inspected, and 5 weeks to the day later I was sat on my sofa watching the Great British Bake Off feeling rather sorry for myself having had the testicle removed that afternoon.

Rewind to the first two weeks after finding the lump, they were frankly some of the most unpleasant I have experienced, the unknowing and thoughts you have obout your future are simply terrifying. You cling to the little things for some sanity, and these dark times do have the potential to produce some more amusing moments when looked at in retrospect, if not at the time. After my initial inspection I was told to sit in the waiting room whilst the emergency practice waits for my normal doctors surgery to ring back to get things logged. The phone rings on the reception desk where the doctor goes on to describe how “Lee Hawley has a sinister lump on his right testicle…” in full view of the entire waiting room, of which I was the only man amongst 3 women and 2 children. So it didn’t take Sherlock Holmes to guess who Lee Hawley was!

Things went into limbo for a few weeks whilst waiting for a Urology appointment. I have no shame in admitting I was scared. Going about life like nothing’s wrong, colleagues, friends and family unaware of this huge invisible weight of unknowing was challenging, but I felt I had to keep it quiet as it seemed unfair to inflict this worry on others until there is something concrete to tell them. At this point I had no idea how early I had found the lump, whether it had spread, and would I see my sons 2nd birthday.

This is when photography stepped in as a psychological life line. When I am off taking photographs I am completely absorbed in that process. My mind is washed clean as I concentrate on what I am shooting. Finding something interesting in the mundane, or capturing natural beauty as well as you see it in person. It is a part of cancer that is so difficult to cope with, as physically I felt absolutely fine which only made my experience all the more confusing due to its almost invisible nature.

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Having had blood tests and a CT scan I at last saw a Urologist who was able to review all my results and ease my worries as much as possible. She told me that I had caught it early which is a big plus, and that I would have surgery within 2 weeks. I now had a plan, and I like a plan. It was at the point with the cloud lifted slightly that I told friends and family. With it out in the open, and a plan in place I felt much better about things. Support from family is priceless, as is banter from friends. I’ve never been compared to Hitler until now!

Surgery day came, and everyone at Cirencester hospital was fantastic, I felt thoroughly cared for and that I was in safe hands. A few hours later I came too, one ball lighter & staggered how high and large the incision was. Shortly after I was being driven home by my wife, cursing my cars stiff suspension!

For the 4 weeks after my surgery I was in quite a lot of pain, more than predicted, which was most frustrating as the recovery time is usually around 2 weeks. So I went back to the doctors to get their thoughts, which brought an amusing moment in an otherwise fairly serious and joyless time. I had my one yr old son with me in his little trike (the only thing that will keep him still!) so of we rolled into the doctor’s office. The doctor was no more than mid-late 20’s, female and pretty. By this point I had grown used to every tom dick and harry fondling my bits in the name of their profession, but there was something of an out of body experience to being lead on the bed stripped from the waist down, a pretty doctor playing with my remaining ball whilst my son is sat in his trike behind pulling on her skirt shouting “brum brum brum”!

But anyway, after getting another doctor in to have a look(!) they determined id suffered some nerve damage, and with some more pills and a bit of time, all would be well.

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As an active person it is mentally very challenging to rest up for days on end, and not being able to get out to take some photos or even bend down to take a shot of my son was frustrating. I did get some relief through editing my photographs though. Hours can pass without a thought of my worries as I am lost in a world of white balance, tone curves and exposure. There is always something to learn too, which can be genuinely quite exciting, even resulting in the odd adrenalin hit as a new tweak makes an image “pop”.

After a week I did hobble the 50 odd meters down our lane to snap a shot inside the village church. Even as an atheist I love churches. Their history, architecture and beauty are almost unmatched to the point that even I can understand the spiritual feeling believers get.

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5 weeks after my surgery I met with the Urologist where I expected to hear how the surgery went, the results from test conducted on the testicle, and the plan going forward, as we know, I like a plan. The news was mixed. She was happy everything had been removed, although the tests showed 95% of the cancer cells were the less desirable ones. This meant I may be put forward for Chemotherapy, but I would need to see someone else about the details of if, when, how much and what it would mean for life and work impact. I left this appointment deflated and disappointed. I am generally a very positive person, and could see the good news in what had been said and I wasn’t worried about having further treatment, but I was upset I didn’t have the next phase mapped out yet. Sadly I have learnt this is part and parcel of what having cancer is – the waiting and the unknowing.

I have also learnt how the psychological battle is as great as the physical one. Apart from the surgery I still felt fine, yet my tolerance levels were definitely suffering, as was my ability to cope with life’s challenges as it feels like everything is working at capacity to keep your mind on an even keel. I didn’t realise this until something fairly mundane would go wrong, and you’d realise you are struggling to deal with it, wishing more than anything else to just walk away from the situation. This is again where having an escape helps, and photography does just that. It’s something I am responsible for and in control of with no reliance on external factors, and can get a buzz from creating something.

Next was another period of waiting. The surgery now behind me, and the next meeting possibly giving me the all clear to get on with life, or hold details of further treatment. A meeting I would once again have to wait for and remain in limbo. Which is where I will leave you with part one of this blog.

Thank you for taking the time to read. Please feel free to click “Like” or  “Share” below, and keep checking back for part two soon.

Posted by Lee Hawley in Cancer Story