I am not really much of a writer, as I usually let my photography speak for me. But as the year has progressed along, there are some things that cannot be expressed merely through photos and images, so on this New Year’s Eve I will share these with you. First of all, for those of you who have been following my photography site throughout 2011, this is also a chance to meet you and introduce myself. I want to thank you all for taking this journey of photography with me, as it is not something to keep to oneself, but instead it is meant to be shared!
2011 has been a year like no other, both behind the camera, and also away from it. My Dad, who was a huge fan of my photography, battled bladder cancer since 2010 and continued this year. He passed away on September 2. Before I could catch my breath and grieve that loss, I was faced with another setback and shock. I found out the night before, on Sep 1, that I also have cancer. My first thought was, “Is this really happening?” I was adopted by him at a very young age, and there is no trace of cancer in either bloodline. But I had to accept the diagnosis that the doctors told me which is a stage IV Medullary Thyroid Cancer.. a very rare and tricky cancer. This all was the result of a small bump on my neck that I asked my doctor about, and never felt sick.. not even for one day. This kind of news shifts your priorities and thoughts in a hurry.
I had an 11 hour surgery in September and the entire thyroid and 50 lymph nodes in the neck have been removed. I am very thankful to have expert doctors at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center who have treated many from all over the globe with this disease. In March or April of 2012 I am set to have another complete neck surgery to remove more affected lymph nodes, as multiple surgeries is the only true “cure” for this cancer. So I have re-developed my “warrior” attitude that I had during my days in the USMC. I will need it to fight this.
I write this today to encourage you all to enjoy each day under the sun and to enjoy life. Do not sweat the small stuff (and there is LOTS of small stuff)! Take things one day at a time. Trust God, love your family and spend LOTS of time with them, tell your loved ones OFTEN that you love them, and treat others with respect and love. When unexpected things happen…BREATHE !! Remember to make memories and TAKE YOUR CAMERA everywhere you go.. some of the best images I have taken are from where opportunity and preparedness have met. So don’t leave it at home. Thanks for coming on this journey with me, and I plan on sharing many more images with you throughout 2012 and beyond. Happy New Year, and God Bless..
“Be still, and know that I am God..” –Psalm 46:10