Bittersweet and the C-word

Last October I went back to Maui.  I only moved to San Diego in August, but had a few good reasons to get back on the rock.  I got to shoot a beautiful wedding in Makena along with all of my longtime clients and their families.

But the main reason, was that damn C-word.  Cancer.

After a few months of excruciating back pain, my Stepdad Gordon finally received the diagnosis we all feared.  Cancer.  Lung Cancer.  And that other awful word-  metastasize.  UGH.

His cancer was wide-spread.  But luckily his beautiful brain had not been touched.  So began the fight for his life.  I arrived and was shocked at his appearance and the sheer severity of his condition.  Gaunt and not peach-skinned.  Wtf.

My Sister's and I flew in from Indonesia, me from San Diego and my big Sister there locally to pitch in and help take him to radiation every day and make sure he ate and took his many medications on time.  (His pain was so excruciating at this point, he was on morphine and also break-through medication 24 hours a day because of a tumor on his spine)  

It was shocking to say the least.  I asked him questions about his life I knew I would never have the chance to ask again.  Who knows how long he had.  The reality is, who knows how long any of us have?  Why don't we take a special interest in EVERYONE like that?  Who was this man I considered like a Father to me for the last 20 years and why have I not asked him more personal questions?  I enjoyed our chatting.  I knew in my gut he was not going to beat this.  

I shoved my camera in my parent's faces.  They were less than thrilled.  Whatever.

Fast forward to May..............

Gordon is about 125 lbs.  His tumor in his right lung has grown significantly.  His left upper lung has collapsed.  He's still walking and talking but his breathing is bit more labored and he's tired with very little appetite.  The doctors have referred my parents to hospice because the reality is, it's that time.  We don't know how long, but his time is running out.  


Sad face.

I was hesitant to tell any of this story or show any of these photos because my parents are so private.  But, what the heck.  

More this weekend...

Take as many photos as you can.  


Ask people questions about themselves.

Be nice

Please help my folks eat.  Here is an online calendar for meal drop offs.  My mom is still working full time (has to for $$$ and medical insurance) and meals are the biggest help for both of them during this very difficult time.  Peace out.