Over the last six months or so I’ve spent a lot of time at the hospital in the background below; my wife, sadly, was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier in the year. She’s staying there now actually, having just had her first chemotherapy session. Waiting, anxiously, to see how bad the side effects will be. More waiting. There has been so much of it already.
All of which has been incredibly difficult, not to mention stressful beyond belief. And now chemotherapy is underway, things are presumably only going to get worse. So with this in mind, it’s possible that posts here may become a little sporadic now and again.
To be honest though, I’m pretty sure posts will continue to appear as frequently as they do now, because along with the incredible support of friends and family, the one other thing that has got me through this so far is photography. When I’m out with the camera, it’s one of the very rare times I can switch off. Worries briefly recede, and the process of trying to capture something worthwhile takes over. This won’t change. I know that for a fact. It’s a cathartic element I’ve enjoyed for years. The only thing that may change is the time to actually get out. That is another thing I can’t be certain of anymore. We shall just have to see.
And the goats? What their significance is I don’t know. Nothing whatsoever I imagine. But they have been a constant. From the hospital window we have watched them. Initially a surprise, they have since become lives to look at. Lives to look out for. And from inside a hospital, simple lives to simply enjoy. Undoubtedly we’ll continue to enjoy looking at them, but hopefully not from those windows in the background.
Really sorry to hear that. Good luck to both of you. Stay positive!
Thank you. We are doing!
I’m sorry to hear about your wife’s diagnosis. My understanding is that medical care in Japan is top rated.
There are a lot of people out hear that enjoy your work and consider you a friend. I’m sure we are all wishing your wife and you the best.
Thank you ever so much. That’s a very nice thing to say. And yes, I don’t have any worries about the treatment she is getting. Been very impressed with not only the professionalism of the staff, but also their wonderful good humour caring approach. Very reassuring.
Sad to hear what your wife is going through. Take care.
By the way…. that is not a goat. It is a Japanese lawnmower.
Pretty sure that’s what their purpose is. There seems to be a growing army of them!
Wishing good things for your wife and for you. <3 (From a long time anonymous reader.)
Thank you, and good to hear from you!
My thoughts and prayers go out for you and your wife, I have enjoyed your photography for years now and I hope that the treatment goes smoothly with zero complications.
Thank you. As I mentioned above, she is being very well looked after, so things will hopefully continue to go smoothly.
Big worries, but as suggested, top treatment and added goat therapy. At least there seems no allergic to goats? I wonder if they have noticed that they are being watched; or if they, are watching you. Fingers crossed for the treatment anyways.
Looking forward to more great pics..from time to time..with added goats?!
I think the watching is on both sides. Don’t trust any animal with eyes like that! Sadly can’t guarantee more goat photos, and certainly not great photos, but there will definitely be lots more photos of some description!
Matt (Pixoshiru) says
Having followed your daily adventures for years, you’re among the names that seeing popping sporadically during my day make me happy.
I’m genuinely sad for both of you, and I struggle to find something worthwhile to say. Being in Canada, there’s little I can offer to help, but shall there be something, by all means let me know.
And in any case, be sure you are in my thoughts.
Do take care. And photographs.
Thanks a lot, Matt. Very kind of you. Your comment makes me feel happy too. Lovely to read.
And don’t worry, there will always be photographs. Lots of them!
Conan the Grammarian says
Every one of your many, many readers has their fingers crossed for you both right now, Lee. Please continue posting as and when you can – I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say that my daily visit to Tokyo Times is something I look forward to. Thank you for your wry insights into Japanese culture. And thank you for the wonderful photographs. Our thoughts are with you.
Thank you very much. Incredibly kind of you.
The photos will continue. Of that there is no doubt. Hopefully you and others will continue to enjoy them too!
Sorry to hear about your wife, I hope the treatment goes well.
Thank you. She is being very well looked after.
Lee I’m very sorry to hear this news. I had no idea you were going through such an experience. I wish you and your family the bests. From experience I can somewhat relate as my mother also had cancer. Prayers and wishes.
Thank you, Coli. It hasn’t been easy, but we are by no means alone in going through this. One thing I have learned from the whole thing is how horribly common cancer now is. As you also unfortunately know. A thoroughly wretched disease that the sooner we see the back of the better.
Very sorry to hear this news. Thinking of you both and sending you strength.
Glad you have the goats watching out for you too. I grew up with goats (well, we had goats in the barn on the farm, mum and dad let me have a room in the house for myself) and they always struck me as the persevering type who remained steadfast and strong in the face of hardship (like every time I clumsily attempted to milk them).
Very much appreciate the inspiration you’ve always given me. You’re in my thoughts.
Thanks a lot. Very kind of you.
Perhaps that is the significance of the goats then. Steadfast and strong. Words for us to live by. No doubt about it. And happy to say I shan’t be going over the fence and attempting to milk any of them!
My thoughts are with you, and I wish a lot of strength, patience and best of luck to both of you, Lee!
Thanks, Norbert. It ain’t going to be easy, but we’ll get through it. Like you say, just have to be patient, and strong when necessary.
Julie H says
I haven’t commented in a while but I wanted to add my support for you and your wife. It’s rough but people do make it, even more so nowadays. So hang in there and hope for the best. I am rooting for you guys.
Cheers! Yes, the treatment is tough, but it’s being done for a reason. And come this time next year, we’ll hopefully be looking at those goats in a very different way.
I’ve been quietly enjoying your posts for many years – you always seem to be able to find interesting perspectives, even here.
I wish your wife, and of of course you too, all the best as she starts her treatment.
Thank you. Very good to hear you enjoy what I try to do. I get an awful lot of pleasure by taking photos, so it’s even better to know that other people get something out of them too.
And thank you. Happy to say she’s doing very well, so hopefully it’ll stay that way.
Get well soon to your wife… apparently we live in a time when these kinds of illnesses are less and less likely to have unwanted outcomes, thanks to better and better science. nevertheless, trying times. I have other friends facing this too…
as for the goat… brings back strange memories.. we kept them for the while… fickle creatures to say the least…
Cheers, Willy. Yes, it’s a truly dreadful disease, but she’s getting very professional, efficient treatment. All carried out with incredible care and humour too. So still a lot to be thankful for.
Happy to say my experience with goats is looking at them through windows or fences. Happy to keep it that way too!
Ken C says
Very best wishes to you and your wife from Wales. I understand how you feel as my wife was in ITU in a coma for three weeks this year plus a further two months in hospital although she is at home and making a recovery now. The messages I had from friends of multiple religions around the world seemed to help, just knowing that people actually cared. The chemotherapy will be very unpleasant but it suggests that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Keep strong for her!
Best wishes to you both
Thank you very much.
The support from family and friends is truly wonderful, isn’t it? I always knew they were good people, but it’s still been humbling to see how they have rallied round, done everything and offered even more to help us. Would have been infinitely more difficult without them.
Very sorry to hear what you have been through. Glad your wife is now home, and I hope she continues to recover without any further setbacks.
Hard times just seem to randomly happen to many of us ( I wish they didn’t). Your stories and pictures helped to ease my mind and switch off for years. I hope your readers’ wishes and kind words will help you as well. Best wishes and good health for both of you, stay strong
Thank you. All horribly random unfortunately, but yes, seeing so many lovely messages of support and offers of help here and on Twitter have been wonderfully encouraging. Each and every one very much appreciated.
Did you know there are studies that show hospital patients heal faster if they can look out the window at a goat? OK, actually it’s when they can look out the windows at trees, but I am positive that the goats under the tree are an added benefit. Best of luck to you both.
Now that would be something, but either way, they are oddly soothing in a weird-eyed somewhat smelly way!
Thank you. With the medical system we are fortunate enough to have here, hopefully luck won’t even need to play a part.
I’m really sorry to hear about your wife. I hope you and your wife manage to find small moments of comfort and beauty while being swept along what must be a horrible storm of an illness. And I hope you both pull through the ordeal soon!!
I’ve been following your blog for years now, and I’d like to say that I really enjoy your photographs and observations. Please take care and stay strong!
Thank you very much. Good to hear from you too, and that you enjoy what I try to do.
I wish your wife a speedy and painless recovery mate, hope you 2 can have a normal xmas together at home at least.
Cheers! Yes, hopefully we can enjoy the festive period, especially New Year which is the bigger one here.
All the best to you and your wife. It sounds like she’s in good hands, and that’s reassuring. Love your photos and I’m glad you enjoy taking them, and are happy to share them on this blog.
More than happy to. Like I said, it’s something that I not only enjoy, but is therapeutic in its own way. The fact that others get something out of them too is a wonderful bonus.
Thank you. Yes, she is being well looked after which is a huge plus.
d. minnis says
Oh I’m so very sorry Lee. You have many fans on here that send their prayers and or positive thoughts (whatever your beliefs are) Be positive, so many more cures are available nowdays. Good and positive thoughts are being sent from me.
Thanks a lot! It has been wonderful to get so many messages of support and encouragement. I’m very lucky.
And yes, science is on our side, along with a first rate health service. Things could be a lot worse.
J. Izumi says
I am so sorry to read this post but somehow find it inspirational. Not the sad news of your wife’s cancer but your attitude and the comfort you get in taking pictures. You must know from all of the comments what delight you give to your readers. Looking forward to that drink with you in one of those Shinjuku joints you capture so well.
Thanks. Glad to hear it. I didn’t want it to be maudlin or overly sentimental. And yes, reading all the wonderful comments has been encouraging and positive in numerous ways.
The Shinjuku drinks are a must. Let me know when you are back here again.
Matt Talbot says
The very best of luck to you and your wife Lee. Words are inadequate but my thoughts and wishes are with you both.
Thank you very much. Those words said everything.
I’ve been following your work for some time now but never posted a comment. Just wanted to wish both of you all the best. Things have a way of working out even in the most difficult of circumstances.
Thanks a lot. Yes, I hope so. We have age and science on our side, so it certainly isn’t all doom and gloom. Good to hear from you too!
Hans ter Horst says
Hi Lee, I’m very sorry to read about the situation of your wife, like everybody else I wish you and your family all the best and a speedy recovery. I’ve been in this situation a few times myself with my mum and sister in law and the waiting is the worst. Chemo is terrible, but there will be light at the end of the tunnel, I’m sure. I’m glad that you have your photography.
Thanks a lot. Sorry to hear you’ve had to go through the same thing too. Since this started, I’ve been shocked to hear just how horribly common it is…
And yes, photography has, and continues to be a huge source of comfort/distraction. Something I’m sure you understand completely.
Hi Lee. Best wishes to you and your wife.
Thanks for sharing your photos and insights. Sounds like they get you through your challenging days, too.
Thank you. Not at all. As I said, it really is my pleasure. Without them life would sometimes be a lot more difficult, let alone a lot less fun.
You guys are gonna get through these rough times. I’ve recently just spent some time in hospital so I can relate to how depressing hospitals are. Granted, it’s nowhere near the fear of uncertainty that you both must be feeling right now. As you’ve mentioned you can take some solace in the amazing healthcare system in Japan – she literally couldn’t be in a better country for treatment.
My wife and I send our thoughts & prayers to the pair of you.
Thanks a lot. Yes, without a doubt we are lucky to be living where we are. A hospital nearby and first rate healthcare is something many people don’t have, let alone can simply take for granted.
Wishing you and your wife all the best.
Thank you very much. We’ll get through it, somehow.
Andy Woj says
Hi Lee, so sorry to hear this, me and Karen send our love to you both. Stay strong.
P.S. I like the picture of the goat, they make me laugh.
Cheers, Andy. Fingers crossed she’ll be better and strong enough come the summer, and then we’ll be able to head back to Britain. We can enjoy some long overdue beers then.
No goats though!
I will pray for you and your wife. All my most positive thoughts to you both.
Thanks ever so much.
Just commenting to say hang in there. Obviously your wife is getting good care and in the next years time, things should definitely be a whole lot better. Enjoy your photography. And the goat…. Don’t really see a lot of them around here, at least not in natural surroundings, only in the zoo! Consider yourself lucky!!
I do. Any kind of animals in Tokyo are a plus, and goats a real rarity. Very surprised the first time I saw them.
And thank you very much. Yes, all being well, we’ll be living our normal life again this time next year.
Very sorry to hear of it – my thoughts and well wishes go out to both of you. My sister and a close friend of mine have gone through this, and thankfully come out of it okay; I hope for the same good outcome for your wife. Stay positive, care for each other, take the time you both need – that’s what counts.
There is surprising strength and solace in art; rely on it – share it between yourselves. When things get rough, let it be a reminder of how wonderful life is, and why, despite our challenges and struggles, it’s surpassing worthwhile.
Thank you very much. Very happy to hear that your sister and friend are now fine. Also gives me more reasons to be positive.
And yes, I completely agree. A ‘reminder of how wonderful life is’ is the perfect way to describe any kind of creative process. Will have to remember that one.
I am deeply sorry to hear that, I wish you and your wife all the best and the strength to cope with this terrible situation!
(though your photography seems to provide a good deal of strength, which is awesome).
Last but not least, I want to let you know that I thoroughly enjoy your photography for years now, keep up the great work!
All the best from Germany
Thank you. Happy to see we aren’t lacking at all in support. We are very lucky in that respect.
Thanks also for the kind words about my photography. It really does make it doubly worthwhile to hear thing like that.
An Ex Expat says
Best wishes that all will work out well.
Thank you very much. With the care she’s getting, I’m very hopeful of that.
Thank you for sharing this story and these photographs. It sounds like your wife has a strong group of people around her and that, if anything will bring her through this. It’s easy to talk about perseverance, but difficult when you’re faced with a situation like this.
Thanks. Yes, it is, but at the same time there’s no choice for anything but perseverance I guess. But yeah, with the all the professional care and outside support, she’s got everything in place for a full recovery.
Sorry to hear that, based on what my mother went through in a similar situation, chemo is no joyride but it helps to get rid of that piece of shit disease. I wish all the best for you both! Take care!
Thank you. Sorry to hear that your mother had to go through it. It really is a dreadful disease, isn’t it?I’ve been shocked to hear how many people have had to suffer it. Not to mention the amount of people that will have to…
Good luck, stay positive and be strong. These days, the chance for full recovery is very, very high as long as you’ve caught the illness in early stage. The wives of two of my friends here in BC went through this hell and are OK now.
Thank you. With the care she is getting, and the huge number of people we keep hearing about who have survived it, we definitely have reason to be positive.
Perseverance is power! Hang in there.
Thank you. We will do!
David Lowe says
Sorry to read this news Lee and wish your wife a speedy recovery. BTW I’ve never noticed the goats in Tachikawa nice find!
Thank you very much. Yeah, they are quite an odd site. A fair few of them too. Well worth a look if you are passing by.
Another small voice here wishing your wife well.
Thank you very much.
Not a small voice either. Yours and all the other wonderful messages of support have been incredibly encouraging, and in all honesty, really quite moving. Been an incredibly uplifting experience.
Sorry to read this news, all my thoughts go to your wife & you. ãŠå¤§äº‹ã«.
I’ve been enjoying your photos for a long time but never commented to say thank you. I like the way they make me discover lovely (or not so lovely) Japanese people, daily life (with interesting twists), and superb landscapes.
As for cancer, I listened to this podcast today and the figures quoted really surprised me, so I wanted to share it with you: http://goo.gl/8F2Gvd Easier said than done when illness is taking a heavy toll on youâ€¦
Thank you very much. Cheers for the link too. Will listen to that later.
Very good to hear you’ve been enjoying my photos. As I’ve said above, the process is hugely enjoyable for me, so it’s always very nice to hear that other people get something from them too.
Best wishes from long time subscriber.
Thank you very much.
I heard from a mutual friend your news. Words are really not adequate. Lee, please get back in contact, when you feel like it. I would very much like to see you soon. My love and best wishes to your wife.
Thank you very much. Yeah, it’d be good to meet up soon. Once things settle down a bit I’ll be in touch.
I hope your wife recovers quickly. Be well.
Thank you very much.
I’m back from France. My father died last month. He couldn’t make it.
But I pray for your wife, sincerely, to be safe. Hopefully breast cancer therapies have good results. I believe she will get better. Stay strong, you and your loved one. My thoughts are with you.
So sorry to hear about your father, ValÃ©rie. My condolences and thoughts are with you and your family.
Thanks a lot. The treatment goes on, and we live in hope that it’ll get rid of that truly horrid disease.
Sarah Oiyama says
So sorry to hear :(. I hope your wife gets better soon! Good luck to both of you!
Your Pics are amazing captures.
Thank you very much. Incredibly kind of you.