It’s now just over a year since my wife’s initial operation for stage 3 breast cancer. A few months have also passed since the horrors of chemotherapy finally ended. All of which culminated in yesterday: the day she got the results back from the frighteningly extensive set of tests done a week earlier.
Never before has the wait for a number to appear on a screen been more terrifying. Never before has a short walk to a waiting door been more fraught. And never before has a very casually uttered, ‘everything is fine’, been so unbelievably welcome. Words that in an instant put an end to the fear, the stress and the inability to look further than the following day.
With neither of us having gods to believe in, throughout the whole process we’ve put our complete faith in science, along with the awe-inspiring dedication and caring nature of the nearby hospital’s doctors and nurses — men and women whose professionalism was, and is, a genuine source of inspiration. There’s an awful lot wrong with the world, of that there is no doubt, but knowing there are people like them about reassuringly confirms that there is an awful lot right as well.
The same goes for the incredible support we’ve had from family and friends. As so many people sadly know, through suffering you learn a lot. Not all of which is bad. And confirmation — not that it was ever needed — of how good our friends and family are, has been a wonderful thing to feel, and of course fall back on.
Plus there are all the heartwarming comments I’ve received on this site — both when I first mentioned the situation, and the follow-up post a few months ago. Those responses were absolutely lovely. The realisation that people from all over the world were writing such kind words was wonderful. They were very real bright spots in a time of considerable darkness; messages of support that we are both very grateful for. Thank you.
And finally, writing this now, so soon after she got the all clear, means it probably hasn’t quite sunk in yet. Plus after the last 12 months, we are both battered, bruised and more than a bit bedraggled. But she has been brave beyond belief, and the battle, I’m happy to say, is won.
Very happy for you and your wife, and my best hopes for the future.
Oh, and beautiful, serene picture. Let’s not forget this is a photography blog !
Thank you very much.
Haha, no, that’s very true. Thanks. I struggled to find a photo that was suitably bright and positive enough, but this one seemed to do the job!
Angie K says
I’ve subscribed to your feed for years, though I never commented before. But this is wonderful news — so wonderful I wanted you to know how happy I am for you both, and grateful for the years of lovely glimpses into your life in Japan. Many thanks and many happy wishes for the years to come.
Lovely to hear from you. Such kind words are a perfect example of what I wrote above. Thank you!
Phil J says
Yay, ohh man what a long and painful journey you two have had, I’m so glad you’ve finally gotten through to a healthy place. Thank you for sharing with us your life and your passion I hope there is nothing but happiness and good times for you both in the future!
Thank you very much! It hasn’t been easy that’s for sure. And what I’ve felt is nothing compared to what my wife has suffered. But like you say, we have come through the other side. Time to now share a life that can be lived much more to the full!
Thank you very much!
GET IN THERE, YOU BEAUTIFUL BASTARDS!
Ahem. Sorry about that.
Super-great news. Remember, tomorrow is never guaranteed so make the most of each and every day you spend together. Best wishes from me, Maki & Chase in summer-less Wales.
Nah, definitely a moment for joyous swearing!
Thanks a lot to you all. Yes, having seen how quickly live can change, I’m much more aware now of how precious and fragile it can be.
I hope the weather brightens up. At the very least for a day to two!
Joanna McPherson says
Oh, what great news! I’m so glad for you both – I’m sure it will take a while to sink in, but I hope you can now begin to move past it. It must take up so much of life, I can’t begin to imagine the relief. Also a long term subscriber to your blog, (and one of the few I still take time to read) I love your outlook and perspective – here’s to the future!
Thanks ever so much. It’s slowly starting to sink in now I think.
Yes, it has always been there. Going out today not trying to block something out was wonderful. Long may it continue!
And thanks also for the kind words. Very nice to hear you enjoy what I try and do.
Great news, Lee. Thanks for sharing it with us — and here’s sending more good wishes for your wife’s continued good health, and your continued blogging! 🙂
Not at all. Therapeutic for me to be honest.
And thanks a lot. Your kind good wishes are happily received on both counts!
Hans ter Horst says
Congratulations! reading the update really made me happy for you both, and thank you for having kept us up to date.
Thank you! Truly something to celebrate. And not at all. Sharing it has been a big help to me to be honest.
That is marvellous news, and a wonderful way to start a Friday.
My wife lost her father not so long ago to cancer, so I’ve seen closer than I would like the effects it and its treatments have.
We are on holiday in London next week and I will raise a glass to you both for a long and happy future together from our favourite bar.
The enjoyment of nature’s greens, yellows and blues of a summers day are firmly embedded in our psyches and your photograph appropriately taps deeply into that.
Very sorry to hear about your loss. Both the effects and treatment are true wretched, aren’t they?
And thank you very much. We shall happily raise our glasses from here in return!
Ex expat says
Wonderful! Simply wonderful.
That sums it up perfectly. It really does. Thank you!
Matt Talbot says
That is fantastic news. I don’t know if virtual hugs work over the internet, but have one anyway. Yay!
Thank you. The fact that the idea is there makes it work for me!
Excellent news. Your photography has been a source of joy to me in hard times. I wish the two of you much joy together in the future.
Thanks a lot. The future now looks a lot brighter than it did.
Lovely to hear that my photos have been enjoyed too. Makes taking them all the more enjoyable for me as well.
Martin B says
That really is wonderful news, I hope those casually uttered words remain true for many years to come.
I’ll be raising a few beers in your honour this evening as well.
Thank you. Yes, hearing those words over the next few years will be very welcome indeed.
Lovely. A big ‘cheers’ from here too!
Wow, that is wonderful! 🙂 Great news. Good luck to both of you!!
Thanks ever so much. It’s definitely a time for smiles!
I am, like a lot of comments above, a anonymous reader since a while. I am so so so happy for you ! Fuck you cancer ! Congrats for you both 🙂
Thank you! Good to hear from you too. And yes. Fuck cancer. A truly horrible disease. But one that thankfully can now be beat!
Such fucking excellent news!
HUge love to both of you.
Sorry we didn’t manage to meet before I left but I been thinking of you both often (thanks to instagram food pics:)
Truly happy for you.
Thank you, Adrian.
Yeah, the timing was unfortunately all wrong. But Akiko was well aware you were thinking of her. As was I. It’s much appreciated.
Joseph Tame says
So happy to hear this wonderful news. May the years ahead treat you both kindly.
Thanks a lot. The news has been made even more wonderful by such kind responses.
With so much going on, never better or more welcome news! So glad that you can put this behind you. Here’s to brighter and positive things!!
Yeah, it’s been a weird one dealing with fears and worries at home, and then also being truly saddened by the world outside. It certainly makes good news all the better, and all the more encouraging. And thank you very much. Time to make the most of this new chance we have been given!
Norbert Woehnl says
Such wonderful news, Lee! Congratulations and best wishes to both of you!
Thank you! It’s now truly sinking in, and it’s a truly wonderful feeling!
Fantastic news! I’m really happy for you guys!
Thanks a lot! It has been a wonderful 36 hours or so, made even better by such kind words!
This is amazing news! I’m so happy for you all (you, wife and families) I’m glad we could be an output for you throughout the 12 months. The support from around the world is great comfort not only for you, but for me. Makes me believe that there are lovely people out there and it’s not all fear and hate.
Keep getting fitter and healthier, and enjoy life!
Yes, definitely. It’s all too easy to forget how thoroughly lovey so many people are. And how much that loveliness can be a huge help.
A reading that brought a wide smile to my face this morning, thinking of you both.
Reading such comments has made us react in exactly the same way. Thank you!
Wonderful news Lee!
Thanks a lot! It is. The news we didn’t dare bank on, but wanted so much!
Wonderful news! All my best wishes to you both. And thanks also for the great photos which you always produce – one of my favourite internet spots.
Thank you very much.
And that’s very good to hear. Always great to hear other people enjoy something I love doing myself.
That is so awesome! Good luck for you two, especially your wife! 🙂
much love from germany
Thanks a lot! She’s been through a hell of a lot and dealt with it incredibly bravely. So she must be due some luck now!
Good news. Nice to hear.
Thanks! It really is. News we previously only dreamed of!
That’s lovely news!
I’m very glad for the both of you, and wish you all the best. You can now enjoy it with a lighter mind and that will make a big difference.
Thank you very much!
Yes, not having that over us will make a huge difference. The world certainly seems a much kinder place since Thursday.
Now that is some good news! Congrats!
“Live long and prosper”, all the best from Poland!
Thank you! Hopefully we can now achieve both of those goals!
Truly happy to hear this great news! Keep fighting and stay positive, I have three amazing women in my family who battled and won over breast cancer, best of luck to you all!
Thank you very much! Great to hear the women in your family were equally successful in their battle. It really is frighteningly common, isn’t it? Something I wasn’t fully aware of until it struck in my family. Just have to hope more and more women beat it too.
Hoping that the low altitude photography didn’t leave you even more bedraggled. It looks like a view that some of your subjects might woken to. :O)
Haha, very true. Mercifully there was a drop allowing me to get the photo without too much trouble, or worse waking up in a field with a rotten hangover!
Great news! I’m very happy for both of you.
Thank you very much! Relief, at last!
I really enjoyed that some mentioned where they were located, must feel even more special to know that this is coming from all over the world….the love and admiration for a photography genius and his lovely wife.
Yes, it does. Wonderfully warm responses from so many places.
You are too kind though. Well, not about my wife. She is indeed lovely. But I’m sadly a long way from being a genius. Fairly competent I think is more accurate. With so many incredible photographers past and present to look up to, I know I have a long way to go. But I’m improving. And thoroughly enjoying doing so. Those are the main things.
Ken C says
Fantastic news Lee. Best wishes to Mrs Lee.
Thank you! And I will indeed pass on your warm wishes to Mrs Lee!
David Lowe says
Truly excellent news Lee and obviously a massive relief for you bothâ€¦all the very best to your wife 😉
Thank you very much, David. Yes, the relief is indescribable. Still not fully sunk in I think. And just passed on your kind wishes!
Great news! Given how the world’s been turning these days, this is such a welcomed reminder that good stuff happens, but really, never mind that; this is all about both of your strength and will power, modern medicine, and the grace of however this stuff works out.
Take plenty of time to savor and rejoice. This kind of victory is rare; it’s a blessing in and of itself. Never forget what it’s all meant. Cheers and best regards to your wife. Stay healthy.
Thanks ever so much. Yes, happily good stuff does actually happen. All thanks to the fantastic treatment my wife got. The whole health service and all those who make it work was just incredible.
We will do. A victory that we can be forever thankful for. One my wife fought very hard for too.
Thanks again, and your kind regards have been dutifully passed on.
That is fantastic news, Lee. I cannot imagine what that must have been like to go through. I’ve followed your site and photos for many years and hope to do so for many more.
Thank god for science….
Thanks a lot, Matt. It hasn’t been easy to say the least. And that was just for me. What my wife has been through and fought against is on a whole other scale. But mercifully it was all worth it. And yes, without science we certainly wouldn’t be where we are now…
Good to have had you round for so long. The photos will continue as usual, so hopefully you’ll continue to enjoy them.
My mother suffered the same case and I feel exactly the same. I’m happy they are “healed”, let’s cross fingers to remain them healed. As I repeated myself and to my mother in this hard period “Keep strong, keep fighting, everything will be alright”. And it’s going alright so far. Let’s be positive forever, I’m so happy for all of you.
BTW, I’m going to Japan this september/october (Tokyo as headquarters, will go in all directions by Shinkansen), if you want to meet and take some shots, let me know 😉
Thank you! Great to hear your mother recovered too. Such a horrible disease with such tough treatment, isn’t it? Beating it is truly a wonderful thing.
I’ll be here, so definitely. Let me know nearer the time what your schedule is, and we can sort something out.
Andy Wojciechowski says
Fantastic news, brilliant, really pleased for you both, me and Karen send our love, and Lee (he of shared birthday) and Vicky said to send their best too.
Andy & Karen
Thanks Andy. Been a tough one to say the least, but she’s beat it. That’s the all important thing. Too soon after to make it home for the summer unfortunately, but we can now start thinking about when we can make a trip back. Been a while…
In the meantime, pass on my thanks to Karen, Lee and Vicky please.
Great news! I watch your site but hadn’t realized
No problem at all. And thanks for the kind words!
Glad to read this, Lee 🙂
Big hug from here to you both!
Big hugs happily accepted, and a big thank you in return!
Wonderful news. Happy for you!
Thank you very much! The best news we could have hoped for!
Phil Sanders says
Long time no see.
I had a mail from JD this morning and the link to the CNN video.
Just thought I’d check on your website and then saw the great news about your wife.
See you soon I hope.
All the best
Thanks ever so much!
And yes, hopefully sooner rather than later.
Zhao Yuxing says
I am very glad to hear this good piece of news! Hope your wife and you are a lot more better now. <3
Thank you very much. Happy to say she’s getting stronger and more confident by the day, so the world is definitely a much nicer places these days!