Between Fear And Hope – The Emotional & Physical States Of A Man Fighting Prostate Cancer

On Hearing the News  
The call came on the 13th of September 2015. The last routine blood test revealed an elevated PSA and Carlo had to make an urgent appointment with a consultant urologist, for suspected prostate cancer.  
In mid-October, he was given a biopsy, followed by an MRI and a PET scan.
On the 24th of November, he received the final diagnosis.
“Gleeson 9, T3B.”  
Neither he, nor I, knew what a Gleeson score was, or what anything meant.  
The first thought was: ’No’ ‘ It can’t be…’ and then came the fear of dying.
It was like being hit by a high speed train.

 

Social Documentary and Portrait Photographer Marella Oppenheim is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this documentary photography.  From her personal project ‘Carlo’s Journey‘.  To see Marella’s portfolio and archive click on any photograph.

 

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

 

 

1 in 8 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime

 

 

Early detection saves lives

 

 

After my friend Carlo’s diagnosis, and in search of an anchor in the storm, I decided to document his journey in order to demystify the process offered to cure aggressive prostate cancer, and to reach out to others travelling along the same road by sharing the emotional and physical states Carlo would go through:  A sense of weakness, of inevitability, of loss of self, of anxiety; and his fear that our relationship might crack under the pressure.

 

Every morning, five days a week, we drove the 40 miles to the Hospital, passing tall dark shafts rising from the fields and roofless engine houses, monuments to Cornwall’s mining past. Lack of sleep burned our frayed nerves, and we argued at roundabouts, about nothing. Sometimes, I missed the turn-off and had to go around again.  
It felt like driving a child to school. A new school he was still unsure about; and I couldn’t go into the classroom with him.  
Only he could travel down that road.

 

Carlo: ‘Above the scanner there is a picture of flowers on a blue sky.’  
Me: ‘That’s nice. Outside, it’s raining.’

 

Carlo wakes 6-8 times in the night because of the quantity of water he has to drink during radiotherapy treatment.

 

 

– Hold me.
– I am right here.
– Do you think my hands are getting thinner?
– No. They have always been thin and gentle.
– What about my wrists?
– It’s all fine, I am here.

 

 

Carlo’s first results are better than expected.

 

 

 

After one year of treatment, Carlo’s results are promising. It feels wonderful to watch him swim and play in the sea. There is hope….

 

 

 

This is a very personal project, insomuch as Marella lost her father to the disease when it spread to his bones.

 

 

For detail information about Carlo and his treatment

See also:

Carlo’s Journey

Living with Prostate Cancer – An Intimate Portrait

By Marella Oppenheim

 


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