One day in 2013 a very close friend of mine walked straight off the street into a hospital. He had felt ill for some time & his local general practitioner had diagnosed his constant tiredness, weight loss & general debilitated condition as due to stress, but something didn't feel right to Pablo. After the hospital staff received the test results of a blood sample taken from him they insisted he stay overnight, which turned into a few nights, while they made more tests. In time, with the confirmation of yet further test results, Pablo was informed he would be in for a long stay. The diagnosis was Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma cancer & x-rays showed a 90cm tumourous growth coiled within his abdomen.
This photographic blog post , unlike a story, has a start, a middle, but, most importantly, not an end.
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Pablo & I met in London, 1998. At that time I lived in Nottingham, but eventually moved to London & subsequently we lived together for a few years sharing a flat in Lewisham & later a house in Stratford. Great times!
Back in those days though I didn't take photographs; I never owned a camera, so the next couple of images were taken many years later.
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We briefly reunited in Ladywell in 2013 to share living space once again, shortly before Pablo was diagnosed. The next five images are from that time period.
It was a few months after Pablo had moved out from Ladywell to Paddington & into a place to live by himself that he began to feel the grip of a constant illness.
The next phase of images shows Pablo shortly after his self-admittance into hospital.
Ever the clown, here he is feigning his own death bed, even whilst facing the grimmest of circumstances.
Eventually Pablo embarked on a program of chemotherapy which lasted several months. In between these intense treatment sessions at hospital, if his condition was considered satisfactory, he was allowed home. His new temporary home was with a close friend & between several of his other close friends, myself included, we kept check on him day & night, each visiting in shifts.
In the following slideshow are images from Pablo's early stint away from hospital, when his condition & the chemotherapy were showing maximum impact on his body & when his immune system was also vulnerable to infection.
After a few months Pablo began to look better. He was responding positively to his chemotherapy treatment & the images in the next slideshow, taken three months after the previous ones, from two visits a week apart, show him with less hair, but more body bulk & his perturbed countenance replaced with a more contented & fun demeanor.
Also, at this stage of Pablo's convalescence he would go out walking once per day, strength & weather permitting, to rebuild lost muscle tone & enjoy general interaction with the outside world. I especially enjoyed these unhurried walks in the local park & to the banks of the River Thames.
Eventually, after many months of intense treatment at the hands of wonderful & skilled caring staff at London St. Bartholomews NHS hospital, (not forgetting a little help from his friends) Pablo has been in remission for more than two years. Shortly after he had been declared fit enough to return to independant living I joined him for his first half of lager in about 6 months! (I'm sure I remember him enjoying it more than the photograph portrays...)
And since then the good times have rolled on...with nachos in Greenwich, London...
...Danish pastries in Barcelona...
...and St. George lager in Ethiopia.
I leave you with a few more images from the adventure we shared together in Ethiopia to celebrate Pablo's ongoing recovery...
Thank you for all the great years Pablo! May we share many more!
Big love to you always!
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I am a freelance photographer specialising in performance arts.
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~ Comfort Zone is Not Your Friend
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