As I look through this album of self-portraits taking over the course of the year, my eyes form tiny wells of tears, partly because I really SEE my spirit of reslilience and courage at work. Reading the comments left over the course of the year by so many of you, I am dumbfounded by the amazing show of humanity which served to uplift me even during my darkest days. There is no way to express my gratitude to all of you, for your immense display of support and encouragement you’ve given me. THANK YOU, at this time, just seems too small.
Today, after a year of fighting cancer, receiving twelve chemo treatments and even being hospitalized along the way, I am proud to say my cancer is in remission, and I am not only a Survivor, but a Thriver. Still and yet, I am aware of the chilling reality that there are those who are still in the fight, and even those who lost their battle against the same cancer I fought and won.
This morning I awoke to news that my young friend in India, sixteen year old Mohammad Ayan, has lost his fight against Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. This brave young man, who out of the blue, reached out to me across the ocean when he learned of my story, and told me to “Never Give Up.” We had become fast friends and support for each other as we navigated the treacherous waters of cancer together. We started chemo at the same time. We exchanged stories of our experiences with dealing with dreadful side-effects of chemotherapy, and encouraged each other along the way. Ayan’s regimen never worked for him as it did for me, and he was placed on different treatment regimen’s which also never worked. Despite all this, young Ayan, retained his humor and his warrior spirit. He fought until the very end.
My heart is broken. We only exchanged emails yesterday morning and today he is gone. I will always remember this Mohammad Ayan as the young man who gave me hope when I needed it the most. I will celebrate the warrior that lived inside him, and trust that one day I will see him and be able to give him a proper hug. Ayan has been a big force in my ridding myself from cancer. I am forever grateful...
View the portfolio of self-portraits at the following link: