Is Bald Beautiful??

I’d like to think so. 🙂 As that’s my current “haircut”. Actually, it was more like the hairstyle chose me than the other way around. You see, I’ve not been really active on twitter or facebook for a while as I was not comfortable yet sharing the news to the public that I was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia not too long ago.

Before I get into the history of it, I’ll put out the good news. The Leukemia is in remission(less than 5% bad white blood cells -started out at 75% bad) and I’m close to getting a bone marrow donor for my upcoming transplant…so all is fairly good now. The other good news…I lost 20 pounds…hell of a way to do it, but I fit into my mediums again, woo hoo!! 😉 The photos below are a snapshot of where I started off and where I am now…

I started out here…first few days in the hospital. Wasn’t too happy in that first shot…but I think being a little moody early on is expected. I’m getting an EKG here in the other two photos. I was on oxygen for the first week or so.
I’m about midway though the 44 days here. I started losing the hair at this point, but the Goatee was still hanging around. It’s funny, I didn’t start losing my hair until 3 weeks after the chemo ended. No loss of arm hair though…kind of interesting…probably should shave down that beast anyway…lol. 😉
Fully shaved the head as the hair fell out a little uneven. This is what I look like right now…so what do you think of the new look?

In the beginning of this process, I just wasn’t up to sharing this with everyone as it’s a lot to take in and digest for one’s self. I mean, damn…I’m 35 years old and got cancer…kind of a shock in the beginning(and I felt terrible)…But now that over half of the treatment is over and I’m physically stronger again, I feel it’s time to share this with my friends and colleagues that may not know yet. If for no other reason to tell everyone to go out and get health insurance if you don’t have it now. Luckily, I have a very good health plan and everything is paid for. This thing could end up costing upwards of $500,000. I don’t think I would have gotten the treatment I needed if I didn’t have health insurance. In our industry as a whole, I think many of us just play ignorant about it because it’s too expensive and we’re relatively young, going with the,”nothing can happen to me” syndrome. Well, this is just a friendly reminder from me to you that strange things like this can happen to anyone at any age. Better to have a little less to spend and have the insurance there if/when something serious happens to you.

Quick History:
It all started with a really bad cough that lead to my family doctor giving me prescription meds for it. After two weeks of taking it, still no improvement. So, I went back to him, told him it’s not better, I’m actually feeling worse for the wear. General fatigue, cough was still bad…overall, I felt pretty shitty. So he ran a blood test and by looking at the results, said that it would be best if I went to see a Hemotologist(blood specialist) for further tests. I was recommended to an amazing Doctor, Dr. Dana Shani. We did a blood test in her office, I got really nauseous, almost passed out(which I never do giving blood)…she put the blood in my pocket, called an ambulance and I was in Lennox Hill Hospital 30 minutes later checked in for the long haul. My white blood cells were extremely low and my blood platelets were 13,000. The normal person has around 450,000 platelets. In short, my immune system was crashing. The next day, I was in Lennox Hill hospital for what would be 44 days of treatment. For 12 days of that, I was on a 24 hours/day Chemotherapy IV drip. One 7 day set, and another 5 day set later on. Luckily, that put me in remission(which is a temporary condition until I get a bone marrow transplant).

I’ve finished up my third round of Chemo not too long ago. It’s much stronger than the other two sessions. They call it the consolidation Chemo as it’s the last one that happens right before the bone marrow transplant. That has not been scheduled yet, but should happen in the next month or so.

Getting Chemo now is not as bad as it’s been in past years as they have medicines that they give you in concert with the chemo that prevents the two worst side effects, nausea and vomiting. So really, it hasn’t affected me that much in terms of discomfort. The loss of hair is different, but I don’t mind it that much really. I’ve been in boot camp when I joined the Navy, so it’s nothing new to me. They shave your head pretty good there. 🙂

These photos were taken by a friend of mine, Stephen C. Downes when he came to visit. As expected, I turned my hospital room into my virtual office…even having messengers coming and going delivering files and such. Hey, you do what you need to do to keep the ship running smoothly. Business doesn’t stop if you have the means to keep it going…

I’ve got some people to thank:
First of all, Dr. Felix, my family doctor that found the problem and passed me on to such great staff over at Lennox Hill. Dr. Shani, as I mentioned above, is amazing and has made this treatment as smooth as possible…she’s quite a character too with a great sense of humor. 🙂 Her team of Dr. Malek and Dr. Ruth helped me keep my spirits up and got me going through it all. All of my nurses were incredible. I have a whole new respect for all of the hard work they do. Thanks guys.

A HUGE thanks to my family and my girlfriend Maria, without whom I would not have gotten through this. Maria has been a rock of support in too many ways to count. She brought me real food when the hospital food was just really not cutting it….lol. Also, my family from all over sent their love/prayers and support. Trust me, I’m using all of those prayers sent. 🙂 My mother, father, and sister have also helped out tremendously throughout the process and continue to help every day. My sister even stepped forward to be a donor(unfortunately she wasn’t a match). They all helped out when I was gone for New years…I had rented my space out for New Years Eve and had to coordinate everything from the hospital with them on the ground making the event happen seamlessly. Without them, I could not have done it. It’s nice to know that when the going gets tough, that your family and friends are there for you. I think having a good outlook on things and a good support system around you helps one get through things like this. Thanks for everything guys!!

Lastly, many thanks to my wonderful clients that have kept the scheduling going made the financial side of this so much easier to bear.

So thanks for reading my recent life update. I’ll update more when the time comes, but now you know why I may have been a little quiet online for a while. I’m looking to do some new/fun shoots coming up…still life, men’s women’s, whatever…hit me up and let’s create.


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