Photography connects us with our past while helping us map out our futures. Whether it is creating a business, planning a vacation, or designing a house, photography can help grow our ideas but it can also save a life. My story started out very ordinary. Like most new parents, I purchased a camera to capture every wonderful moment of our new daughter's life, the first step, first solid food, first birthday, etc. I didn't want to miss a moment but soon enough after all the first year firsts were over the camera was put away only to come out for birthdays and events.
When my son was born, the camera came out again and all the first pictures were taken to start documenting his life. However, there was something different in these photos than the ones of my daughter. There was a small white dot in the middle of his right eye. It was hard to see but there was something there. I didn't think much of it at first. I figured I was doing something wrong with the camera, but I made a doctor's appointment just in case. The following six months were a nightmare...
At the doctor's appointment, Christian was was diagnosed with Retinoblastoma. My beautiful six-month-old son had a tumor in his right eye. The next 3 days were a blur of disbelief, panic, and heartbreak. The camera that was meant to capture all of his firsts captured his first CAT scan, first surgery, first port, and first chemotherapy all before his first Christmas. I never thought the camera I bought to capture my children's wonderful life moments would be instrumental in saving my son's life.
Retinoblastoma is a rare form of eye cancer that rapidly develops in the retina. It is normally found in children under the age of 5. Most cases are discovered in photographs. The camera's flash bounces off the tumor and reflects back white in photos. Since we saw the white reflection early in the development of the tumor we were able to stop its growth while saving his eye and some of his sight.
My son is now a healthy 11-year old boy who loves soccer and life. I still try to capture as many first as possible but now I focus on capturing more of the everyday moments.
Life is a story with many chapters and everyone has a unique one. If we learn about each other's stories we will be able to connect and understand each other on a deeper level which will ultimately enrich our lives and maybe save some along the way.