Last Shot: In This Twilight

Categories: Last Shot

Lindsey Best
Andrew Youssef
[Editor's Note: Longtime concert photographer and fellow Weekling Andrew Youssef found out almost two years ago that he had Stage IV colon cancer. In that time, he has continued to shoot tons of music events for us on top of other freelance work and holding a day job at a hospital, of all places. As he continues to fight for his life, this series allows him to tell his story in his own words.]

This is the most difficult column I will ever write. Although it wasn't easy admitting to everyone that I had Stage IV colon cancer in my first column, I now have more important and difficult news to convey to all my friends and colleagues. Unfortunately, the new clinical trial medication did not improve my condition as my most recent CT scan showed my disease has worsened.

After consulting my oncologists they recommended that I seek palliative care and eventually hospice care since I have weeks to months to live. Although I knew the diagnosis of Stage IV colon cancer provided a low percentage of survival, one always has to keep some faith that they can fight and win the war against cancer. Immediately, a flood of emotions washed over me upon hearing this sobering news.

*Last Shot: A Concert Photographer's Battle With Cancer

What about my parents, brother, nephews, niece and friends? It was hard telling everyone I had cancer in the first place, but to go through the pain all over again of letting everyone know I have a limited time is like peeling off scabs. The last few days have been heart wrenching, making calls to my friends for a message that they knew would eventually come. I apologize to those who I didn't get a chance to communicate with.

My emotional fortitude couldn't handle making more than a couple calls per day. I also emailed a number of my musician friends who were also considerably saddened by the news. Fielding all the different reactions from my loved ones was considerably challenging as the reactions varied from tears to dead silence. I probably should have researched how to complete this difficult task more before attempting to accomplish it.

Now I enter a different phase of my life where I need to enjoy my remaining time with my friends and family and make the rest of my life a celebration instead of a procession. Initially, I debated about making this my last column but after some feedback from family and friends have decided to soldier on and try to help as many people as possible by sharing my experiences.

Lately, I've been listening to a lot of Nine Inch Nails and one of my favorite songs is "In This Twilight". Throughout my diagnosis, the meaning of a lot of the songs I like has changed drastically. This particular song resonates with me during the lyrics "As the time is running out.. Let me take away your doubt.. We can find a better place.. In this twilight"

Prior Last Shot columns can be viewed here.

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22 comments
rzrbk8
rzrbk8

Fuck I hate cancer, but I love you bro! I am truly sorry we lost touch for so many years . . . Keep keeping on - your legacy as an amazing human being continues! Love you man! AAAE

boboorozco1
boboorozco1

thank you Andrew.  I remember a line from a movie (Get Low):  There's life and there's death, and there's a worse place in between them.

James Hartline
James Hartline

The Bible teaches that the power of life and death are in the tongue. Never speak the words of your demise over your life. Speak the blessing of life over yourself. The doctors predicted my death many years ago. I refused to accept their declarations of demise for me. I have fought AIDS for 16 years, Hepatitis C for 24 years, cancer for 10 years, 3 near-death experiences in the past year, a nearly ruptured gall bladder, degenerative joint disease and many hours of warfare in the hospital. But, I arise from the sick bed to run my course in this life until God says I am done, not the doctors. This past June, I completed my first 13.1 mile 1/2 Marathon when I completed the San Diego Rock n Roll 1/2 Marathon in 01:51:00. These are the words I live by from the book of Psalms: I shall not die, but live, And declare the works of the Lord. The Lord has chastened me severely, But He has not given me over to death. Open to me the gates of righteousness; I will go through them, And I will praise the Lord. This is the gate of the Lord, Through which the righteous shall enter. I will praise You, For You have answered me, And have become my salvation. (Psalms 118:17-21 NKJV) God bless you and get well through the same faith in God that I have. James Hartline

JamesHartline
JamesHartline

The Bible teaches that the power of life and death are in the tongue. Never speak the words of your demise over your life. Speak the blessing of life over yourself. The doctors predicted my death many years ago. I refused to accept their declarations of demise for me. I have fought AIDS for 16 years, Hepatitis C for 24 years, cancer for 10 years, 3 near-death experiences in the past year, a nearly ruptured gall bladder, degenerative joint disease and many hours of warfare in the hospital. But, I arise from the sick bed to run my course in this life until God says I am done, not the doctors. This past June, I completed my first 13.1 mile 1/2 Marathon when I completed the San Diego Rock n Roll 1/2 Marathon in 01:51:00. These are the words I live by from the book of Psalms: I shall not die, but live, And declare the works of the Lord. The Lord has chastened me severely, But He has not given me over to death. Open to me the gates of righteousness; I will go through them, And I will praise the Lord. This is the gate of the Lord, Through which the righteous shall enter. I will praise You, For You have answered me, And have become my salvation. (Psalms 118:17-21 NKJV) God bless you and get well through the same faith in God that I have. James Hartline

Elsa Covarrubias
Elsa Covarrubias

The fact that you continue to write and share of yourself demonstrates the type of warrior you are! In your most difficult hour you still choose to live life in greater depth than many of us ever will. Praying for you and sending lots of positivity your way.

chubsterrubster
chubsterrubster

I am sorry to hear this latest update. This is something you should be experiencing 40 years from now. You can still fight. Miracles do happen. But in the meantime, enjoy your family and friends. This is not the end, just the beginning of a new journey. I pray for your comfort and for your family and friends to have strength. They will not forget you. My sister has been gone 12 years and I can still hear hear her voice, see her smile and smell her essence. I was afraid I would lose this clarity over time, but I haven't. She is part of the essence of who I am, as you are to your family and dear friends. Take care of yourself. Peace.

Michael Moon
Michael Moon

Did Phoenix Tears get any play in this treatment?

Margarita Vela
Margarita Vela

consume Hemp everything, oils, seeds, lotions...! Prayers go out to you!

Jayme Vassis Smith
Jayme Vassis Smith

Just experienced this w my Dad- Im so sorry - sorry that cancer SUCKS... Prayers are with you and all people fighting this ~

Aimee Monahan
Aimee Monahan

Thank you for sharing this with us Andrew. Wishing you peace and love.

Justin Mello
Justin Mello

In my thoughts and prayers, #KickCancersAss #fuckcancer.

Kanani Fong
Kanani Fong

Christopher Hitchens also wrote to the end. Be well, and do make the rest of your life a celebration, and not a procession.

Janina Uhmm
Janina Uhmm

Youre in my prayers, along with everyone else fighting cancer

Linda Lucia Valdez
Linda Lucia Valdez

Godspeed! Thanks for fighting the good fight and all the good work.

Paul Lucas
Paul Lucas

Does he need any cannabis to help him along? Let me know and it shall be done.

Guest
Guest

Andrew, your posts are very enlightening.  I suspect many of us will eventually take the same road you have been placed on.  Reading about your battle with the big C should make us all realize how fortunate we are when things are just normal and how important it is to be kind to one another and to reach out.

Blessings to you and thanks for your posts.

http://youtu.be/TzBInt4zljQ


vampee
vampee

There are no words I can say to you other than, I am so glad to have had some of my favorite memories with you included. 


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