[Editor's Note: Long-time concert photographer Andrew Youssef found out two years ago that he had stage IV colon cancer. In that time, he has continued to shoot tons of music events, on top of other freelance work and working 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.]
These last two weeks have been some of the most difficult times since my diagnosis. My pain has been all over the map at various intensities, as well as my energy level. Medications can improve these factors to a certain degree, but overall I feel like the photograph of Marty McFly from Back To The Future that is slowly vanishing. Luckily, I started a new clinical drug trial on Monday that provides me with a new chemotherapy agent that supposedly has good activity against Stage IV metastatic colon cancer.
While I desperately hope the new medication works fast, if it doesn't I may be in trouble. I was looking forward to last week because the Postal Service was playing the beautiful Greek Theatre two nights in a row in the ten-year celebration of their debut album Give Up. The nostalgia of hearing those songs live again would provide a much needed boost to my psyche and overall well-being if I could make it.
It didn't look like I was going to make it the first night, as I had to wrestle with some excruciating stomach pain early in the day. I readjusted my pain medications and took a rather lengthy nap to make the show. The show was fantastic as they played favorites as "Such Great Heights," "Brand New Colony" and "The District Sleeps Alone Tonight."
At the tail end of the set though, I sensed my energy was waning. I had to leave during the last song, "Brand New Colony," as I needed to sit down in my car and gather my strength for the ride home. The energy from its performance definitely provided that extra boost. Unfortunately, It brings up the dilemma of whether I should be even going to concerts if I don't have the energy to enjoy them.
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