Category Archives: General

Chemo is evil

A simple title and a simple message.
If you have cancer try everything you can before you try Chemo and even then think more than twice before you start…

Over the last 4 years, I have had multiple surgeries to remove tumours from various parts of my body. Unfortunately in July my scan showed multiple small tumours in my lung, yes singular I only have one now.
There was no way that surgery could help and I was advised that Chemo could help and extend what life I had left.
I was dubious, I’ve always said quality over quantity, but I thought I’d give it a go.
This was one of the worst decisions I’ve made in my life, It has cost me 2 months of what time I have left.
I became a dull, listless, unmotivated, tired, sad sack of a person with painful extremities, diarrhea or constipation at random, a constant feeling of nausea, bruising that wouldn’t go away, sensitive gums and more.
The final straw came when I was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance because of breathing difficulties. After a CT scan, they found that I had pulmonary embolisms caused by the chemo and will now be on blood thinners for the rest of my life as a result.

That was 11 days ago, I was due to have an infusion but they cancelled that because that was the cause of the embolisms but I should continue with the tablets.
7 days ago I decided to stop everything as I was feeling worse and worse as the treatment went on.

I believe that it will take another week before the shit is fully out of my system but already I am feeling alive again, positive and full of energy.

Chemo was a serious mistake, if you have cancer don’t make the same mistake,
live life! don’t be reduced to an unmotivated useless specimen!

Three score years and ten

Well, I never expected to get here 🙂

Of course now I’m here 70 doesn’t seem old at all.
I remember agreeing with the “never trust anyone over 30” idea and then suddenly I was over 30 and it was good.
I didn’t really notice 40, I was far too busy.
50 should have been a milestone but again life distracted me.” Maybe if I’d lived here I’d have celebrated as “meeting Abraham” is widely celebrated here.
60, I knew I should be feeling old but I wasn’t so…
70, well, I didn’t expect to get here because of the cancer but I don’t feel old. Old people are in their late 80’s and more!

Funny how your concept of old changes.

Physically I am of course ageing, but mentally I think I’m more active than ever. I’ve never been able to remember peoples names anyway 🙂
Yes, I do sometimes find myself in a room wondering what I came here for but that’s the aliens in the doorways with their mind wiping devices. They realise that as you get older you see through their cloak of deceit. Or is that politicians…

The sun has got his hat on

Well after this morning’s dismal tale of woe…
The sun has come out.
I’ve just ridden 20Km on my bike through a totally new park that is just opening. It’s been 4 years in the building.
A huge wildlife reserve with canals and lakes all over, bike and footpaths and no motor vehicles.
It’s fun cycling along and realising that it’s actually a huge flood defence system. with dykes and lower areas all ready to catch huge amounts of water.

Seeing such a forward-looking project is a joy.

It’s getting to the point

The next line is “where I’m no fun anymore” maybe for me right now the I’m should be changed to life.
I’m losing my positive attitude as my life is slowly whittled away.
Nothing major, just lots of little things.
I can’t sit out in the sun because the chemo makes my skin hypersensitive.
I have to cough more because the chemo causes me to create more saliva, this results in more swallowing which is an issue because of the surgery to deal with cancer in my trachea.
I have to concentrate on swallowing otherwise liquids go the wrong way and I start to drown.
I cough as a result. Intense coughs which strain the area around my stoma so whenever I cough I have to hold my stomach still.
I bleed more easily which causes problems with my stoma when I cycle.
I can’t eat when I want to, I have to eat to fit into a pattern that works with my chemo, a pattern that is totally different from how I normally eat.
And on and on it goes.
PMA, well yes but there does come a point.
A point that I thought was far in the future but one that seems to be rushing towards me at an alarming rate.

Hmm, a different future

I had my 4 monthly scan 3 weeks ago and it wasn’t good news.
My CT scan showed a lot of very small shadowy tumours, far too many to be dealt with via surgery. I was passed on to the Chemo specialists.
I am starting Chemo next week, it’s a mixed approach, tablets daily, the same drug I had 4 years ago but which they think is right for now and a 3 weekly infusion of another drug.

Neither of these drugs will cure cancer but they will slow it down and if I’m very lucky may well stop it.

I asked about life expectancy and was told that it was very difficult as I was “an anomaly” in that looking at my earliest scans from 4 years ago they would have said that I had 2 years or maybe 3 at best. Statistically I should be dead now 🙂
Bearing that in mind they said they would guess at 2 years but would update that as treatment continued!

So, The Black Knight continues 🙂

Not so clear scan!

I haven’t posted since October and my clear scan, this was followed by a scan that showed a tumour in my trachea.

A number of extra scans later, MRI, CT & PET, I was told that this was a serious tumour and that operations on it were rare, very rare and survival chances were, err, less than optimal.

As without the operation survival chances were zero I didn’t see much of a choice!

I was due to be operated on in March but after a new set of scans showed it growing quickly I was admitted to LUMC on the 3rd of February and operated on on the 4th.
The surgeons admitted that they hadn’t done this operation before because it was so rare. I woke up to find my chin stitched to my chest.
This was to make sure that I didn’t move my head up which could/would cause the stitches in the trachea to part and in their words “you’ll drown in your own blood faster than we can get in there to fix it”

I think they were trying to convince me not to move my head back 🙂

I was fed through a nose tube because I couldn’t swallow.
After a week they removed the nose tube at which point we found out that I couldn’t swallow liquids.
Anything liquid went straight into my lungs. During tests I was told that I now knew what waterboarding felt like!
I could manage to swallow things like yoghurt and kwark and they became my main diet.

I was still unable to drink when after 2 weeks in hospital they sent me home.
I had dietary instructions and food supplements to keep me going until I could swallow.
4 weeks after the operation I managed to swallow some water for the first time. Nothing has ever tasted so good 🙂

I still have to be very careful drinking as it’s really easy to end up sending liquids into my lungs. This is because my trachea was shortened considerably and the balance between trachea and oesophagus is wrong.
I still can’t swallow pills.

The good news is that they believe that they have finally removed everything.
I feel great, better than I have in years.

My next scan is in June…

Why I no longer use YouTube

I have removed all my material from Youtube with the exception of a small showreel and a message to go to Vimeo.

Why? because I have got totally fed up with Google’s, hmm better be careful here lawyers may read this 🙂

OK, when I used Adsense the stats for visits that Google reported were hugely different to those my server logs showed. Yes I filtered out all the spiders etc and made sure that I was only counting “Real” visitors. There was still a 4* differential.

CML was consistently in the top 3 in searches at this time.

I stopped using Adsense, the revenue had dropped hugely and I didn’t like the figures as mentioned above.

CML dropped down the search results, obviously this was a coincidence…

I kept getting warnings about copyright from YouTube and I kept replying that this was showreel material and in my contracts I was allowed to do this and that anyway under EU law I was the co-creator and had every right to use this material in this way.

YouTube never replied but never took anything down, however, when it came to monetisation they didn’t seem to have a problem surrounding my material with ads but of course that revenue never came to me.

After over 3 million visitors I decide that enough was enough and removed all my content.

Coincidentally CML dropped further down the Google search rating especially after I removed all Google tracking codes from CML. These tracking codes are meant to have no effect on your search position and are purely to provide useful data, oh yeah?

Sp please, if you want to see any of my material go to

An annual event

It seems like this is becoming an annual event for me 🙁

Even though my blood scans show completely clear CT scans have shown a tumour in my right lung. My doctors think that this is simply the tumour that they thought they had killed with microwaves last year wasn’t totally killed off.

So, for the third year in a row I’m off to have surgery, this time to remove a node of my right lung.

This time it will be using robot assisted surgery which will give me the quickest recovery time.

After this is finally removed it should be an end to the problems as the blood is clear and all the CT and PET scans show a single tumour with no other traces anywhere.

I’ll be going in immediately after the BSC show in London.

The question of why there is no trace in my blood is an interesting one. Could the CBD I’ve been taking for over a year be a factor?


It was my first visit to CameraImage this year in the past commercials have made it impossible to attend.
I now wish that I’d turned down some of those jobs so that I could attend!
It was an amazing meeting of cinematographers, I met people I hadn’t seen for 30 years and I also made new friends amongst the people who introduced themselves as CML members.

Apart from taking part in a couple of great panels, one on the future of cinematography and the other on ACES I had lunch with John Bailey, Stephen Poster and Vittorio Storaro.

Yes there are problems with overcrowding and scheduling but overall its well worth it and I’d recommend it to any cinematographer and anyone involved in cinematography students included.

If you intend to attend all the parties you’re going to need a very strong liver!!

Camera Test updates and reflections on the difference between the Netherlands and the UK

I’ve had to pause on the camera evaluations, well, the uploading of them, not the assessment of them.

I just wonder how many people will look at them in full res or even download the files to be able to judge them properly. It’s interesting the way some cameras change colour from under to over exposure and how the noise and clip varies. The thing is in some cases you really need to look closely.

I’m now making all the QT files that are uploaded to Vimeo from 16 bit EXR’s that have been generated in ACES space in the manufacturers own software. Of course there is one exception to that but I’m doing the best I can with that!!

There are some cameras that look great on a quick superficial look but on prolonged examination show some odd flaws. I’ll be uploading the EXR’s at the end of the process for those people crazy enough to want to see the full beauty, or horror, of the cameras.

I was once again struck by the differences between the Netherlands and the UK, I went out to dinner last night with a group of people from my apartment block, by a group I mean 13 of the 14 apartments here joined us, 7 floors 2 apartments per floor and the only people not to join us were the ones moving out next month. It was a great night and it’s an amazing mix of people. One of them is a senior news director at De Telegraaf and she told me that they’d run my stupid thief video on their website and had got over 5 million hits!!

I also went for my bi-annual check up, this will be a feature of my life for the next 5 years. Ultrasound and X-ray, no sign of new tumours which is great but something in my liver so I’m off for an MRI in a week or so. Just a precaution but I can’t get over the speed and thoroughness of the medical system here.

In the UK I’d never have gone out with my neighbours like this and I’d be waiting while permission was granted to put me in line for a checkup. Actually I’d probably be dead because I’d be waiting for the results of tests finally done after a 6month wait.