Narrative fine art photographers
Brisbane wedding photographer

Journal

A window into Faye's journey against Cancer.

Jarred Eid, Director of Narrative & photographer has shared an insight into the journey that his wife has gone through. Faye was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer in 2016 which lead to a few surgeries, IVF, countless trips to the hospital, chemotherapy and a brain haemorrhage. This is Jarred's documentation of the journey, all captured on his phone.

"I was increasingly aware that I needed to document what was one of the more challenging situations in my life. This is my most personal work, all captured on my mobile phone. I had no intention to end up with this body of work, I just understood that I needed to capture this intimate time in our lives. My intention is to help inspire people through these images. These challenging moments in life shape us and move us, and for those faced with a similar situation, they too can find beauty amidst the pain."

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I decided to take a portrait of Faye before she started chemotherapy. Little did I know it would lead to a desire to capture more. It was an exhausting lead up to this day and neither of us knew what we were in for, whether it would be better or worse than we’d imagined. The image for me communicates the apprehension and optimism of Faye at that moment, with the look of fear in her eyes, however her brave, resolute expression holding the optimism. 

I decided to take a portrait of Faye before she started chemotherapy. Little did I know it would lead to a desire to capture more. It was an exhausting lead up to this day and neither of us knew what we were in for, whether it would be better or worse than we’d imagined.

The image for me communicates the apprehension and optimism of Faye at that moment, with the look of fear in her eyes, however her brave, resolute expression holding the optimism. 

This image is my most treasured from the entire course of Faye’s chemotherapy. It perfectly captures the dim circumstances we’d found ourselves surrounded by and Faye’s ability to be hopeful and look up during the hardest times.

This image is my most treasured from the entire course of Faye’s chemotherapy. It perfectly captures the dim circumstances we’d found ourselves surrounded by and Faye’s ability to be hopeful and look up during the hardest times.

Week one was now well underway. Faye slept through the rainy days and the majority of her chemo sessions. I always felt such warmth and peace through the process. I knew life was different now, but felt a persistent sense of calm that she would get through it. 

Week one was now well underway. Faye slept through the rainy days and the majority of her chemo sessions. I always felt such warmth and peace through the process. I knew life was different now, but felt a persistent sense of calm that she would get through it. 

After a few days the sun had finally come out and Faye was feeling good after a walk. Here she is dancing in her hospital room. These moments of joy were a welcome break from the fatigued, quiet version of my wife that was around over the course of her chemo due to her reaction to the drugs.

After a few days the sun had finally come out and Faye was feeling good after a walk. Here she is dancing in her hospital room. These moments of joy were a welcome break from the fatigued, quiet version of my wife that was around over the course of her chemo due to her reaction to the drugs.

It was at this point that we hit our first road bump. The whole process had been exhausting both physically and emotionally up until this point and Faye had just endured 4 hours of different nurses jabbing her arm to try and put a cannula in, ready for a dose of chemotherapy. It was finally decided that a picc line would be the best option ( a line that would go from her arm through an artery that would sit above her heart)  Here is one of Faye’s incredible nurses, Ned, sitting with Faye amidst the apprehension, reassuring her that it wouldn’t be painful or scary.  I can’t thank these nurses enough.

It was at this point that we hit our first road bump. The whole process had been exhausting both physically and emotionally up until this point and Faye had just endured 4 hours of different nurses jabbing her arm to try and put a cannula in, ready for a dose of chemotherapy. It was finally decided that a picc line would be the best option ( a line that would go from her arm through an artery that would sit above her heart) 

Here is one of Faye’s incredible nurses, Ned, sitting with Faye amidst the apprehension, reassuring her that it wouldn’t be painful or scary.  I can’t thank these nurses enough.

Back at it the following day after a rough night trying to sleep. Sleepless nights became the norm as Faye found it hard to get comfortable due to all the pain.

Back at it the following day after a rough night trying to sleep. Sleepless nights became the norm as Faye found it hard to get comfortable due to all the pain.

After round one, we felt relieved. If this is what it was going to be like, it wouldn’t be that hard at all. We were sorely mistaken. Sunday hit and we quickly realised what we were in for. She spent many days like this, hunched over on the couch, crying in the toilet between vomiting and extreme pain. It became hard to keep any food down.  Chemo was taking us through its paces and I was finally hit with the reality of the next few months.

After round one, we felt relieved. If this is what it was going to be like, it wouldn’t be that hard at all. We were sorely mistaken. Sunday hit and we quickly realised what we were in for. She spent many days like this, hunched over on the couch, crying in the toilet between vomiting and extreme pain. It became hard to keep any food down. 

Chemo was taking us through its paces and I was finally hit with the reality of the next few months.

Faye has a break from the hospital ward and takes a phone call from a dear friend, who would be with us through this whole journey. These moments of respite and reassurance helped recharge us and this little corridor was a window into a world that, outside our little bubble, was still moving and growing. I enjoyed the small piece of normality I felt as I took phone calls looking out onto the magnificent trees outside

Faye has a break from the hospital ward and takes a phone call from a dear friend, who would be with us through this whole journey. These moments of respite and reassurance helped recharge us and this little corridor was a window into a world that, outside our little bubble, was still moving and growing. I enjoyed the small piece of normality I felt as I took phone calls looking out onto the magnificent trees outside

Though this isn’t a pretty picture of my wife, it was a view I was met with on the weeks when her immune system hit rock bottom. In the midst of the pain was a sense of community in hospital, I can’t begin to describe and I didn’t feel the need to hide the reality of what we were going through, knowing it would be fine.

Though this isn’t a pretty picture of my wife, it was a view I was met with on the weeks when her immune system hit rock bottom. In the midst of the pain was a sense of community in hospital, I can’t begin to describe and I didn’t feel the need to hide the reality of what we were going through, knowing it would be fine.

Faye lived with a sick bag in hand most days. By this stage i’d become an expert and learned all her medications, I guess I was hoping they would take the pain away. It was in moments like these that I wished more than anything for the pain to trade places.

Faye lived with a sick bag in hand most days. By this stage i’d become an expert and learned all her medications, I guess I was hoping they would take the pain away. It was in moments like these that I wished more than anything for the pain to trade places.

When Faye’s white blood cell counts dropped, she sometimes had fevers. These can be very dangerous, so back to the hospital for tests and monitoring. This X-ray waiting room became an all too familiar site.

When Faye’s white blood cell counts dropped, she sometimes had fevers. These can be very dangerous, so back to the hospital for tests and monitoring. This X-ray waiting room became an all too familiar site.

Here’s Faye, back in hospital again and trying to catch up on sleep after 14 trips to the toilet. These are the parts of chemotherapy you don’t really expect and that aren’t glamorous. She was exhausted.

Here’s Faye, back in hospital again and trying to catch up on sleep after 14 trips to the toilet. These are the parts of chemotherapy you don’t really expect and that aren’t glamorous. She was exhausted.

After finding chunks of hair on her pillow and around the house, it was time to shave what was left off. She still looked beautiful. It was a strange few days as those around her adjusted to her new look, many thinking she’d shaved it as a fashion statement and others not knowing where to look. This made interacting harder for Faye, as she couldn’t avoid the myriad of questions she encountered when she ventured out anymore.

After finding chunks of hair on her pillow and around the house, it was time to shave what was left off. She still looked beautiful. It was a strange few days as those around her adjusted to her new look, many thinking she’d shaved it as a fashion statement and others not knowing where to look. This made interacting harder for Faye, as she couldn’t avoid the myriad of questions she encountered when she ventured out anymore.

I walked upstairs after tidying downstairs. Due to her low white cell count, the house had to remain spotless in case of Faye catching anything. I was met with Faye, crying looking in the mirror. She’d been hit with the reality of having no hair and felt ugly. There was hardly any concern for Faye about this throughout the journey, but I guess this day it had just got to her, after taking her makeup off for the first time since shaving her head

I walked upstairs after tidying downstairs. Due to her low white cell count, the house had to remain spotless in case of Faye catching anything. I was met with Faye, crying looking in the mirror. She’d been hit with the reality of having no hair and felt ugly. There was hardly any concern for Faye about this throughout the journey, but I guess this day it had just got to her, after taking her makeup off for the first time since shaving her head

Sleeping was the best remedy for the bad days, as she didn’t feel the pain and it made the time pass

Sleeping was the best remedy for the bad days, as she didn’t feel the pain and it made the time pass

Back at hospital again. Faye was horribly sick and unable to function at home. Amidst the wondering whether the things that were happening were normal, the hospital felt like a safe place, because they knew how to manage her symptoms. This photo was taken just after a series of seizures due to a bad reaction to her painkillers.

Back at hospital again. Faye was horribly sick and unable to function at home. Amidst the wondering whether the things that were happening were normal, the hospital felt like a safe place, because they knew how to manage her symptoms. This photo was taken just after a series of seizures due to a bad reaction to her painkillers.

The bedroom was the place that the emotions became most raw and became a lot to bare. We’d lay on the bed and chat. I remained as strong as I could but nothing was more heartbreaking than looking over at Faye and seeing this face. Tears rolling, chin crinkling and a furrowed brow. We hadn’t accounted for all the changes that would come in our lives along with chemo and sometimes our new reality hit home. 

The bedroom was the place that the emotions became most raw and became a lot to bare. We’d lay on the bed and chat. I remained as strong as I could but nothing was more heartbreaking than looking over at Faye and seeing this face. Tears rolling, chin crinkling and a furrowed brow. We hadn’t accounted for all the changes that would come in our lives along with chemo and sometimes our new reality hit home. 

We were well and truly in the thick of it by this point and with every step we remained hopeful and steadied by peace. In reality life had become dim and isolating.

We were well and truly in the thick of it by this point and with every step we remained hopeful and steadied by peace. In reality life had become dim and isolating.

We had ambitions for being healthy throughout chemo but, because of Faye’s intensive chemo regime, the nausea meant that she couldn’t stand the sight of most food. She lost 10kg over the course of her treatment and toward the end we became desperate to get anything into her system. Here she is drinking a frozen coke, hilariously the only thing she managed to keep down. We’d pack it with supplements to try and boost her strength. Walking down to the service station to get these drinks became a welcome time to reflect.

We had ambitions for being healthy throughout chemo but, because of Faye’s intensive chemo regime, the nausea meant that she couldn’t stand the sight of most food. She lost 10kg over the course of her treatment and toward the end we became desperate to get anything into her system. Here she is drinking a frozen coke, hilariously the only thing she managed to keep down. We’d pack it with supplements to try and boost her strength. Walking down to the service station to get these drinks became a welcome time to reflect.

The days seemed to pass quickly, the sun would often be setting as faye was heading off to sleep. My work day normally started after this. 

The days seemed to pass quickly, the sun would often be setting as faye was heading off to sleep. My work day normally started after this. 

The effects of the chemo had taken their toll and her face had changed due to the drug combination she was being given. One thing I knew was that Faye was stronger than she thought and kept wading through the pain, however hard it had become. 

The effects of the chemo had taken their toll and her face had changed due to the drug combination she was being given. One thing I knew was that Faye was stronger than she thought and kept wading through the pain, however hard it had become. 

Christmas day was here and with it, Faye’s last dose of chemo. The end was finally in sight. Faye had been more tired than usual and dizzy the days prior to this but it didn’t seem like much of a concern at the time. After she had become too weak to move, the outpatients ward admitted her to the chemo ward upstairs to monitor her over the next couple of days.  It was shortly after this that Faye blacked out completely and started exclaiming that she had pain in her head. It must have been bad because we went through over ten sick bags in that short space of time. Faye suddenly stopped talking and could only grunt, followed by a seizure and then, very quickly, a room of 20 doctors trying to figure out what was going on.  After this Faye was taken away for 2 hours whilst they ran many tests. The doctor returned just before midnight to explain that Faye had bleeding on her brain. I soon found out that midnight was a bad time to google the condition that the doctor had just explained to me. 

Christmas day was here and with it, Faye’s last dose of chemo. The end was finally in sight. Faye had been more tired than usual and dizzy the days prior to this but it didn’t seem like much of a concern at the time. After she had become too weak to move, the outpatients ward admitted her to the chemo ward upstairs to monitor her over the next couple of days. 

It was shortly after this that Faye blacked out completely and started exclaiming that she had pain in her head. It must have been bad because we went through over ten sick bags in that short space of time. Faye suddenly stopped talking and could only grunt, followed by a seizure and then, very quickly, a room of 20 doctors trying to figure out what was going on. 

After this Faye was taken away for 2 hours whilst they ran many tests. The doctor returned just before midnight to explain that Faye had bleeding on her brain. I soon found out that midnight was a bad time to google the condition that the doctor had just explained to me. 

There were no and are still, no answers for the cause. I remember signing a lot of forms, care to ICU, procedure that could cause permanent brain damage or death. On only a few hours of sleep, at what we thought would be a triumphant end to our journey. It got me. This part hurt. Distracting myself with humour was the only thing that kept me sane during the 6 hour wait for Faye to return from a procedure. 

There were no and are still, no answers for the cause. I remember signing a lot of forms, care to ICU, procedure that could cause permanent brain damage or death. On only a few hours of sleep, at what we thought would be a triumphant end to our journey. It got me. This part hurt. Distracting myself with humour was the only thing that kept me sane during the 6 hour wait for Faye to return from a procedure. 

My intelligent and well spoken wife was now unable to talk at all. She didn’t know who I was and looked straight through me. Seeing Faye unable to communicate was heartbreaking. It was like she was trapped.

My intelligent and well spoken wife was now unable to talk at all. She didn’t know who I was and looked straight through me. Seeing Faye unable to communicate was heartbreaking. It was like she was trapped.

Faye managed to get some rest in between the tests that were administered every hour. 

Faye managed to get some rest in between the tests that were administered every hour. 

The pain of Faye’s current situation became so vivid as I looked on at the stark contrast between my wife fast asleep and the man in the bed next to her, legs crossed, having a chat to a family member. 

The pain of Faye’s current situation became so vivid as I looked on at the stark contrast between my wife fast asleep and the man in the bed next to her, legs crossed, having a chat to a family member. 

The next 48 hours consisted of Faye in the same state. It wasn’t until the next day, on my way to the hospital, that I received a call from Faye’s number. I thought it would be a nurse. I was shocked to hear Faye’s voice. She had no idea what had happened over the last couple of days. She felt normal. This lead to a vast number of tests and doctor's scratching their heads. It usually takes months to regain memory and speech. We had no cause and no answers but I didn’t care one bit, I could talk to Faye. 

The next 48 hours consisted of Faye in the same state. It wasn’t until the next day, on my way to the hospital, that I received a call from Faye’s number. I thought it would be a nurse. I was shocked to hear Faye’s voice. She had no idea what had happened over the last couple of days. She felt normal. This lead to a vast number of tests and doctor's scratching their heads. It usually takes months to regain memory and speech. We had no cause and no answers but I didn’t care one bit, I could talk to Faye. 

I hadn’t realised how long it had been since i’d seen my wife’s personality. I hadn’t seen her laugh, have any kind of intelligent conversation...it was all survival. She had disappeared almost completely from my view and in her place was a mere body, shut down and fighting to survive as she bore the pain of the past few months. 

I hadn’t realised how long it had been since i’d seen my wife’s personality. I hadn’t seen her laugh, have any kind of intelligent conversation...it was all survival. She had disappeared almost completely from my view and in her place was a mere body, shut down and fighting to survive as she bore the pain of the past few months. 

It was so hard watching Faye go from fiercely independent to totally dependant. There were many days, on the road to recovery, that I’d have to help clean her whilst she sat hunched over on a stool. 

It was so hard watching Faye go from fiercely independent to totally dependant. There were many days, on the road to recovery, that I’d have to help clean her whilst she sat hunched over on a stool. 

Ahh… the smile that lights up the room. This was the best day. Finally, I got to see a little piece of the real Faye back on display. 

Ahh… the smile that lights up the room. This was the best day. Finally, I got to see a little piece of the real Faye back on display. 

The raw vulnerability at this point in the journey was unhinging. Faye was holding on but because of her size and frame, chemo had hit her hard. A lot of people thought she was brave but she didn't feel it... 

The raw vulnerability at this point in the journey was unhinging. Faye was holding on but because of her size and frame, chemo had hit her hard.

A lot of people thought she was brave but she didn't feel it... 

Faye’s new normal has been at times, frustrating. Unable to do many of the things she used to whilst allowing her body to heal. Sometimes normal just meant binge watching tv series and not throwing up. 

Faye’s new normal has been at times, frustrating. Unable to do many of the things she used to whilst allowing her body to heal. Sometimes normal just meant binge watching tv series and not throwing up. 

We became ok with a stripped back life. We knew what was important and learnt what family is there for. Surprisingly the greatest companions were our two cats...no words, just company. I learnt from them that being there and not feeling the need to intervene or fix things, was what sometimes worked best. 

We became ok with a stripped back life. We knew what was important and learnt what family is there for. Surprisingly the greatest companions were our two cats...no words, just company. I learnt from them that being there and not feeling the need to intervene or fix things, was what sometimes worked best. 

Chemo was over and life back to normal... so we thought. In the wake of 6 months of treatment, there we were, two lives turned upside down and inside out. Company became sparse as people's lives kept rolling on, there were bills to catch up on, work to be done and for Faye, the prospect of not being able to do anything for 6 months whilst she recovered. There’s the matter of adjusting from a carer, back to a husband. You don’t realise that every element of your life is going be upheaved by cancer. It is a thief, It has stolen so much, but in retrospect, it was generous... it gave us things we wouldn't trade for any form of comfort. Now, even in the midst of the mess, stands a beautiful blank canvas on which we can shape the kind of lives we discovered we want. So in many ways, it has made us all the richer. 

Chemo was over and life back to normal... so we thought. In the wake of 6 months of treatment, there we were, two lives turned upside down and inside out. Company became sparse as people's lives kept rolling on, there were bills to catch up on, work to be done and for Faye, the prospect of not being able to do anything for 6 months whilst she recovered. There’s the matter of adjusting from a carer, back to a husband. You don’t realise that every element of your life is going be upheaved by cancer. It is a thief, It has stolen so much, but in retrospect, it was generous... it gave us things we wouldn't trade for any form of comfort. Now, even in the midst of the mess, stands a beautiful blank canvas on which we can shape the kind of lives we discovered we want. So in many ways, it has made us all the richer. 

zac martin