For photojournalist Andrew Youssef
with Trent Reznor
Editor’s Note: This story was goose outlet canada originally published by our sister paper canada goose store OC Weekly.
Sneakers squeaking on white tiles, roams Long Beach Memorial Hospital. He isn’t heading home to a sloshy TV dinner, a plush couch, and HBO. Instead, Canada Goose sale he can’t wait to ditch his scrubs and pursue his true calling his night job.
Youssef dips into the locker room and rips off his turquoise jumpsuit. As a freelance concert photographer over the past seven years, he has shot everyone from Black Sabbath to Cold War Kids. The rush to change and get back into the action has hardly lost its thrill. Switching into his usual all black uniform of jeans, a T shirt, and a windbreaker, he fetches his trusty Nikon D4 and his blue bag of pills and is off into the neon night.
Nearly three years ago, Youssef was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer. Since then, he has held fast in a heroic battle against the illness. His projected survival rate past five years was less than 6 percent. Today, as the cancer in his body advances, the 38 year old finds himself nearing the end of his fight; recently, doctors gave him weeks to months to live.[jump] During his epic struggle with the canada goose clearance canada goose outlet online disease, on a good night, if everything went right, Youssef would drive out of the hospital with time to spare, a subtle grin on his face in the waning moments of purple stained sunlight. Heavy metal guitars would rattle his car windows. Watching his transformation from hospital pharmacist to concert photographer, most people would never know they’d canada goose outlet in usa witnessed something akin to Clark Kent becoming Superman.
“I wonder how I did it sometimes,” Youssef says. There’s a certain adrenalin canada goose outlet toronto factory you get from being able to do that.”
Youssef canada goose black friday sale has the art of pre show prep down to a science. Tips such as clearing his memory cards after every gig and scouting a band’s stage lighting are coiled up with nagging reminders to take Lomotil and Imodium to prevent diarrhea, nausea or other stomach problems in the middle of a shoot. He never ate right before a gig. Impeccable hydration was a must.
As he’d zoom down the freeway, he would run through his meticulous mental notes: Has he shot this band before? What’s the route to the venue’s nearest bathroom should he need to stumble in and throw up? Where should he canada goose coats on sale post up canada goose outlet nyc in the photo pit to get a good shot without getting trampled? Exactly how long should he wait for the woozy side effects of his chemo to kick in before ducking out to his car?
Looking back on the stress Youssef has endured for his craft, he recalls the concern of friends who worried he wasn’t getting enough rest. “I’ll sleep when I’m dead,” he remembers thinking. “If I have the energy to do something, I’m gonna do it. Because there’s gonna come a time when I won’t have it.”
From the day of his devastating diagnosis, Youssef has had every opportunity to wallow, shut out the world and let his illness quietly choke whatever spirit he had left. Luckily, he didn’t let that happen. Instead, he vigorously embraced his passion as a concert photographer. His day job as a pharmacist in a hospital affords him the professional knowledge of how bad his health situation could get should he canada goose outlet shop push himself too hard.
Youssef with Page Hamilton of Helmet
Despite that, his desire to fulfill his concert and photography bucket list has taken his experience as a fan and his relationships with some of his favorite artists to startling canada goose outlet heights. He has befriended rock stars, received beyond royal treatment at shows, even dined with elusive Nine Inch Nails front man Trent Reznor (who now follows him on Twitter). Helmet’s Page Hamilton, a revered renaissance man and alt metal figure since the ’90s, used to see Youssef at just about every show the band would play in LA, and in 2007, they struck up a friendship. During the Christmas season after he was diagnosed, Hamilton showed up one day at Youssef’s home for a jam session. The squealing white noise of Hamilton’s guitar echoed alongside Youssef’s deft guitar chugging. “I just felt in my heart at that moment that he was gonna get through it,” Hamilton says. “It’s just devastating.”
Youssef’s column for OC Weekly’s Heard Mentality canada goose outlet online uk blog, Last Shot, recounts his experiences with cancer in harrowing and heartbreaking detail, a stark tribute to his awe inspiring courage. From the living room of his family’s middle class, one story home, he types methodically, his computer on his knees, skinny limbs sunken into a brown, marshmallowy recliner. The house is tucked inside a Downey cul de sac; a lone palm tree on the lawn guards the door, a large front window and its faded drapes.
About two and a half years after his diagnosis, Youssef had shared the news of his illness cheap canada goose with only his closest friends, family and colleagues. Even as the disease advanced, he worked hard, as always. Rarely one to surrender to aches and pains, he was even less likely to talk about them. But then after so many years of watching and reading buy canada goose jacket cheap about people dying from the same affliction, Youssef had a change of heart. In late February, he started writing his column, chronicling his struggle with cancer.
The disease had come out of nowhere in early 2011. At first, he didn’t know what was wrong. He’d lost about 20 pounds and seemed to be getting sick more easily than usual. Then, during an assignment shooting Gang of Four at the House of Blues for the Weekly, Youssef was seized by stomach pain and nausea he’d barely made it through the gig before stumbling to his car. Streaks of blood in his stool, he says, “should’ve raised more red flags.”
But there was no time for self pity. The doctors immediately wheeled him into surgery to remove a tumor that was blocking 98 percent of his colon. The operation left him with a zipper like scar on his abdomen. The simplest tasks became excruciating: rolling over onto one side or walking from his hospital bed to a chair. The cancer had already spread diffusely to Youssef’s liver, like a point blank shotgun blast.
Days dragged by, filled by tear stained conversations with a handful of friends over the phone and with his parents and brother, who rotated shifts by his side at the hospital. He dutifully emailed his employers, telling them he’d be out of commission he didn’t know for how long. Youssef no longer attended shows, which only enhanced his depression. Because of the surgery, https://www.chinese-sharpei.de he missed shooting Coachella 2011. He managed to watch a few minutes of the live stream of the Indio festival in bed before closing his laptop in disgust. “The sad part is I barely even had the strength to lift up my laptop at that point,” he recalls.
Two months later, after moving from Huntington Beach back to his parents’ house in Downey, Youssef decided to get back to the canada goose outlet jackets business of shooting shows. “I knew I had to get up and regain some sort of active life, or I would die a lot quicker,” he says.
The first show on canada goose outlet his list was Fleet Foxes at the Hollywood Palladium in September canada goose uk black friday 2011. Days before, he prepared himself by doing laps around the house with a camera bag strapped over his shoulder.
For the first time in years, Youssef found himself canada goose outlet uk asking for a ride to the show. One of his friends and fellow photographers, Lindsey Best, was kind enough to not only drive him up, but also watch over him as he sat against the barricade, conserving his energy for the headliner.
The roar of fans and the sight of Fleet Foxes’ grinning, bearded front man, Robin Pecknold, walking onstage gave him the lightning bolt of adrenalin he needed. He remembers barely having the arm strength to hold up one of his 8 Canada Goose Jackets pound cameras. But he heaved himself up and held the camera, which felt like an anvil in his trembling hands. Youssef adjusted the shutter speed to account for his shaking, and before he knew it, it was over. He’d made it through the allotted three songs.
When Best dropped him off at home, they hugged goodbye. Holding each other in her car with the motor running, they both began to break down.
“I couldn’t believe after all I had been through that I successfully attended a concert and photographed the show,” Youssef wrote in his second column, titled “Helplessness Blues at a Fleet Foxes Show,” published this April. “For those three songs, I momentarily forgot I had cancer. It was and still is the best feeling in the world. I was back doing Canada Goose Coats On Sale one of the things I loved to do the most.”.