A Reminder of Our Transience

by | Jun 8, 2011 | Announcement, Musings, OMG! | 83 comments

OK, so this is a difficult thing to talk about, but I’m not one for hiding things away, however personal, so here we go.

About six weeks ago, on the evening of the day we’d reached Patagonia, after a few days at sea from the Falkland Islands in the last stage of my Antarctica voyage, I started to have some funny turns. They started with a sensation in my nose, similar to how it feels after being punched in the nose. Not pain as such, but the sensation, accompanied by an almost insinuated rather than actual smell. Then, moment later a strange tingling worked its way out from the nose and chest down my arms and legs until my entire body was tingling. I became a little dizzy and sometimes nauseous, then after around 40 seconds to a minute it subsided, then stopped, with no apparent after effects.

The ships doctor couldn’t really pinpoint anything, and after a few days, the frequency dropped from roughly every thirty minutes or so, to once every few hours, then it stopped around the fourth day. Shortly after this, the voyage ended and I made my way back to Japan, and the turns seemed to have cleared up. It was a very disconcerting experience, especially not knowing the cause, but I relaxed about it, hoping that it didn’t happen again.

Then, on Sunday this week, June 5th, they came back. I had one attack in the morning, and one in the afternoon. I was disappointed and again felt very concerned. On Monday, the next day, I had three attacks, and was getting more and more worried. I decided to confide in a good friend in Australia who’s not only an amazing photographer, but also a very good doctor, Graham Morgan. Graham advised me to get an MRI and start tests to find a possible problem with something affecting my central nervous system.

The following morning I went to a local hospital, that didn’t have an MRI, but did have a CT machine that would give us a quick look in my head. After explaining my symptoms and having the CT Scan, a smiling doctor exclaimed that there is something there, and with the next breath, told with the same smile and a definite sense of excitement that it is a brain tumour.





We looked at the series of images from the scan, and you can certainly see something almost golf ball sized start to appear just left of the center of my brain, and this extends down behind my nose, which might explain why the attacks seem to start with that funny sensation behind the nose. The doctors excitement helped to diffuse the situation a little, but I was still pretty shocked. I looked across at my wife who was in the room with me, and she looked like she’d seen a ghost, understandably. I reached out and took her hand.

We were referred to a larger hospital and went to see if we could start further tests straight away. The actually don’t take outpatients in the afternoon on this day, but we went anyway, and they agreed to start working with me. We did another CT scan, this time while injecting me with something that makes the pictures clearer, and they took six test tubes of blood for tests. We’ve got an appointment for an MRI for tomorrow, June 9, to get a better look at the enemy, I then have another appointment next week on Wednesday the 15th, to discuss the results and start to build a blueprint of how we’ll treat this thing.

We don’t know yet if the tumour is malignant or not. Evidence suggests though that it’s been growing for some time, and hasn’t really started playing up until now, and even now, the symptoms are relatively mild, so the doctor says it seems to be benign, but we won’t know for sure until we actually get in there and take a piece of it for checks. Luckily, with the bulk of this thing being behind my nose, we may be able to go in through there rather than opening my skull, at least to get a piece of it, even if the surgery to remove it requires them to go in through an open cranium.

On the way to the CT scan room, the doctor said that I was surprisingly calm, and I was. Most of the time now, I still am, but that doesn’t mean that I’m OK with all of this. I have to tell you, I’m shit scared. We got home last night and cried for a while while hugging, as soon as we walked into our apartment. Today we’ve done OK, but had a bit of a blubber earlier for five minutes.

It’s difficult to know how to feel. On one hand there’s the possibility that it could be all over, but on the other hand, there’s an enhanced appreciation for the time that we have, and if I do make it through this, the rest of the time I’ll have left. We actually cried earlier after I’d said that I want to look out across the Savanna with my wife once this is all over. Boy do I hope that we get to realize this dream.

The most immediate thing on my mind right now is that I want to know whether or not this thing is malignant. If it’s malignant, there’ll probably be all sorts of nasty cancer treatments that will knock me for six. If it’s benign though and I pray that it is, the main danger I’m guessing will be in how much damage my brain takes as they cut out the tumour. If all goes well, I’m pretty sure that I’ll come out of this OK. Right now though I’m really just looking forward to getting the tests done, and getting a date for some surgery and then getting that surgery done. I want this thing out of my head, and be in a position to see what life is going to look like afterwards.

I remember a few years ago when I had my gallbladder removed, I spent a little time at the beginning of Podcast #29, to talk about how lucky I felt to have my health, despite the fact that the surgery would stop me from fully enjoying my photography for a few weeks.

Now though, I’m faced with the possibility again, that this might all be torn away from me. I don’t know how high the risk is yet, but as I write this, I know that there is at least a small chance, that I might not make it through this, and would not be able to live out the life that I’ve worked so hard to make for myself.

Last year, I realized my dream of becoming a Japanese citizen, and then leaving my day job, and starting my own photography business. I ended last year by achieving another goal which was holding an exhibition of my work here in Tokyo. This year I’ve gotten off to a great start, with a wonderful Snow Monkey and Hokkaido Photography Tour and Workshop, and followed that with an amazing Photography Expedition to Antarctica, the Falklands and Patagonia. My Portraiture and commercial work is also picking up, and plans for additional tours and other marketing activities are currently in full flow. I’ve never felt so confident that things are going to get really, really well, as I do right now.

But, it’s all up in the air now, until I can get rid of this tumour and get back to full health. I believe that barring some totally unfortunate human error, I’m going to get through this, and really just want to get started, and get the pain that I’ll certainly face from the surgery out of the way, and get to a point where I know I’m going to be alright.

There is still so much that I want to do with my life, and that I want to do for others, and I hope and pray that this will not be taken from me yet. After all, I still have a whole bunch of photographic masterpieces to make too!

Stay tuned, and I’ll keep you updated as I learn more about the tumours and the procedures we face to get rid of it. Also stay tuned for those yet uncreated masterpieces. I will be making them, hopefully in this life.

In the meantime, you all stay healthy too. This whole thing really has once again reminded me of the frailty of our existence, and the transient nature of our time here. Let’s make the most of every day we are blessed with.

Me Having Big Fun!

Me Having Big Fun!

I’m going to go ahead and post this today, as I talked about the tumour with Ibarionex in the Podcast I released earlier today, and I don’t want people to worry about me too much. I might find myself blubbering every so often, but in general I’m optimistic, and steaming towards beating this thing, with my usual energy and passion. If I get a chance to do so, I might record this as a Podcast for release in the coming days too, but that will depend on the timing of any additional tests or anything that might come up.

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  1. Brian Lottis

    Wow, what scary news. Thanks so much for sharing this with us. And believe me when I say there are many people wishing and hoping for a speedy recovery.

  2. Martin Bailey

    Thanks Brian, and no problem on the sharing. It’s not like me to keep stuff hidden away. I feel more comfortable with everything hanging out for people to see. 🙂

    It is scary, but I do believe that you and many others are rooting for me, and this gives me strength. Thank you!!

  3. Doug Chinnery

    Hi Martin
    You confided in me about this yesterday and I will reply to your email shortly but have just read this account and wanted to respond. I have never been really ill and so can’t imagine exactly how you and your wife must be feeling right now. However, I can try, and it must be a very difficult time for you both. I am confident your bright outlook and optimism along with the treatment of skilled doctors will get you through this. I am sure you will soon be flooded with messages from your fans and podcast listeners who will support you greatly as you beat this thing. As is so often the case, friends feel a bit helpless at times like this, especially when so far away but please be assured of our thoughts, prayers and best wishes for you and your wife. I am sure those masterpieces will get made over a long and fulfilling life and you will get to visit the Savannah together many, many times
    Your friend
    Doug Chinnery

  4. sivasubbarayan

    Dear Martin,
    From what I know personally, you are blessed with optimism, confidence and great courage. God definitely will wrap his arms around you the strength and love you need at this time. My thoughts and prayers goes to you and your family.

    Take Care,

  5. Kris

    OMG. Shocking news. I know from my cancer experience last year that nothing a stranger (or even a non-stranger) can say will console you or make any difference, but I’m pulling for you. Stay on top of the docs, let out your emotions and think positively…that’s about all I can say. It’s a devastating process at times, but one that is full of hope and medical advances that I can’t imagine going through this without. Good luck, Martin!

  6. Neil Alexander

    That’s simply awful.
    Wishing you a speedy recovery and you both all the strength you need to cope with this.
    Stay strong and keep making delightful imagery.

  7. Joshua Targownik

    I’m pulling for you too Martin, all the way from California. You may not know it but you helped me break away from my day job over four years ago. I listened to almost a hundred of your podcasts in a row, day after day, with headphones on at my cubicle. Inspired, I left my engineering job and have been a freelancer (and doing well) ever since. Thanks for sharing what you know !nd what you do with you ever present calm voice.

  8. Ray Medina

    Dear Martin,

    Although we don’t know each other personally, you have been a friend and an excellent mentor to my photography. This is a really shocking news to hear that you have a tumor somewhere in your head. Your passion for photography is unmatched by many.

    I hope this things blows out quickly and that you can continue living life to the fullest as you have been as of now. I continue looking forward to your podcasts, blog and gallery and also to the day that I can actually come up to one of your workshops and meet you in person.

    Thanks for sharing this with us – Know that we are here for you as well!

    Our prayers are with you and your family!

  9. Martin Bailey

    Wow! Thanks for the beautiful and heartfelt comments all! You’re such great friends. Your words will help me to get through this. I treasure each one.

    Really, thank you all so much!


  10. Martin Bailey

    Whoops! Just caught Joshua and Rays comments too.

    Joshua, I’m pleased to have helped you make that transition.

    Ray, the only reason it isn’t personal is because we have met in person. Otherwise, you’re a great friend, and I look forward to meeting you in the future soon. Thanks for the kind words and well wishes, I really appreciate it, from you and all above. You rock!


  11. Martin Hickman

    Hi Martin

    Hope everything works out over the comming weeks. I heard you was comming over to the UK and might even be visiting my neck of the woods. I hope this is still a posibility – even if postponed a while.

    Best regards

  12. Larry Golfer

    I’m just one of many who admire you and your work and listen to your podcasts, and I pray for your recovery and wish you the best. You’ve always been an inspiration to me. Whether if be your photographic art, your photographic techniques, or your life in general as you have shared it, you have demonstrated an admirable life to your followers and friends, and I hope you can continue. I have to say, over the years I have listened to you, I always find your voice and manner to be so calming, can I say even meditative, in a Buddhist master kind of way, and many times I listen to you and enjoy how you say what you say to escape from the frenetic pace of life. Again, I hope all turns out well. Larry Golfer

  13. John Cliffe

    Hi Martin.

    Bad news indeed. I know the feeling well as I was diagnosed with malignant Prostate cancer in 2002. But with the same spirit that you are exhibiting, we hit it full bore with chemo and radiation and now I am good.
    From a Doncaster lad to a Sheffield lad keep that positive spirit. You will pull through this. I see so many, on my hospital check-up visits, that have given up mentally and are going down.
    You have many more amazing photographic masterpieces to yet create. Fight for them!
    My prayers are for you and your wife.

  14. Jwahar

    Hi Martin,
    Thanks for sharing this with your listeners and admirers. I am sure they all join me in wishing you the very best. As the old phase goes: Keep the Chin Up and be optimistic,
    Jwahar Bammi

  15. Richard Olpin

    Oh wow Martin, that really is some shocking news for you and I’m sure it’s all very scary stuff at the moment but thanks so much for sharing this with us. I really hope you’ll take some comfort in knowing that we’re all thinking of you and sending some positive vibes to you at this difficult time.

    Karma’s definitely on your side. You’ve given so much and been a great inspiration to others over the past few years that you’re quite clearly due a HUGE payback in good fortune yourself and I’m sure that’s ready to pay out to see you enjoy a very speedy recovery in no time at all..

    Hang in there buddy, the medical types are bloody brilliant these days and I’m sure they’ll do whatever is needed to see you sorted.

    Very best wishes from back here in blighty..


  16. Jack Andrys


    I couldn’t believe what I was reading and I think you are wonderfully brave to share it with us, I hope you take some comfort knowing that we are all wishing and praying for the best result for you.

    Our love and best wishes, Julia and Jack

  17. Helen Hooker


    I’m so shocked and saddened to hear your news – I can’t imagine how much of a shock it must have been for you and your wife. I’m sending you all the positive thoughts I can. I hope the treatment isn’t too arduous and that you are back to full health as soon as possible. We’re all looking forward to seeing your future masterpieces so please keep up that fighting spirit!

  18. Roy Booth

    Martin you’ve given so much to so many of us so far your time your knowledge your passion. Let’s hope God adds all that up and gives you something back namely your health.

  19. Dyer Lytle

    Martin, I’m sure you will make a full and complete recovery from this. I have listened to and enjoyed your podcasts for a while now. You rock.


  20. Antonio

    I wish you a quick and healthy recovery.
    I will pray for you.

    Best wishes from Spain.

  21. David Kelly

    Martin, I’m very shocked to read this news. I wish you all the very best for tomorrow and the forthcoming months of treatment.

  22. Brian Herman


    I am so hopeful that everything works out for you and that this becomes an event to help you appreciate all that you have as well as push forward for all that you want.

    Know that there are so many you have connected with and that all of us are pulling for you.

    All my fondest regards,


  23. Alistair Knock


    A shock for us all – our best wishes for successful and speedy recovery. You are quite right about the transience and the importance of making every day count. Never forget how much you’ve already accomplished, and what you’ve shared – tomorrow is a promise, but today is real.


  24. Stefan Aberg


    I know you’re going through a really rough time right now, your thoughts must be all over the place. I went through exactly the same thing six months ago and it was the roller coaster of my life. Just like you I decided to go public with it from the very beginning and let all my friends and family be part of my journey. Luckily I’m all well now, and I pray for you and your wife that you will come out of it stronger than ever.

    Best wishes from Stefan in Orlando

  25. Dirk

    Since English is not my mother language, I find it hard to express how I feel when reading your blog post. I’m shocked, and believe me, that is an understatement. It is unbelievable that this ‘thing’ could grow in your head, without you even noticing it, up until now.
    I sincerely hope the MRI scan will bring good news and that the doctors can cut it out without collateral damage, so you get many chances to view sunrise over the Savannah with your wife.
    Take care my friend, my prayers are for you and your wife.

  26. Heather

    Martin, I just want to give you my best wishes at this tough time for you. I believe you have the temperament and resilience to come through this smiling. As you say at the end of your post, you are going to fight it. So often I’ve heard of people diagnosed with similar illnesses, and they’ve overcome it by remaining positive and not letting the tumour win. If anyone can pull through such things, it’s you. You also know you have many, many followers and friends around the world rooting for you. Take care, and good luck!

  27. Joseph

    Martin, absolutely the best of wishes from me in London. Some times will be tougher than others, but never forget that you have friends around the world who you have not yet even met who are praying for you.

    Here is to a speedy and full recovery!

  28. Juergen

    Dear Martin,

    prayers and all the best wishes go out to you. Think as positive as you can albeit it might be hard at times. I wish you all the best and a very very speedy recovery.

    Cheers Juergen

  29. Paul Henman

    Best wishes from another ex-pat; hopefully they can take care of it pretty quickly but in the meantime stay positive – we’re thinking of you.

  30. Kavey

    I’m so sorry, that must have been a dreadful shock and this must be a difficult time. From the highs of Antarctica, South Georgia, Falklands, which I adore and are one of the world most amazing wonders, to such difficult news.

    I shall hope the news is good and that you will be fine. I remember hearing similar news about a very dear friend, he was in his twenties, it was an enormous tumour and they chose to operate to remove it within days of discovery. To our relief, he made a complete recovery, which felt like a miracle, even to those of us who didn’t believe in such things.

    I hope you have a similarly positive outcome.

    Thinking of you,
    from a stranger, who doesn’t know you, but is a friend of a friend, and who wants to lend support

  31. Quintin McGrath


    You will be in my thoughts and prayers. You are amazingly courageous – all strength to you!

    … Quintin

  32. Holly Sisson


    My thoughts are with you, hope everything goes well tomorrow and with the upcoming treatment.


  33. David Burren

    Shocking news Martin!
    And there we were on the ship thinking it might have been the maté…

    I think cancer scares (not me, but family and friends) years ago are part of what got me away from an office job and doing creative work. You got a big head-start on me in that respect.

    I’m glad to know you’re making quick progress on diagnosis and treatment. Our best wishes to you both from Down Under!
    Chat soon.

  34. Landon

    Wow mate, my prayers are with you and yours.

    I know several people that have survived this very thing and have had not ill effects from it so hope for complete knowledge by the medical staff and a successful operation and leave all your good bits behind for the world to enjoy.

    Hang in there and keep us posted.


  35. Kwanghui

    Martin – I have long been a fan and listener of your podcast. Just want to wish you the very best and hope it is benign and that you will recover quickly. Take care, stay your usual positive self, and take care!

  36. Carson McComas

    Martin, you’ve been a wonderful part of my life, and a guide in something I love dearly. You’ll have my prayers, and hopes for a complete recovery and the ability to continue to change the world in your wonderful way.

    Behind you all the way,

  37. Martin Bailey

    Holy crap!! Look at you all! This is amazing. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate all of these comments, and all of your kindness, friendship and support.

    I’ve read every comment and will cherish every word. You’re all already making me stronger and giving me even more confidence that I can beat this thing. There are a few to comments to reply in detail to every one, but here goes with some quick replies.

    Martin Hickman: My plans to visit the UK are still live, and although I was almost ready to release details, I’ll hold onto this until I’m out of the woods with this tumour. Stay tuned after that.

    Grasshopper… Doh! I mean Larry, I’ve been told that before. It surprises me, but also pleases me that I’m able to have that kind of effect on some people. Thanks for your kindness and well wishes. I hope we get to meet some day.

    John Cliffe: Thanks for that. It’s great that you got over your cancer. I still have my fingers tightly crossed that this is not malignant, but if it is, I’ll have to fight even harder, but will beat it. Those masterpieces will be made, one way or another. Thanks for your support!

    Thanks to Jwahar and Richard for your good vibes. I really can feel this stuff coming in this morning. If this keeps up, I’ll be able to fix this thing myself with mental powers! 🙂

    Richard, I am confident in the doctors and technology we have here in Japan. I really can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather be to have this treatment than Tokyo. Being here is a lucky break in itself.

    Julia and Jack: Your thoughts and support are so very much appreciated, and always have been. I love you guys.

    Helen, Roy, Dyer, Antonio, David, Brian and Alistair – Thank you! Your words are diamonds, each and every one of them.

    Stefan Aberg: Wow! Hearing from someone that has gone through the same thing, and such a short time ago, gives me so much strength it’s unbelievable. It’s great to hear that you are now fully recovered, and that you did it in the same way as I am, openly. I don’t know how to keep stuff locked away, and my wife doesn’t always understand at first, but this is me, and she is great at letting me be me.

    Dirk, your English is better than mine! No worries there, I assure you. It is quite difficult to believe that this thing was able to get so big. Looking back, there have been signs, such as my sense of smell diminishing over the year. Even the eye problems that I experienced a few months ago could be related to this, but nothing happened that causes us to do a CT scan of my brain until now. Still, we’re on its case now, and I will beat this. Your words will help me. Thank you!

    Heather, thanks for your confidence in me. I won’t let you down.

    Joseph, Juergen, Paul, Quintin and Holly: Thanks so much for your thoughts!

    Kavey, that is an amazing story. It gives me courage and strength. Thanks for taking the time to write it down here.

    David Burren: I know! It was weird trying to think of the possibilities, but in a strange way, I’m actually relieved now, at least to know what the cause is, even though we don’t have a very good view of the enemy yet. My first thought about the job change was that it would have been nice to have had this treatment while still in a comfy job, but the upside is that I don’t have to depend on people to cover for me this way, and I never really liked having to do that. My stress levels have certainly been down since leaving my old job last year, so that’s certainly going to help me to cope with this. Thanks for your thoughts David! Chat soon.

    Landon, thanks for your thoughts and support! It’s good to gather these stories of people surviving this procedure. It really does give me strength. Thanks!

    Kwanghui, that’s my most immediate hope too, that it’s benign. If it is, I think the battle will be so much easier. Thanks for listening to the Podcast, and please do stay tuned for updates. I’m hoping they’re going to be positive.

    Carson, thanks so much! The thought that I might be changing the world in any small way is so humbling, and if I really am, I’m so happy about that. I will beat this, and continue to do so.

    Finally, one last big THANK YOU, again, to each and every one of you. You guys ROCK!


  38. Daniel Elswit

    Hi Martin,
    You don’t know me, and I live halfway ’round the world, but you have been a terrific inspiration to me through your photography, your web site, your podcast, your wonderful creativity, your optimism, and your hard work and courage to turn something you love into your career. I just wanted to let you know that I’ll be thinking of you in coming days, hoping for good news and wishing you all the best.

    Take care,

  39. Jon Sheer

    Hey mate,

    Good to talk to you on the phone earlier–good luck with the tests, I got all my fingers and toes crossed!!!


  40. Sayaka Shudo

    Please take care and ganbatte! I enjoy your podcast very much!!!

  41. Rick Phenicie

    Martin – I don’t really know what to say that hasn’t been said already. My best wishes for you and your wife. Prayers coming your direction! God Bless and get better….

  42. Manuel Fuentes

    Looking forward to see those masterpieces to come. Take care. I wish you all the best.

  43. Martin Bailey

    Thanks Daniel! I don’t need to know you personally to really appreciate those kind words. 🙂

    Jon, it was nice to talk with you too mate. Thanks for crossing those fingers and toes!

    Sayaka, thank you too! I will be ganbatteru! 🙂 Thanks for listening to the Podcast too!

    Rick, you said everything I needed to hear right there. You’re the man Rick! Thanks!

    Manuel, I hope I won’t keep you waiting too long. 🙂

    Cheers all!


  44. Albert Palmer

    I’m awfully sorry to hear about this Martin. I’m lost for words and slightly shocked. I’ll be thinking of you.

  45. Martin Bailey

    Al, just what you wrote above relays your feelings perfectly. Thanks mate!

  46. Justin

    Martin, I am sure you will overcome this. A believe a positive frame of mind and a unceasing belief that you will beat this can and will work wonders. I’ve enjoyed your blog and photos for a while now and look forward to many, many more years to come. As an amateur photographer here in Tokyo I’ve enjoyed seeing your transition from office work to independence and wish you a quick recovery from this temporary distraction. Justin

  47. Martin Bailey

    Thanks Justin, for following my progress and work, and thanks for the kind words and encouragement too. I really appreciate it.


  48. Omar

    Martin, know that so many of us are right with you each step of the way on your recovery. The unknown is scary but hope is stronger. Thinking about you pal.


  49. Andy Garcia

    My prayers are with you Martin. Have faith my friend, you will get through this!!!

    Andy Garcia
    Miramar, FL

  50. Susan Menis

    hi Martin,
    Having become familiar with your voice for ages now, you are like a family friend.
    I shall gladly join all the other in praying for you and your wife as you go through this.
    Best wishes, Susan.

  51. Martin Bailey

    Thanks Susan! Your prayers and encouragement are so very much appreciated.


  52. Terry Maltman

    Good luck mate. I rode the cancer roller coaster with my wife and know about the hugging and crying. She beat the cancer BTW. I am are you will too.
    Terry (one of the TFTTF crowd)

  53. Tish

    Oh! What shocking news. I am yet another listener who has been blessed by your generosity. Your calm voice has been a highlight after a stressful day. Even though we have never met, I am thankful for sharing your photographic journey. Wishing you all the love and support. I’m keeping my fingers and toes crossed hoping the tumor is benign.

    Positive energy coming your way …

    Oh and I LOVE the photo of you having Big Fun 🙂


  54. Mauricio Puente

    Hello Martin,

    I have been listening to your podcast since I returned to photography after a break during a transition from film to digital. In this new world we form relationships even if we only listen to a a persons podcast.

    From many personal experiences I share with you that the most important asset right now for you is to gather all your inner strength and fight. It is OK to cry, It is OK to find comfort in those closest to you. Know that there will pain and discomfort but it will all pass.

    Decide that you will win this challenge and you will. You will feel sad and that is OK but come out fighting. Always come out on the otherside with courage and determination. You have a lot to give and a a lot to gain. Your are correct life is special.

    Live each day and every minute with your new awareness and you will open a door to a new life full of enjoyment for all those small things you used to take for granted.

    My warmest wishes for your recovery.


  55. Jon M

    Wow, I really should have looked up what transcience meant before I clicked the link because I wasn’t expecting this. Best wishes in everything that you’re going through and for a speedy recovery.

    God Bless
    – Jon

  56. Pieter Mantel

    All of these posts so clearly show that you’re doing so many good and beloved things for the community you built. How unfair that you now have to face this. I do hope from the bottom of my heart that you will make a fast and full recovery. I trust in a little while you’ll be out and about, shooting your masterpieces and appreciating the beauty of life better than ever before. Best wishes. Pieter

  57. Martin Bailey


    Glad to hear your wife made it through. Thanks for your support!


    Thanks for our support too! I like that photo too. I only had the dark photo of the Neurosurgery sign and my CT scan photo, and the post looked too gloomy with just those! I’m not really that gloomy, so I figured I’d stick that one in there for balance. 🙂


    I totally agree. I will be fighting, and I’m OK with the crying too. 🙂

    I actually have already been through quite a lot, though not this serious, and I do appreciate everything around me already. But boy, do things look more beautiful now. Just the thought that they might be taken away gives everything a totally different light. After this is over, I’ll be a different person again, for sure.

    Sorry for that Jon M! I hope it wasn’t too much of a shock, though I know it’s a shocking thing to take in. Thanks for your encouragement!

    Pieter, I’m blessed for sure, to receive so many comments from so many kind and wonderful people, including yourself of course. Thank you!


  58. Alex Racanelli

    While listening to the podcast with Ibarionex I was shocked when the words “brain tumor” came out of your mouth. I felt your sadness and worry but more importantly also felt your unbelievable courage and bravery. You will overcome this “bump in the road”, and I will pray for your speedy recovery. You are an inspiration for me, in life and photographically. Your ability to give back and share this God given talent of image making is amazing. Wow! I can’t wait to see the images you will create after this has passed. Your meaning of life will be different and heightened and seeing how that transpires to your images will be interesting and heart-felt I’m sure. God Bless you Martin.
    – Alex

  59. Martin Bailey

    Sorry for the shock Alex! I deliberated as to whether to do it differently, but I was going to tell everyone anyway…

    Thanks so much for your kind words and encouragement. I will get through this, and I think I’ll see differently afterwards too.

    It’s always so humbling for me to hear that I am an inspiration for others, but it makes me so happy to have been able to do what I’ve done so far, and long to be able to continue to do so.

    Thanks for your prayers Alex!

  60. John Stewart

    I have just read of this via the Facebook link, and am absolutely shocked. Have yet to listen to the latest podcast, but will do so later or tomorrow. Thinking of you and what you are going through. In New Zealand we have a Maori saying that translates to “forever strong. Martin – “Kia Kaha”

  61. Glenn Guy

    Hi Martin,

    I was talking with David Burren about photography-related things and I mentioned how impressed I was with your website (look and content) and podcasts. I told him that since starting correspondence with you late last year how impressed I was and how you seemed like a really nice guy. I know I was right, and of course David agreed, which makes this news all the more shocking.

    What’s important is that you’ve acted: you’ve sort both diagnosis and treatment. You’re doing all you can to achieve a positive outcome. My thoughts and prayers to you and your wife during this time of uncertainty. Surviving the trials that await can only make you stronger and more centred. Just imagine the level to which this journey will elevate your photography, your creativity and your enjoyment of life.

    Oh, and by the way, I mentioned last year that I’d love to co-run a tour with you. You responded positively. Assuming you weren’t just being polite, it would appear we have unfinished business, you and I.

    I’m a patient lad, take your time with your recovery and, when you’re back in the saddle, pursuing the world of opportunities that will await you, I hope we’ll get to meet and, maybe, work together.

    In the meantime I’II continue to follow your excellent blog and podcasts and pray for a speedy and complete recovery.

    All the best,

    Glenn Guy

  62. Mari

    Life is indeed precious and fragile. You’ve been brave and I wish you continued strength in this battle. I am keeping you and your wife in my daily prayers Martin.

    God bless.

  63. t.linn

    Hi Martin,

    I’m very sorry to read this news. In the last ten years, cancer has touched so many people in my life. It never seems right or fair. But as pervasive as it seems to have become, the treatments for it are only getting better and better. It is good that you were able to identify the cause of your symptoms so quickly; and I think your positive attitude and sense of determination will serve you well regardless of how events unfold from here.

    I have to confess that one of the first thoughts I had as I read your news is to wonder what this meant for you in terms of access to health care. In the U.S., healthcare is such a mess. I’m hoping you have both good medical facilities and good insurance. Does Japan have a national healthcare system or do you use a private healthcare system where each person pays for coverage (or receives it through their employer)?

    The volume and tone of the comments that have appeared here are indicative of the affection and admiration your friends and listeners feel toward you, Martin. I hope that they lift you up and encourage you as you move forward with this fight. You and your wife are certainly in my prayers.


  64. Stefan Aberg


    Me here again, Stefan in Orlando. It really makes me feel good to read all the comment in this post, both from all your fans/friends and yourself. I’m really impressed with your strength. As for being public about it I think it’s a great thing, at least it was for me. I didn’t have to repeat the same story over and over to everyone because they already know the details from my posts, and there were no awkward moments from people that didn’t know what to say and what to do because I made it very clear in my posts that anyone could just approach me in any way that they wanted. Ask question, or just go on like nothing happened… My wife didn’t really agree/understand me either in the beginning, but as time went on and I had my down days she was the one who kept everyone updated and I think it helped her as well. In many ways I think it is tougher for the loved ones, at least I felt like that. My biggest fear was to leave my wife alone with our three children… Today I feel better that ever, even if I still have the tumor in my head. A three inch lump sitting there doing no good (except as an excuse for being absent minded). The doctors decided that since it is benign and doesn’t appear to grow, the risk of the surgery was bigger than keeping it, so as long as I’m not having any severe side effects from it I guess it will stay where it is. In a way I feel lucky to have gone through this. I don’t think that I have ever been so grateful and appreciative of life as I am now, all the simple everyday things in life that you normally take for granted feels like a blessing now. I’m sure that there are moments for you right now when you feel the same thing, like hugging your wife and feel the warmth of having someone that really loves and cares for you…

    Again, I wish you all the best and please don’t hesitate to contact me if you feel like exchanging thoughts… (I really mean it). Keep being strong and positive and remember that there are a lot of us out there who are keeping you in our thoughts and prayers.


  65. Martin Bailey

    John Stewart: Thanks so much John – Kia Kaha indeed!!

    Glenn: Although politeness is important to me, I’m never just polite. I’d love to work with you at some point, and I know that we will get a chance to work together before too long.

    I’ve been through a lot to get to this point, and always felt that I had a heightened appreciation for the things around me already, but you’re right. This thing will take it to another level, I’m sure. Right now, I just can’t wait to wake up after the op, and wiggle my fingers and toes, and then just spend the rest of the time necessary to get fully better.

    Thanks for your message!

    Mari: Thank you!

    Tim: Thank you too! Yes, these comments have lifted me up so much, it’s unbelievable. I’m so very, very grateful, and humbled, to have received so much healing mojo and good wishes here.

    On the insurance, yes, Japan has a national health system, and I’m paying my dues, so am taking advantage of that. I still have to pay 20-30% for all treatment myself, but when the total for treatment goes over ¥150,000, you basically get it all back, so financially, this shouldn’t cost me a lot of money, apart from lost revenue while I can’t work. I unfortunately had not yet taken out a second kind of insurance here, where they pay you a hundred dollars or so a day when you are hospitalized. That would have helped, but I didn’t have my ducks in a row there.

    Stefan: My wife is now coming to understand that my decision to go public with this straight away was a good one. The sheer volume of love coming in is uplifting, and stories such as yours also help me to put all of this into perspective.

    My biggest concern is the thought of leaving my wife alone. We have been through a lot to be together, and I have promised her a number of times that we’ll be together until we’re both old and gray. The thought that I may not be able to fulfil that promise is just horrible. It has us both crying more than anything else. I need to be here for her, and I intend to be.

    Thanks again for all of your comments! Each one really does mean a lot to me.


  66. Chrisdmrf

    I’m stunned, not by the bad news but by the way you are dealing with it, inspirational is a word I may use too often when describing a great photograph, but you are truly inspirational with your attitude to this tumour.
    Best wishes

  67. Rex Lisman

    So sorry to hear about your situation. Stay positive, I think you have the odds in your favor.

  68. David Lee

    Martin, I just read the blog post last night in bed. Just able to mumble a reply now. I am amazed at your balanced and thoughtful state of mind. This in itself is a good sign. Certainly looks like good reason to be optimistic and I never doubt your resolve. I hope the tests and procedures go as well as they can. My wife says to say she is thinking of you as well.

    It’s shocking when these things happen to good-hearted and generous folks like you. You enrich and inspire our lives almost every week. Now you need to take the time for yourself. We understand and will all be here rooting for you.

    Let me know if there is any ongoing technical work or other tasks which I can cover for you from afar while you work though this.

    Very sincerely,
    David Lee

  69. Scott Anderson

    You’re an inspiration, and I admire greatly your transparency and confidence with overcoming this speed “bump.” Just think, very soon this tumor will be gone/removed and will become a distant memory. Until then, stay focussed on one day at a time, combined with your positive thinking and manifesting of good health. I’ll be sending good healthy vibes and prayers your way. And, let us know if there is anything that all of us among your community can do to help along the way.

  70. Martin Bailey

    Chrisdmrf and Rex Lisman: Thanks Chris! I said to someone recently that if anything, I’m terminally optimistic! I have my moments, when this whole thing scares the living daylights out of me, but in general, I’m very optimistic, and truly believe I’ll get through this, and come out the other side even stronger.

    David Lee: Thanks David! Your faith in me in itself gives me even more strength. Thanks Mate! I might just drop you a line on helping with the technical stuff. Thanks for that too!

    Scott Anderson: Thanks Scott! I really appreciate this, and can’t say enough, that I really treasure these comments. You along with everyone else are keeping me strong.


  71. Leslie Granda-Hill

    Dear Martin-
    I am so sorry to hear the news. I wish you the best of luck in treating this. I am sure you will be up and shooting very soon. We look forward to seeing many more beautiful images from you. In the meantime I have your snow monkeys hanging in my dining room- every time I look at them I will be sending my wishes for you to have a speedy and full recovery.
    -Leslie Granda-Hill

  72. Fabian Pape


    On my long weekend in Usedom, the island on the Northeastern tip of Germany, I listened to your last two podcast shows, and I heard about the problem in your head. I really hope it turns into just a nightmare that will come to a good end, and my heart tells me with certainty that this will be the case.

    I admire the serenity with which you put together the last two shows, and the picture you uploaded to your blogpost. The fact that you not only looked for photography opportunities in such a stressful situation, but made a compelling picture and had the peace of mind to convert it to black and white and upload it not only proves that you are a brave photographer. The picture also illustrates well the life situation in which you are right now. It is dark but it also shows the light behind the scaring words.

    My thoughts and best wishes are with you.

    All the best,


  73. Stefan Mahs

    Martin, I just want to say how shocked and saddened I was to hear of your ailment!! I wish you & your wife strength and peace of mind during the coming months. Get well soon. You and your podcast is an inspiration to us all. I look forward to hearing a lot more from MBP.

    Best wishes,

  74. Dr.J.Dufton

    Dear Martin,
    The news of your diagnosis sent a cold shudder through me.
    I wish you the best of luck with your treatment, which I assume will be second to none in Japan.
    If is of any help to you, I have been through 1 near death experience with heart disease. Just as I felt back to normal, I developed a bowel blockage from cancer. The outlook didn’t seem to be very good, but to our surprise the cancer was completely removable surgically.
    This has taught me to believe that hope does spring eternal.
    Best wishes,
    John Dufton

  75. Dr.J.Dufton

    Dear Martin,
    The news of your diagnosis sent a cold shudder through me.
    I wish you the best of luck with your treatment, which I assume will be second to none in Japan.
    If is of any help to you, I have been through 1 near death experience with heart disease. Then just as I felt back to normal, I developed a bowel blockage from cancer. The outlook didn’t seem to be very good, but to our surprise the cancer was completely removable surgically.
    This has taught me to believe that hope does spring eternal.
    Best wishes,
    John Dufton

  76. Carl Stammerjohn

    So sorry to hear about your situation. It must be very frightening. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your wife.

    Thanks so much for all you’ve done for the photography community. You’ve had a great impact on my photography; I sincerely hope you can overcome this.

    Best regards

  77. Hans Kruse

    Hi Martin,

    I have followed your podcasts since the beginning and always admired your dedication and sheer will to move forward with your passion.

    I wish you luck and my stomach feeling is that you will make it and come out stronger and more creative than ever!

    Best regards,
    Hans Kruse

  78. Murray Foote

    Hello Martin

    Wow, that’s disturbing news. I remember you talking about the episodes on the ship. Your calm and positive attitude will get you a long way, though. I hope everything goes as well for you as it possibly can.


  79. Elis Alves

    Hello Martin,

    I’m so sorry about what is happening to you. I heard your interview with David DuChemin today and heard about your brain tumor. Then later today I came across a very interesting video talking about a non-aggressive type of treatment and thought of sending it to you. Here is the link. http://www.burzynskimovie.com/
    It’s really worth watching. Will keep you in my prayers!

  80. geert

    Martin, I am sorry to hear this! I wish you all the best, and hang in there, you hear?! Geert (gjographic)

  81. Ross M

    Saddened by your news, heartened by your attitude. If good wishes can help you have mine! All the best mate, I look forward to hearing your pommy accent on my ipod for many years to come (and one day to see Stellar Sea Eagles with you as well)

  82. Mark Jenkins

    Hi Martin,
    I am very sad to hear about what is happening. I found this to be a very moving blog.

    I hope that every thing goes well for you and that you get to see that Savannah!

    Good luck old chap…

    All the best,


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