Leave of absence…


So… I don’t think I’m necessarily interested in publicly chronicling what’s going on in my life right now, but I will be taking a leave of absence from the blog. Rather than just disappearing though, here’s the scoop.

Wednesday, February 19: I’d been dealing with a persistent cough that I just couldn’t seem to shake – cough medicine and a scheduled two-week follow up appointment. Concerned that I might be dealing with pneumonia, I went back to the doctor. Antibiotics were prescribed and an X-ray scheduled.

Thursday, February 20: X-Ray and home.

Monday, February 24: Met with Doctor to talk about X-ray and potential for pneumonia. Was referred to Pulmonary specialist for meeting on Wednesday, February 26.

Wednesday, February 26: The X-ray showed something in my lung that shouldn’t have been there. CT Scan and meeting with the pulmonary specialist revealed that I did indeed have pneumonia and… lung cancer. Brain MRI was immediately scheduled to see if it had spread that far : (

Friday, February 28: PET SCAN showed some not so good activity in lymph nodes in lung, just outside the lung near the diaphragm, in the area of the abdomen, and then also in the lower neck. Next step is a biopsy on Monday afternoon, and after that the doctors will be better able to develop a plan of attack. Good news: Brain MRI showed that it hadn’t spread there yet.

Monday, March 1: Woke up feeling pretty bad. Pain management team hadn’t yet been consulted, and my body was wracked with pain. I couldn’t stand up and nor could I lie down- everything in-between wasn’t so good either. And that familiar tickle turned into a wraspy cough that brought with it wicked headaches. I was scheduled for some more blood work for a Bronchoscopy where doctor sees inside of lungs and takes sample of tissue.

Tuesday, March 2: Not feeling good at all so checked into my local hospital. Stayed overnight.

Thursday, March 3: Checked into local bigger hospital which has greater capacity to handle Cancer.

Friday, March 3: Needed to have fluid removed from lung so I could lie still enough (without coughing) for Body Scan (to see progress – or lack of – spread of cancer). 20oz fluid removed from lungs – immediate relief felt. Pain management team went to work and have performed miracles. Can’t say enough about their work and the performance of my doctor/nurse caring teams – superb people I am forever indebted to.

Saturday, March 8: First dose of Chemotherapy

Sunday, March 9: Second dose of Chemotherapy

Early on I did a lot of thinking about how this could have happened. I never smoked a cigarette in my life, though both my parents smoked and I was exposed to significant second-hand smoke as a kid. I soon realized it would do me little good to dwell on the past, and since then, we’ve been moving forward trying to figure out what our next steps are.

Lori, Sam, Jack and I are facing this head on (what other way is there?). The good news is I’m looking thin and trim-ish, but the bad news is I’m paying somewhat for that look.

So that’s my story. I won’t be back on the blog for a little while until we get things squared away. I thought about turning comments off for this post – it’s not that I won’t appreciate your thoughts – but I’m just not so sure I will be able to respond to everyone. I’m leaving comments turned on but probably won’t get to them for a while… hope you understand. When I have more news, I’ll back in touch.

3-1-14 oliverlove

Oliver sharing some love: funny how he seems to know something’s up

119 thoughts on “Leave of absence…

  1. On any level this is terrible news, David. How it happened is water over the bridge. It can happen just sitting in traffic. The important thing is to put everything you have into beating the cancer back and recovering from that and the pneumonia. We’ll all miss your posts but would rather be sure there will be plenty in the future. Best of luck with the treatments and recovery.

  2. davidcollinsfoto

    Doug, as someone with both personal and professional experience try to remember that although the diagnosis is worse news than we hoped for, the future is always better than we fear. If positive thoughts can help you have mine from across the Ocean. David

  3. Jocelyne

    Oh no…. that makes me so sad to read this David. Your family and friends with you is the most important thing. To be surrounded by their love will help you fight and beat the cancer.
    I’m sending light and positive waves. I’m looking forward to have news from you here.

  4. David, I am so very sorry. My husband is a smoker–not me. But I have always worried about my exposure to second-hand smoke. Take care of you. Love and good karma to you.

  5. Dear David and Family,
    I am very sad to read this entry today. I feel I haven’t told you often enough how much your words and photos have brought smiles to my face. You obviously have a family that loves you very much and will be there for you every step of the way. My husband is a cancer researcher and is always hopeful regarding individualized treatment options — there are great people who will help you sort out how to best handle your exact situation. You are loved, appreciated, and have given so much. I’m looking forward to you posting regularly again.

    Much love and optimism being sent your way,
    Beth Buechler

  6. Oh, David, my very best wishes for a steady, strong recovery. It’s hard to comprehend how/why these things happen. We are rooting for you out here and look forward to your return!
    Good thoughts sent your way,
    X Karen

  7. Jill Calbi Bonasia

    Love you David, as Lori has kept me informed of what you are all going through, I just want to send you my Love and Prayers. You are an amazing person with an amazing loving family and we are all here for you. Sending good vibes your way always. Hang in there.. Love you, Jill xoxo ❤

  8. I am a new follower, enticed by your dear golden. Yes, I feel sure he knows something is up. Wishing you peace, and the deep love of Oliver. He looks to be a wonderful companion. Sheila

  9. Dave L.

    Thoughts and prayers to you as you go through treatment and recovery. Hope all goes as well as it can go. I will be looking forward to seeing your beautiful images reappear in my inbox in the future. (No need to respond.)

  10. Wow. Please know that I and many others will be praying for you, your family, and your recovery. Your photos are an inspiration. But, your transparency is even more amazing. Thanks for sharing and know that you are not walking this journey alone. May God work in even this difficult set of circumstances in your life.

  11. Please do not feel you need to reply to this, just know that you and your family are in my prayers. As are your doctors for guidance and good care of you.

    Thank you for sharing this story, I would have wondered what happened to my favorite photography blog if you hadn’t let us all know what’s happening.

    Best if everything! Prayers and hugs as we all appreciate those.

  12. Bill Franklin

    David I am so sorry to hear this. Just want you to know that we are praying for you. You don’t have to reply.

  13. Tom

    David, I didn’t realize it had been a little while since you had posted. I was busy, as we all are, until life intrudes with real priorities. The strange thing about second smoke is that now some researchers don’t believe it’s harmful at all and that the original research was simply biased towards smoking. What ever the case may be I hope and pray for the best for you and your family both two legged and four. Come back soon.

    • David Patterson

      “The strange thing about second smoke is that now some researchers don’t believe it’s harmful at all and that the original research was simply biased towards smoking.”

      Now that’s just plain silly.

      • Tom

        I know it flies against all common sense and everything we’ve been told for the last 30-40 years but, some supposedly real scientists supposedly not in the pay of the tobacco lobby are claiming the original studies were flawed and furthermore the scientific community has been aware that they were flawed all this time. Supposedly more then one recent study has claimed second hand smoke does not present a hazard. I repeated these claims hoping to make you feel better about your parents smoking. I know it doesn’t really matter now how the cancer started, but if it helps with your outlook perhaps it will help with the struggle ahead.

        • David Patterson

          Tom… I appreciate the sentiment behind sharing your thoughts about second-hand smoke, and that you are hopeful of providing me with a positive outlook. However, please don’t even think about trying to convince me there are no dangers from inhaling second hand smoke. When I was growing up people really didn’t seem to know any better, but any parent today who smokes in the car – or the same room – as their child… should be ashamed of themselves. I am not interested in discussing this any further.

  14. David, my thoughts and prayers go with you on your journey to take care of yourself and family. I just went through a loss of my husband it will be 2 years in May. I will miss your blogs and pictures. But your health is so much more important hang in there my friend and may God be with you on your journey. Kat

      • If you need to chat and don’t want to worry your wife because I know she will worry anyway. I want to give you my email and you can contact me and I will at least listen, I just went through all this will my husband I lost him will be 2 years in May 30 which is also my brother’s birthday.
        Carl had lung cancer caused my mesothelioma and it was so bad for him. I was his nurse until hospice came to help out then I was just his wife which at the end was the only thing I could handle. Again my thoughts and prayers go out to you, your family and friends too. Hang in there my friend. Kat

  15. I am lighting a candle for you asking Notre Dame de Laghet to watch over you. Her miracle church is on the Cote d”Azur and I go there every year. It’s an official miracle church. A little statue of her with a candle is my go-to every day. I am not that religious but her grace has gotten me and my family through many scares and difficult time. I believe in her with all of my heart and your name, or soubriquet from the blog, will be added to the others. I’ll just put Oliver’s Dad. And just as an aside……things have always ended on the positive side of whatever the issue. I discovered her through a French friend when at the time my granddaughter was very ill. Completely well now, issue corrected itself and she just turned 10. It would be very bad karma for me to tell you any of this if in fact it was not all true.
    All the best. eb

  16. hi david… what can i say… i was shocked to read this post of yours… anyhow as it just happens… erhard a none-smoker and dear friend of mine for over 35 years has had the same diagnoses, he has been under the knife some weeks ago, just come out of reha and is now facing chemo for the next few weeks… the point of the story – you asked no doubt… is that he is as good as new…
    so have positive thoughts and if you feel like reading about erhard…. check my Facebook page… https://www.facebook.com/jurgen.mak.3
    you are in my thoughts… sending positive thoughts your way… from across the water…

  17. So sorry to hear about your news David ,just got to know your blog today by seeing those beautiful pictures from Oliver,sending you healing vibes and positive thoughts for a full recovery…keep strong and have faith …lots of love from Belgium and hope to read you very soon …Chezy x

  18. I have chills and tears after reading this. Although I’m not a conventional believer all can think to say is may God take care of and help you. Don’y know where that came from.Peace, my blogging friend. Soldier on.

  19. I’ve thought of entering here “I’ve only just discovered your blog and photography, and I’ll be missing your updates”. Then I thought of entering “My thoughts are with you”. I thought of wishing you “All the best”. But the fact is, I really do not know what to write – do we ever know what to write at times like this? And yet all those things are true, strangely, paradoxically, and I don’t even know you. What’s happening to you (and your family) is, however, unfortunately, sadly familiar. Please fight it, don’t ever lose heart – that much I know: that you need to keep believing you’ll win and never give up. I’ll see you around, some time soon. Regards from distant England, Nina Light.

  20. lilybug1960

    David, when I met you at Otter Cliffs that day back in 2009, I knew I had immediately made a friend for life. Of course I am saddened at the news but I know that you have shown to me a will to do anything you have set your mind to do. It shows in your kids and in Oliver. I know in my heart that you will beat this and you will be out on those pebbles again creating the incredible images you do. I know I am a distance away but if there is anything I can do please don’t hesitate to ask. You will be in my thoughts and prayers each and every day.

  21. Vicki

    Sending Wishes for a comfortable and calm few weeks ahead – living with the big C is not easy – don’t let anyone fool you into thinking so.

    Don’t think about the past. Don’t think about the future. If you just concentrate on today, you’ll feel less stressed.

    Just concentrate on the breathe. Breathe in to the count of 4 (if you can) and breathe out slowly to the count of 7 (if you can). As you do so, imagine a block of chocolate on your crown, slowly melting and trickling down your body. This is my treatment for chronic and debilitating pain (especially during the night when I have to get out of bed when the ‘electric’ shock-like nerve pain hits really bad.

    I hope you find Peace & Healing very close (in the Future).

  22. David, you’ve become an inspiration to us for your photography and creativity and strong family values. I know that you will continue to inspire us with your positive attitude and tenacity to win. Thoughts and prayers will be with you daily my friend. Ed

  23. I’m glad you left comments on so you could see the outpouring of caring and healing thoughts for you, mine included. No rush to respond, just take care of yourself so you and Oliver can resume your happy walks together. Thank you for sharing what you did and we’ll look forward to having you back as a picture of health.

  24. Wow, I simply hate the C-word, and the fact that cancer has afflicted you. Thank you for sharing your timeline and condition / treatment regimen. As others have stated, I, too, will be praying for you. There are many remarkable stories of complete healing after suffering through this ordeal. Looking forward to your next post.

  25. David, I am glad you kept the comments on. You have a wonderful blog, and us readers have of course felt as if we’ve come to know you and your beautiful family through the years. Please accept my deepest condolences for the sudden and surprising news. Also, please accept my hopes, wishes and prayers for a straight path out of this time. I have an uncle who battled his way through to the other side of cancer. It wasn’t easy. And it took a long time. But he is one of the best men I know and I am happy to say that he is now in full remission. I wish I had more words of comfort, but please know we are thinking of you and wishing you well and ready to welcome you back whenever you decide to return to blogging. Even if it’s just an outlet for your thoughts, and you are not ready to return comments, you should always feel free to post. We are happy to read, to support, and to wish you well.

    • David Patterson

      Ah yes… the Golden Force – it is strong in my Oliver, that’s for sure, and I cannot believe Sasha’s babies are so grown up already.

  26. Oh, David, I was so very shocked and sad when I read this post, but I appreciate you letting your blog friends know. I hope that you feel the strength of so many people who have never met you but care for you so much because we “know” you through your beautiful photographs and your lovely stories. You and your family are in my thoughts.

  27. Robbie Krul

    Robbie Krul

    I just want you to know that I am praying for you Dave. You are strong and courageous and will overcome this. If there is anything that I can do for you or your family please let me know.

      • Julie Whitten

        Dave, I wanted to share a funny memory with you. Thanks to your excellent computer skills, you were able to digitally enhance a photo of Keith that was taken in Aruba. Do you remember? Thanks to you he earned the name Big Keith and lots of friends gave him the thumbs down sign. I still laugh when I think of that.

  28. Cynthia Curry

    I was hoping to find a message from you here. Just got word from Jeff (I was coaching him on what to say when you found out that I forgot to tell you that it was Girl Scout Cookie time). I’m sad that you and your family are going through this, David. Thank you for your willingness to share this personal information. Selfishly, it brings me comfort to hear from you. Your family, spirit, and outrageously cute dog will guide you back to health. Oh, in the meantime, I now get to tell you myself that my troop has a cookie booth sale on April 6th. I’d be happy to set some boxes aside for you.

    • David Patterson

      It’s not that I’m trying to get out of aging for the Girl Scout Cookies… I LOVE THOSE THINGS! Send me an email and I’ll send a cheque 🙂

  29. Joshua Shanley

    Hi David, Kristen and I have been thinking about you and Lori and Sam and Jack since we heard your news. Our thoughts are with you all. I am looking forward to discussing some of my latest ideas about ID and seeing your latest pictures of Oliver when we see you again. Stay strong, my friend.


  30. David, I am so sorry to read your story above.
    I’ve had some very good friends who both lived healthy – and got cancer anyway – at a young age. None of us can probably know us sure of what tomorrow might bring. We must be thankful and happy of every day we have in this life …..
    I hope with all my heart that you will soon come through your illness, and I send you many thoughts and my best wishes.

  31. Hi David,,
    I just found out today what is going on in your life. I want you to know my prayers and thoughts are with you and your family. I have followed you for a long time now,….I have to say, through your writings, photographs, your family, and Oliver, you have an absolutely wonderful and special home to be in!
    Get Well!

  32. Waggin' The Tale

    Oh no. I just discovered your wonderful blog. It’s stunning. The photos and the writing. I wish you all the best. Take very good care and BE WELL.

  33. Emily (#1 intern)

    David! I only just found out about this today. I miss working with you at MLTI and discussing education policy and stacking one million of your text books. Sending good vibes and hoping for relief and recovery for you!

  34. Kate Turpen

    Jeff told us about what had happened and directed us to your blog. I am SO SO sorry David, and I cannot even imagine what it’s like. You’re a strong individual and you’re surrounded by a lot of love. I wish you all the best and am keeping you in my thoughts.

  35. David, I understand that you have been dealing with this for more than a month. Want you to know that you are in my thoughts and sending the strongest of positive energy for you and your family. I know you are a fighter and will meet this challenge head-on. Ed

    • David Patterson

      Thanks Ed.I appreciate the encouraging words – we’re determined to meet things head on, and we truly appreciate the support.

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