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The Final 39 Days: Devastating Photos of a Man’s Battle With Cancer (GRAPHIC CONTENT)

By Hanssie on February 4th 2014

Warning: This post contains GRAPHIC CONTENT. Images may be disturbing to some.

When the world around us is out of our control, and there is nothing else we can do, photographers usually pick up their camera, seeking solace in the familiar. Photography gives us a task, gives us a purpose and gives us a direction. The job of a photojournalist is even more so. Seeking out the to tell a comprehensive story in a handful of images, to relay the emotion of the moment, be it joyous, tension filled or heartbreaking, photojournalists are at the front lines documenting it all.

[REWIND: Photographer Documents Wife’s Battle With Cancer]

Ahmad Yusni is a photojournalist in Malaysia. He now works for the European Press Photo Agency and had been all over the world documenting major world events, such as the Olympics in Bejing, the World Cup, tsunami’s and protests. His most recent body of work, though, was the most difficult and the closest to home. In December, Yusni’s brother, Mohammad Sani, was diagnosed with a terminal ‘germ cell’ tumor. 

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A healthy Mohammad, in 2010

Cancer is one of those horrifying diseases that touches almost everyone in some way. You’d be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t know someone who has had cancer. More than one million people in the US alone, are diagnosed each year. It can affect the young and the old, and for Yusni’s brother, the terminal diagnosis came at just 33 years old. By the time they discovered the cancer, it had already blocked his kidneys and stomach. Germ cell tumors can grow rapidly, having lower than a 5 year survival rate. Mohammad quickly went through one course of chemotherapy, but his body was too weak to attempt another course.

Yusni began a photo diary, with the hopes of showing Mohammad smiling and healthy, back on the motorbike that he loved, but soon released that his brother would not survive. Yusni and his family had suffered subsequent losses in 2011, they lost his father and 2012, another brother. It would seem that 2013 would hold the same fate for Mohammad.

It was very heart-wrenching for me to see him struggle and not be able to help him. Two long nights watching him at the hospital made me cry,’ says Yusni.

Mohammad lost his battle with cancer just 39 days after diagnosis. He was in constant pain, even morphine did not help relieve any of the agony, as clearly seen in the following photos. “I lost hope that he would recover due to many complications. I found my prayers to God changing: ‘God, please stop his pain, even death is the only choice, I can’t stand to see his suffering anymore.'”

Despite his suffering, Mohammad stayed strong until the end, “Even through this long and painful battle, he said thank you to me and told me that he loved me,” Yusni shares. Mohammad ws laid to rest December 28th, 2013 and buried in the cemtery next to his father and brother.

Warning: The following photos contain GRAPHIC CONTENT. Images may be disturbing to some. 

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Many thanks to Ahmad Yusni for sharing his deeply personal photo diary with us. Please visit Yusni’s website to see his photography.

CREDITS: All photographs shared by Ahmad Yusni are copyrighted and have been used with permission for SLR Lounge. Do not copy, modify or re-post this article or images without express permission from SLR Lounge and the artist

[Via @Daily Mail]

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About

Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at www.hanssie.com. Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  2. Graham Curran

    My wife is a cancer survivor of nearly 12 years but I was with my aunt at the very end when she lost a battle with breast cancer. However, both were approaching about 60 when they were first diagnosed, to get a terminal diagnosis at 33 and lose the battle in less than 40 days is a great tragedy. Not every piece of photojournalism has a happy ending and art has a mission to make us think – hopefully this will encourage people to give to cancer research.

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  3. Devraj

    From my experience, people feel the pain more when they see others in pain.

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  4. Kishore Sawh

    I hate to admit it, but, i generally choose to avoid these sorts of reads. It’s so depressing. So moving. I can’t be alone in wanting to just not feel. I always say though in these scenarios, that though someone like Yusni’s case was horrific, and unfortunate, and any manner of words – it serves as the harshest reminder, and wake-up call to put things in perspective. That perspective can provoke change for a better life for other people. Thus Yusni, carries inherent nobility.

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    • Hanssie

      I agree. And I cannot even imagine losing three people, three consecutive years. Painful, but as you said, a very good, albeit sad, wake-up call.

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