When then 17-year-old Michael Tatalovich was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer in 2013, he decided that he would share this journey with the world. Using Instagram, the High Schooler and photographer documented every step of his grueling ordeal in photos that show the reality of life with Cancer: both the good days and the bad.
Tatalovich’s story began in Spring of 2013 when, after a series of misdiagnoses of the hip pain he had been experiencing, he broke the neck of his femur during a photo shoot.
This earned him a stay at the hospital and several days of testing that ultimately revealed he had stage 1 Ewing’s Sarcoma — a rare form of bone cancer often affecting adolescents.
The moment he received his diagnosis, he tells The Las Vegas Review-Journal, “didn’t register with me, but at the same time, there were tears streaming down my face and my parents’ faces.” This was also the moment when he began taking pictures during his hospital stays.
At first it was just a way to keep friends up to date on his condition, but as time went on, the photos took on a more important meaning. As he explains to the Review-Journal:
Once I had lost my hair and kind of was looking sicker already from the chemo, that’s when I said, “Hey, I don’t want this (disease) to control me. I don’t want to be embarrassed by what’s going on. I want to be empowered through it,” and I used Instagram for this.
The photos he posted during his fight with cancer — a fight that included months of chemo therapy and a partial-hip-replacement — range from fine art portraits, to chemo selfies, to triumphant messages like the one he posted on his final day of chemo…
Early stages of his treatment
In the hospital with Teddy
His chemo therapy lost him his hair
Undergoing more therapy. Still looking good at this stage
Michael’s hospital wristband
His surgery earned him a big scar. A real battle wound for our hero’s fight against cancer.
The surgery, followed by more chemo therapy wore Michael down. You can see that he is looking visibly weaker.
Michael’s frail body can be seen here.
Another photo showing the devastating toll of his fight against cancer.
Michael’s friends were always by his side to give him support.
Michael chilling out with his friends.
There is always room for some fun and photo play in any circumstance!
Michael with a furry friend
Finally! The last day of chemo!
Michael was able to beat cancer and now lives a normal life as a college student. While he no longer has to deal with the illness, paying the medical bills is still a huge struggle. You can help him out by donating to his Go Fund Me.