Emotional love story of Angelika and Artur
Usually, we are particularly excited by romantic and unusual encounters between two people, but the emotional love story of Angelika and Artur touches us on a much deeper level.
We all know them as the well-rehearsed team of The Wedding Photographers and have admired their work for years. Their dear friend and colleague Tanja Kibogo recently visited the extraordinary couple at home after a dramatic stroke of fate and talked to them about hope, love and life.
With her incredibly sensitive, poignant and expressive photographs, Tanja Kibogo has captured the rollercoaster ride of Angelika and Artur’s emotions and now lets us share in their profound conversations.
Angelika, can you briefly tell us how you were diagnosed with a brain tumor or how you found out about it?
“Completely unexpectedly and without any headaches, visual disturbances or failures in the time before, I had two epileptic seizures in the afternoon in November. Then in the hospital (fortunately) a third one, that’s why a CT was done that same evening. The doctors quickly saw that something was growing in my brain. The next day they did some other tests and an MRI to be sure. By then, the diagnosis was clear, too.”
What questions do you struggle with during the time of uncertainty?
“At the beginning honestly – at least I – with not so many yet, because I just did not really realize it for a long time or did not really understand the seriousness of the situation. After the first appointments with the surgeon it then became clearer to me, but the hope and belief that the surgery would “cure” everything was greater. After the operation it was unfortunately clear that it is/was cancer and therefore I cannot call myself “cured”, because the probability of the tumor returning is unfortunately very, very high with my tumor. Accordingly, there are now very different phases, even though I have already had three super good control MRIs and am therefore “cancer-free” – the fear remains that this could change again at some point. But I’m glad that most of the time I can just look forward positively and not ruminate about it every day.”
What motivated you or pushed you forward and gave you support during the therapy and surgery phase?
“Quite clearly – without Artur I would not have managed any of it. My greatest motivation and my greatest support during this time was him! And the thought that it was and is simply out of the question for me to give up my wonderful, “old” life. I have decided for myself that I definitely want to fight my way back to that old life and enjoy it to the fullest again. However, I must also say quite honestly that before the surgery I was not aware for a long time what would come to me! I think if I had it all to do over again, I wouldn’t be so strong and “naive” to think that everything would be easy…”
What were the most beautiful gestures and messages from people around you? And what do you find annoying and an absolute no-go?
“The best thing was definitely that my friends and family were all there, visited me in the hospital and were there to comfort me after the first appointments, which were very bad for me. I think especially for my family it was all even worse than for myself. I received an incredible amount of mail during this time and have a whole box of cards and gifts at home that I received from loved ones! In general, I was totally pleased that especially our customers reacted so understandingly and sent cards, for example. After I was discharged home after the operation, we also received a lot of visitors, which then slowly became too much for us. We also needed time together to process everything and just rest. But fortunately everyone understood that! What annoyed me very quickly was the well-intentioned advice that poured in from the beginning of the diagnosis until the final biopsy and to which I now have a real allergic reaction. Also, I would never question the decision of a patient in this situation to do chemo or not! That’s simply not possible at all, especially when one’s own life depends on it.”
What advice would you give to someone who is in the same situation or has just been diagnosed with a brain tumor?
“Hmmm, this is really difficult because there are many different types of brain tumors and the prognoses are therefore very different. I would advise anyone who has a more dangerous tumor like I do, that you should not read through the bad prognoses from the previous studies – but of course you almost can’t get around it. I was extremely overwhelmed at the beginning and therefore had to “read up” first, since the doctors do not explain all the details in detail. But I’ve found examples of people who have been living with the same diagnosis for longer than average, and I try as best I can to put myself in a positive mindset with it and not despair about the studies.”
What was it like for you to have these shots taken? How did you feel during the shoot and how was it when you saw the photos for the first time (all of them)? Is such a shooting recommendable or should you rather not capture strokes of fate like this to forget them as soon as possible?
“The photo shoot itself was totally fun, even though it was extremely unusual to show myself in front of the camera with my “half bald head.” I wore my wig very rarely in all that time, except when we were out and about at weddings or now and then privately. For me, unfortunately, it has always felt extremely fake, even though it is real hair. Therefore, I have mostly been out and about with caps or scarves on my head. In general, however, we also took a lot of photos privately to “capture” this bad time and not to forget it. At some point you can see what you have achieved together! Therefore, I was also totally happy to do this shoot, as a reminder of a very bad but also very bonding time that we are going through. When I saw the pictures then for the first time, it was honestly really a shock, because I had almost no baldness again in the meantime and had already completely forgotten how bad I looked there! Just the fact that only “half” my head was bald and some of my hair was still there always felt totally awful to me. My hair actually fell out only from the head irradiation and NOT from the chemo, therefore unfortunately only so partially. I actually would have preferred my entire head to be bald. Having to shave the rest of the hair always very short so that it looks uniform was very unpleasant. I could even imagine that I would have dared to go out with a uniform bald head – because believe it or not – you actually get used to the disfigurements that cancer therapy brings with it.”
How are you doing now and how has this painful journey through cancer changed you?
“I’m doing very well at the moment, although the increasing number of chemos is also starting to leave more “marks.” The first chemos were completely problem-free. I have a relatively “harmless” chemo that I take at home in tablet form. Only with time have side effects slowly but surely become noticeable. So far, however, everything has not been really dramatic, I never really felt bad. It’s more like now that I realize that I still have to psychologically process what has happened in the last few months and the fear of the control MRIs will probably stay with me forever. I wouldn’t say it changed me significantly – I already really appreciated my life from the bottom of my heart and was very grateful for everything I have: my husband, my job and my friends. I lived very consciously and celebrated every birthday. If, then I will appreciate all the more in the future! I now want to travel more, make more great memories with my husband, enjoy time with friends, attend more concerts, live healthier, just keep celebrating all the special moments in life. One thing I have learned in any case: that I no longer worry about things that are not really important or that would only stress me out unnecessarily. And I’ve learned to listen to my body, to lie down when I realize my body needs sleep and that health comes first, even if that means clients have to wait longer for their pictures!”
We admire the courage and strength of Angelika and Artur from The Wedding Photographers to overcome this difficult time together and wish them all the best from the bottom of our hearts. Let yourself be inspired by her lust for life and sink together with us into this touching love (picture) story by Tanja Kibogo.