My Bout of Horrible Luck—and Incredible Postivity, by @mtat95
To see more from Michael’s visual journal of his life before and after recovery, follow @mtat95 on Instagram.
"My name is Michael Tatalovich (@mtat95). I am 18 years old from Las Vegas, Nevada. I lived a relatively regular life up until last year: I played volleyball, was in photo class and just generally liked being a teenager. Then last May, I was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare pediatric bone cancer.
A lot of the images I wanted to share were pretty shocking, and Instagram was a way to directly share these difficult moments with my friends and family. But my photography also shows that life has its hardships and triumphs, its love and its loss, and its pain and its joy. Keeping those things in perspective is what makes us all human.
I went through 11 weeks of chemotherapy last summer and then had my left femur replaced with a titanium prosthetic. After surgery, I did another 22 weeks, finally finishing in March with an incredibly bright prognosis. Although my hair is growing back and my port-a-cath has been removed, I am still dealing with the consequences of my illness. I still use a cane to walk. I can no longer participate in volleyball. I still have to go in for check-up scans, some of which come with high levels of radiation exposure. I will have to get the titanium replacement replaced once it wears down, about every 10 to 15 years.
My Instagram feed is a wonderful chronological archive of my high school life. I can very easily look back to exactly one year ago and see what I was going through. The road I have traveled has been long, daunting and painful. The road ahead comes with its own distinctive set of challenges. But more often than not, I choose to look back for a good, light-hearted laugh at what has changed.
Yes, I am gay. Yes, I am a cancer survivor. Yes, I like science. But I am none of those things individually. I am a human, hurdling through space and time at the same rate as all of the other beings on this planet are.”