Chemo Takes His Memories, But Doesn’t Take His Dedication – He Relearns Everything

In 2011, Charlotte Abramow’s life was turned upside down when her father, Maurice, was diagnosed with cancer. It was an adjustment for her and her entire family, especially her father, when he began his chemo treatments and different surgeries for treatment.


Throughout his treatment, Maurice’s light seemed to be slightly dimmed as he went through chemo. The chemo made him extremely sick, leading to a frail and thin man that was not the original image of her once “bright and fit” father. At only 17 years old, his daughter Charlotte began to take photographs of her beloved father, in order to remember and document all the changes and experiences they went through.

She is now based in Paris and is a full time photographer. She reported that she did not intend to create an entire project out of the pictures of her father, but now it seems as if that may be an idea.

When her father went in for surgery to treat his cancer, which was cardia cancer, or cancer in a specific section of his stomach. He went through three rounds of chemo and had surgery to remove the tumor that was plaguing him. During the surgery and continuing into after his surgery, Maurice was given some medications that the doctors found out only too late that he had an allergy to. This complicated his recovery, causing severe lung shock and several heart attacks, leading to him falling into a coma for six weeks.

When he awoke from the coma, his family was devastated to find that he did not remember anything. He had no recollection of how to take care of himself – a situation called neurological sequelae. This meant that he had to relearn everything – including how to talk. Her father was reverted to a child again, and needed constant care. Charlotte and her mother worked together to reteach and care for her father.

He seemed to have a lot of similar traits of a child – including curiosity, mischievousness, greed, hyperactivity, and even hypersensitivity. He has recovered after intense therapy – and his daughter growing up extremely quickly. He lives in Belgium with his wife, Luce. And now the pictures of her father’s recovery are going to be showcased. Charlotte even wants to make a book of the photos.

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Her father is not as talkative as he once was, as a retired University professor, but he has been “reborn” throughout this experience. How amazing to get to experience a rebirth, even if the reason behind it is a scary word such as cancer.

Photo: Charlotte Abramow