Arthur’s cancer warning

Charlotte Folan and Mandy Moon at a Waikato Horse Drawn Vehicle Society event on Kakepuku Rd earlier this year. Photo: Arthur Uden.

For two years Arthur Uden put his back pain down to arthritis, until an MRI scan confirmed the worst – he had cancer.

The diagnosis was bittersweet as he and wife Judy had just celebrated her five-year cancer free milestone.

The Te Awamutu photographer says his pain intensified to the point it was almost unbearable.

The scan in August showed the 71-year-old had renal cancer.

“Judy was told her cancer was terminal, but she dug her heels in and made it through.

“I have lost three sisters to cancer, but I thought I’d dodged a bullet,” Arthur told The News last week.

“I had about two years of really bad sciatic pain which was so bad I couldn’t lie or sit down. There were no symptoms from the kidney itself, the pain came once the cancer had spread to my spine and was compressing my spinal cord.

“To anyone who has ongoing symptoms, I say please, get them checked.”

After surgery to have the fourth lumbar vertebrae of his spine removed, Arthur underwent subsequent radiation treatment to target the remaining cancer in his spine.

Then, a month ago last week, his left kidney was removed. Now, just over two months since his diagnosis and with his recovery “going well”, Authur is circumspect.

“The doctors think they have got all the cancer. It needs to be said though there are many people out there who have had bigger battles to face than I.”

With a loyal online following, Arthur is back behind his camera returning to what he calls his “safe space”. He first picked up a camera when he was eight; his mother bought him a Kodak Brownie Starlet.

Arthur Uden, camera back in hand. Photo: Jeremy Smith

Arthur, a Te Awamutu resident for 25 years, worked for two decades as a prison officer at Waikeria Prison.

Interestingly, Arthur rode motor bikes for nearly 50 years and would regularly take a pocket camera with him to capture landscapes he passed.

It was not until his retirement in 2016 that he began to pursue his photography passion with intent starting with rugby that year.

His portfolio has grown since to include everything from wildlife at Lake Ngā Roto to action from the sidelines of a wide range of sports.

Now Arthur has returned to the sidelines with his trusty Nikon D7500 which he bought second hand from a friend.

Two weeks ago, he was in Kihikihi photographing a Waikato Area Pony Club two-day practice event made up of cross-country riding and showjumping.

“I love photographing horses; they are so photogenic. Being out there again provided a momentary escape from my health journey, even for just a few hours.

“I wouldn’t even say I’m a great photographer,” he smiles.

“I just love being there to capture the action and moments in time.”

They say a typical camera has a life span of 150,000 shutter actions – Arthur’s is still going strong having just topped 317,000.

So, it seems, there is plenty more where all those photos came from.

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