Not letting cancer define you…
What is left to do when you are facing an illness, like Cancer, that can literally take your life? Sue was facing just that, but she was determined to fight. This woman is a ‘warrior’ in my books. She is facing her own mortality and defiantly stepping up and demanding to be seen! That is, seen for more than just her illness! Seen for every memory and every possibility that she brings to her world. And also, seen for what matters most to her – to be complete regardless of what she faces.
She came to me with the intention of celebrating her wholeness as a woman, both in body and mind. This was before a life-changing operation shortly after her photographic experience. When you are facing your own mortality, life is punctuated with gratitude. So many things become less important to worry about.
If you were about to lose something forever that you could never get back, how would you embrace that moment? Imagine if your photographic experience became a moment of healing for you!
That is exactly what Sue experienced. In a space of great change and emotional charge, Sue was given the greatest gift ever. To be seen in the way that she had always wanted to be seen!
“I chose Emotive Images just off the internet as I did not know anyone to take the type of images I wanted. I am so glad that I found Louise – she was so caring and supportive of my situation and the type of images I wanted. Knowing that after my surgery I would never be this complete woman again I am absolutely thrilled with my photos and how they showed me as I would never have imagined.”
WORDS FROM SUE
My mother was diagnosed with Breast Cancer when I was in my early 30’s. I didn’t think much of it but did proceed to have bi-annual screening – something that was really hard to get 20 years ago being so you.
When Mum was diagnosed again 5 years later, I still didn’t give it much thought – mistakenly thinking that I was doing everything I could. 10 years later Mum was diagnosed with secondaries and also Bowel Cancer, it was then that we knew her time was limited. I had continued getting screening, thinking that it won’t happen to me.
Imagine my shock when I was getting dressed one morning and noticed my breast looked a funny shape. Normally I was not someone who rushed to the doctor – but on this day I did. Within an hour I was in the Doctor being examined. She seemed to think that because the lump felt so big it was more than likely a cyst, but I should get a mammogram and further testing anyway. I had only had my usual mammogram 8 months earlier.
I went off to work not too worried waiting for a call to when my appointment would be. Not two hours later the Doctor rang. I had an appointment that afternoon for the testing. By 5pm I knew I had Cancer. So less than 12 hours after I found a lump, I was diagnosed with Cancer. There were in fact 9 lumps in all, ranging from 2cm to 5cm. Yep that is a lot of Cancer and to this day I still don’t know how I did not notice it earlier.
Within less than 10 days I was having my 1st Chemo. Unfortunately my Breast Cancer was “triple negative”. I didn’t know that there were different types until then. But, basically my Cancer was not hormonal, like most Breast Cancers, and my only treatment option was Chemotherapy. There is no drug to take for 5 years, basically if the Chemo does not work – you are a gonner. On the up-side I didn’t have any surgery at this stage.
Five months later, the chemo appeared to have been successful but I would still need a Mastectomy. That’s when I rang Louise from “Emotive Images”. I found Louise after an internet search. I wanted to do a photo shoot of how my body looked like before I lost my breast to surgery. Finding Louise was a gift that I did not expect when I decided to do the photo shoot. She understood exactly where I was coming from and what I wanted to achieve. I chose to have the photo shoot the day before my surgery and did not tell my Husband, as I wanted to surprise him with the photos.
The day of the shoot was fantastic. Louise put me completely at ease and even though this was a very emotional and stressful time for me, the day was fantastic. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. I had never done anything remotely like this but felt very comfortable and am absolutely thrilled with the results.
My surgery the next day went smoothly and I will always have the fabulous photos to remember the day and my body before. Even though I had no hair, no eyebrows and was about to face one of the most emotional things you could possibly imagine, the photo shoot and photos were everything I had hoped and wished for,
I am grateful that I found Louise – you might say by chance but I think it was fate.