July 01, 2008
This is going to be a longer post than I generally do, so bear with me. I have a story to tell about an amazing lady. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer when her son, Aydyn, was three months old.
When I met, Stephanie, two years ago, things were not so good. She had been through two years of chemotherapy and radiation. She was simply fighting to live. I heard her about her through my mom (also a cancer survivor) because Stephanie had started coming to support group meetings at OAK .
At that time, Stephanie’s only hope was to head to Houston’s M.D. Anderson and do a stem-cell transplant. This would mean leaving her two-year old son, Aydyn, for three months. It’s a serious procedure. They practically have to kill you with chemotherapy so that your body won’t reject the stem-cells.
I felt horrible for her. I couldn’t stop thinking about her and the whole situation. My husband would say I was obsessed. She was so young, a newly-wed, and had this beautifull little boy. I couldn’t imagine how difficult it would be to leave your baby for that long. So, I called and offered to do what I love to do…a photo session. She took me up on it. We finally were able to do it, the day before she left for Houston. Talk about getting down to the wire. I can’t even begin to tell you how hard that session was. But I felt so glad that we had done it. I made a slideshow of the session and mailed a copy to Stephanie and Curtis in Houston and one to Aydn, who was staying with a friend in Louisville.
Fast-forward to today. Her two-year anniversary is coming up. That’s a milestone in the cancer world. She remains cancer-free. She still gets frequent scans and everything is clean. She and her husband, Curtis, have now became foster parents to three siblings. (I wish I could post picture of them, too, but I decided that I shouldn’t for privacy issues.) So do you see why I use the word “amazing” to describe her?
Let’s not leave out her awesome, soul-mate of a husband, Curtis. I saved an email he sent me, when they received their slideshow, while at MD Anderson. It was very heart-felt. And it’s in my folder of notes that I look at when I am feeling a little down about photography. (Yes, I do go though periods of total photography funk.)
Here’s a few from two years ago:
I remember Stephanie making a comments about her baldness. All I could focus on were her beautful baby blues.
Fast forward to now. Check out her thick curly hair, which I told her to embrace. Her hair was blonde and straight prior to
chemo. And she is still sporting those blue eyes.
Love her expression here.
I know, I am seriously over-doing this pose, but I love it anyway.
I think four-year old Aydyn might grow up to be a photographer. He had great ideas for poses and shots.
I told Stephanie that day we did the first
photos that we would do them again one
day, when she was better and had her hair
back. And we did. “Full circle” at it’s best.