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 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.)