This was an extremely special session for me and for this amazing woman. Jessica has been through so much and is so strong – a true fighter. I photographed her with another photographer Jessica DeYoung Photography, after her first lumpectomy and I was honored to photograph her again. She is an inspiration.
Cancer is awful and affects everyone in one way or another. This was such a bittersweet session for me as I lost my Dad one year ago this Saturday, September 20, 2014 to lung cancer. It was one of the worst days of my life. It was difficult to watch my Dad become so sick.
It is so important to have yourself checked every year and every time you find something new. Early detection is key. Jessica is lucky even though she has been through something awful, she will survive. I am so glad to have met her. She is a beautiful person inside and out. Thank you Jessica for allowing me to capture this important time in your life.
Here is Jessica’s story…
“I’m 31 and I am about to have a double mastectomy. Mastectomy doesn’t just happen to people with full blown invasive breast cancer or people who undergo genetic testing due to family history and decide to be the master of their own fate. It also happens to people like me… otherwise healthy people who eat well, exercise, don’t smoke, don’t take birth control pills, and have breastfed their babies (all are supposed risk-reducers). About three years ago, I felt a lump in my breast. My doctor said it was probably a cyst and to come back if it wasn’t gone in six months. I wasn’t comfortable with that and requested an ultrasound, which showed a solid mass. The time between then and now contained a biopsy, lumpectomy, and reconstruction. My diagnosis was atypical lobular hyperplasia. My follow-up plan consisted of twice-yearly ultrasounds, which have resulted in many more findings and many more biopsies. Then came mammograms and an MRI. The most recent biopsy led us to where we are now. Atypical ductal cells and few other scary findings… all in the same breast as before. It is a ticking time bomb. In some cases like mine, people would have a lumpectomy to remove the area in question and then use drugs to suppress it, but I am not a candidate for the medication. Given all this, I am choosing to treat my current condition and prevent future recurrence at the same time. Whether you’re 28 or 58, stay on top of your preventative care. If something doesn’t seem right, question it. Get a second opinion. This is really not what I planned to be doing at 31, but it is much better than what I will be doing at 32 if I don’t. Even though it doesn’t always feel like it, I am lucky that everything worked out this way and that we caught this so very early. Hopefully before the need for further treatment. I feel even luckier to have had the chance to document this moment in my life and my body as it is now. Thank you, Tristine!”