Pictures may tell a thousand words, but there’s a deeper story behind these photos that needs to be told. Monica + her family inspire me with their courage and love in the face of adversity. I hope Monica’s story offers inspiration for anyone who needs it.
Before her own diagnosis, Monica was no stranger to cancer. After watching 4 of her aunts succumb to the disease and knowing her own chances were heightened, she became an advocate of early mammograms and at her checkup in the spring of 2011 she received a clean bill of health. Later that fall, she noticed an abnormality and went to her doctor the next day. They sent her for a biopsy and received the news. Two types of cancer, with surgery required immediately.
Surrounded by an amazing support group of family + friends, Monica began to fight. A double mastectomy + 11 reconstructive surgeries followed over the next 15 months. Her diagnosis was Stage 2B, no lymph nodes and a low chance of re-occurrence.
Less than 2 years later, her back began to hurt and would not quit. After 8 months of multiple doctors and testing, they learned the cancer had returned and spread to her spine. This beautiful 38 year old mother was faced with a disease without a cure.
In Monica’s own words, “Cancer will not take my family’s joy. We smile each day and place cancer to the side where it belongs. Still fighting, never forgetting, but not letting this stage-four cancer steal a moment of memories we can make.”
I have no words for how incredibly brave and strong this family is. I had the most amazing time hanging out with their joyous spirits. Throughout our session, laughter + smiles filled the air and you would never, EVER know what they are facing each day. There is no sign of cancer in these photos. Just lots and lots of love. People like Monica make the world a better place and prove that each day we are given is an absolute gift. I am beyond honored to have had the opportunity to meet + photograph this amazing family.
We had a little fun 🙂