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Touching Pre-Mastectomy Experience

Miss J. Came to us on Halloween, just a week before her double mastectomy for breast cancer. We knew it was a tough day for her, but she was determined that we capture her body before it changed dramatically. This is what she had to say about it:

Many of you are unaware that 12 days before my mastectomy I arranged a professional photo shoot with Kim Treffinger. It may seem like an odd time for a photo shoot, but I had been told by many BC survivors who have had mastectomies that they regret not taking pictures of their body before losing their breasts and gaining unsightly scars.

The photo shoot was so much fun. Meagan Brown Richardson did a great job on my hair and makeup and I felt beautiful. Kim knew my health situation and she told me that she was honored to be a part of this project. I had a lot of fun that day, I got to wear several outfits and be photographed in several different settings.

Yesterday I went to see Kim to narrow down the photos that I want in my album. Kim does amazing work, and there were many beautiful pictures But what struck me the most was how visible the pain was on my face. When I saw the first few photos I was shocked! Even though I had been relaxed and having fun the tension in my face was unmistakable.

I selected 12 very special images for my album.

My expression is very somber in all of them. In the beginning, as I was choosing final images, I didn't realize that not one of the pictures showed me smiling. In the end I decided that I would not print any pictures that showed me smiling. There were not a lot of smiles in my life at that time. The pictures perfectly captured my emotions at the time.

I wrote all of that so that I could tell you this:

The woman in those pictures no longer exists. She was scared, anxious, stressed, hurting, broken. She still had her faith, but she also clung to her fears.

The woman I am now is so radically different. My faith is not only unshaken, but stronger. I'm no longer scared & broken.

I'm grateful for all of the blessings in my life, I am filled with joy and hope. And best of all? I'm not anxious & fearful anymore.

I know that God has a reason for this journey that started back in September, but it's not crystal clear to me yet. I have been able to counsel other women struggling with a breast cancer diagnosis, so I know that is a small part of the the reason. I've also told a few friends that I truly believe I'm destined to speak publicly about my experience and bring others both hope and laughter. Maybe that's it.

Regardless of the reason, I have been changed greatly through this experience. I thought I was tough before, now I'm even tougher. I'm also wiser, more patient, more optimistic, and more excited about life than I've ever been.

I'm so glad that the woman in the pictures no longer exists.

I love the woman that took her place,

I'm going to keep her around.

I think she can achieve great things and touch many lives.

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