A few days ago I was hanging out with my friend and photographer Katie www.kathrynhastings.com when she suggested we do an impromptu photoshoot to capture where I am now.
It was 11am on a weekday. I had to leave in 8 minutes to pick up my youngest child from preschool and her 3 year old son was playing with his toys on the floor nearby. Since we are both professionals (her a professional photographer and me a professional hairless person), we made it happen.
She grabbed her camera and lenses, I whipped off my hat and shirt and away we went. Envision a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition photoshoot on a beach in the Maldives. Now wipe every semblance of that memory from your mind and picture whatever the opposite of that may be and you have our little photo session.
When she sent me the photos later that day, I was shocked. I could not believe they were photos of me. No way I looked like that. The woman in the photos was so sick looking. She was sallow, covered in scars and sprouting hair in odd configurations. The photos caused me to audibly gasp. I have been feeling so vital recently! How can this be what the world sees when they look at me?!
I swore I would never show them to anyone. They were too real. Usually when I receive Katie’s proofs I send them to everyone I know because they are so very beautiful. These looked like crime scene photos. Certainly not on her part, it was more that the subject looked like an SVU victim.
Cut to waking up this morning. I looked over to my husband and said, ‘did he…?’ He said, ‘yes, he did’. I started to cry. I suddenly felt like the girl in the photos. Sick to my stomach, deflated, scared and filled with sorrow.
I am hesitant to go into my deep and penetrating feelings on the election. I am scared to open those floodgates and I also would like my blog to remain a safe place free of divisive politics so let me just say this: I am extremely disappointed and worried about the decision made last night. My acute fears circle around the choices a new Supreme Court lineup could make, namely women’s reproductive rights as well as maintaining adequate healthcare for my fellow cancer sufferers who have benefitted so greatly from Obamacare.
I could go on and on and on and on and on about my fears and disappointment as an American right now, but I am in a delicate place in my life where I have to heal. I cannot allow my worries to take over my mind and possibly cause enough stress to promote the growth of cancer cells.
The new President-Elect will be able to control many things in my life, but he will not be permitted to take away my burgeoning health.
The country will continue to divide, but mark my words, my cancer cells, will not.
These photos show who I am right now. This is the real me. This is the woman who wished so badly for the glass ceiling to be shattered. This is ME and I refuse to be ashamed of that.
7 Comments Add yours
#Imwithyou. Keep fighting. We all will. And you are beautiful. Don’t stop believing that.
Grace you are beautiful in your soul, and you don’t look dreadful at all. I have been following your blog from the beginning and I’ve been amazed and inspired by you.
I’m equally horrified by the election. We have a lot to do to protect our rights and the safety and well being of all the human beings with whom we share this country. I’m glad you’re on the team!
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I have been following your blog since the beginning and I find you to be one of the most inspiring women I have ever seen. The way you have allowed all of us the follow you in your journey, is one of the single-most unselfish things I have ever known. This has been the “real” trip, not a short ride through the life of a young woman and her battle to regain her health. We have experienced the raw truth as only you could have told it. On occassions, I have laughed and on others I have cried both with you and for you. I am often reminded of my weaknesses as I witness your strenght! Oh Yes, Grace you are a very strong woman – and you will emerge with a great victory over this disease. As for looks – you are a beautiful woman. You look in the mirror and all you see are flaws and battle scars but we, your followers, look at your pictures and see a vibrant young woman who is healing inside and out one day at a time! Look at yourself and be proud of all you have weathered – because you have already accomplished so much…and you have only just begun! Thank you Grace for allowing us to join you on your battle. For me, it makes me take a closer look at my own self. Without knowing it, you remind me daily to stop taking every little thing in life so serious when there are way more serious things I need to concentrating on like life and love and family!
Rhonda, I don’t know that I have ever received such a thoughtful and kind message. I can’t tell you how much your words mean to me. I write because I use this format as my journal. I never know what I am going to write until the it pops into my head. At that point I have to get it out stat. The fact that what I write moves others is such an incredible bonus. Keep reading and THANK YOU!!!
You are beautiful!! So great seeing you the other day! Hopefully I will see you again Tuesday for parentvsay or whatever!! I still cannot believe you had cancer. You don’t look it at all, you look like the and personified have known for 33 years. Beautiful, strong, the same. Keep being you 😘😘
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I stumbled upon your blog after your post in the pantsuit nation fb group. I loved your post about your grandmother and how she used some of the last of her time on earth to vote. It was so beautiful to read and made me so proud to be a Hillary supporter and to have the right to vote. I clicked on your profile and found your blog. I’ve spent the last few weeks reading your blog from start to finish. Your journey has been an emotional roller coaster – I’ve laughed and cried. (I’ll be honest, I laughed a lot bc you’re hilarious!) Your outlook on life and positivity throughout your illness is just amazing. Thank you for sharing your story. You’re a beautiful and strong woman and an inspiration.
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Hi Cristina! Thank you for finding me and reading along and for your kind words! Cancer is the pits, but hearing that I inspired just one person is the best-