As I was assembling photos for this week’s photo challenge, I stumbled across a file filled with photos from September 2010. It was three years ago this month.
It’s safe to say that the dusty manila icon on my computer screen stopped me in my tracks.
It was filled with good memories from our trip to Florida with jme and my mom. It was an important trip for many reasons.
I learned that I had cancer that April and had been having a horrible time with chemo ever since. So when I finally had a break from the Adriamycin, Cytoxan, Taxol and Herceptin, we found some supercheap last minute plane tickets and I threw our clothes in a suitcase. We were off with just a day or two’s notice. This was my attempt at finding the spontaneity I’d been told The Big C endows you with.
I remember being supersick but grateful to be there.
Especially because of what was looming over my head. Other than the cancer thing, of course. What loomed, large as life, was the fact that I would be returning home the day before the surgery I had been anticipating since April. It was time for my bilateral mastectomy and complete axillary node dissection. My tumors had finally shrunk enough to make my formerly “inoperable” cancer “operable.”
I’m explaining all of this because I looked at the shots of superbald me smiling next to my family in Treasure Island, Florida, and I was filled with the same sense of dread that plagued me on that trip each time I stopped to consider my reality.
And then I skipped ahead one image too far and saw myself in the hospital bed. Days after my surgery. Showing my bruised body and bandages and blood-filled drains to the camera with a vacant look in my blue eyes.
For all the time I’ve spent in hospitals, there aren’t that many photos of me within their walls. But I recall thinking that it would be important for me to have some photos from my weeklong post-surgical stay — in case I ever wanted to document my experience in some way. There are only a handful of photos, but there are enough to make me swallow hard. Pictures of me with bandages, and some without, as I look at my incisions for the first time.
Fast forward three years and here we are. I have this blog, this platform, and I think I am ready to share.
But not just yet…
I still need a day or so to wrap my head around what I am about to show you before I post the images. And, who knows, maybe I won’t be able to post all of them? Maybe it will be too much for typically modest me? I truly hope not, because I think this is an important part of my story. An important reality that needs to be shared to blow a hole in all that pink frilly nonsense that makes breast cancer seem less serious, less deadly, less disfiguring.
So please bear with me as I summon the courage to post this pivotal piece of my story.
In the meantime I will lighten the mood with this week’s challenge photos. Titled “From Lines to Patterns,” this challenge tasks us with interpreting lines and patterns through the camera lens:
“We see lines and patterns in the world around us, in nature and things man-made. Sometimes we don’t realize they’re there: on the street, across the walls, up in the sky, and along the ground on which we walk. So…grab your camera, get outside, and snap a great shot of shapes or lines that you stumble upon, or a cool texture or pattern that catches your eye.”
Thank you for visiting, for looking at this hodgepodge of photos, and for standing by me as I share my story. I am a grateful girl.
See you soon…