I received an email from a friend about Anna and her diagnosis about a week before I actually shot her. Her diagnosis was a time sensitive one so we booked the shoot in the following days. I met Anna that day at the studio not knowing much about her other than hearing her sweet voice over the phone and knowing she was 29 years old and had just been diagnosed with cancer. Honesty it was an exhilarating moment seeing her walk into the studio at about 6 feet tall with the most incredible ginger hair I have ever seen. As you can imagine my mind was going in a million directions.
I wouldn’t do Anna or her diagnosis of cancer any justice so I am going to let her tell you a bit about her story here:
In February I my world was shaken when I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. The weeks that have passed since that infamous day have been filled with hard blows and tough decisions as my full diagnosis, prognosis and treatment options unfolded. Additionally, I learned that I have a breast cancer gene which means aggressive treatment is needed.
In days I will be undergoing a double mastectomy and then will need a course of chemotherapy. In the meantime I am making decisions about freezing eggs, saying goodbye to my breasts, shaving my head of hair for a wig, and making significant diet and lifestyle changes.
I went over to Anna’s house this Tuesday and let me inform you Anna is the hero! She’s up, cheerful, and estatic to be cancer free. She has a tough road ahead of her this year full of chemo therapy and surgeries but remains hopeful and will most certainly do it all with style and grace.
Our plan to document Anna’s journey all this year and how very fortunate I feel to know her. After I left her house Tuesday, I became verklempt in my own emotions knowing the very reason I met Anna. These are the stories I live for and why I love to photograph humans. Not for the story of cancer but the real human stories we share intimately with one another.
Here is a look at a few images I took of Anna days before her double mastectomy.
[flickr-gallery mode=”photoset” photoset=”72157633209572916″ pagination=”5″]