We’re tougher than cancer.

I’ve been putting off publishing this. Tonight I decided to. I wrote this two weeks ago.

So many of you who know have been so amazing to my mom, myself and my family. I am so thankful to have you all in our lives.

—–

I wasn’t quite sure how to start this post. I started it several times. I thought about making it my self portrait post for the month of April. Then for the month of May. If I’m being honest, the topic of this post is the reason I haven’t been keeping up with my self portrait project for the year.

I thought maybe if I didn’t talk about it, then it wouldn’t be so real. But lately, it got real. (So real it’s fo’ real)

Honestly, I haven’t cried as much as I think I should. Not that I’m not emotional about it — I am. I’ve had times where I’ve melted-to-the-floor cried since this whirlwind of a reality started on Friday, April 13th. (I know, right?) That’s when we found out that things were hitting the fan. That mom — wonderful amazing salt-of-the-earth Momma Pam — had cancer.

Tonight I cut my mom’s hair. I didn’t cry. She didn’t either. We are kind of soldiers like that. I thought we might — I told her if she cried, I’d cry. It’s okay to cry. But neither of us did. And it was okay.

Now, to be fair, on that day we were at the hospital for surgery to remove what we thought was thyroid cancer. As up in arms as we all were about it, nothing really prepared us for when the surgeon came to us and informed us they’d found ANOTHER cancer – but not thyroid – and that her cancer-suspicious thyroid was actually okay. Talk about a head spinner. I think I still have whiplash.

Fast forward to scans, tests, more tests, news of unknown origin with a side of stage four labels and the first chemo treatment — then you have today. The day that we decided to cut mom’s hair.

Prior to today, we took our family photos (here’s a little blurb about it here). We planned to take them next month with my amazing photographer friend Lindsey of Smith Digital Photography. But about a week after mom’s first treatment, the hair loss began. So we cancelled the June family session, I rush ordered a remote for my shutter (this girl ain’t running into pictures any more!) and gathered the troops for our family photos. (And enlisted the help of best bud Laura to help direct the little ones’ attention to the camera!)

Yesterday was round 2 of family photos before the big cut. It was a lot of fun to capture my mom with her two sisters and my grandmother. I come from such a strong, wonderful group of independent women.

I think the worst thing about cancer is that it becomes your life. As much as you try to not let it control everything, it does. It is with me at my day job and with my photography business. It’s with me when I’m in the middle of laughing and suddenly feel guilty for having a great time. The crazy thing — my mom has been so amazing through all of this. (Remember that line about coming from strong women? Totally accurate.) She has this amazing belief that life goes on. That no matter what happens, everything will be okay. Let me tell you, I keep hearing that line from so many people and it means nothing. But when I hear it from her — it’s golden.

Now we are on the path to more treatments and tests, planning a benefit and spending as much quality time together as we can without letting the C word take over. (Anyone ever planned a benefit before? Hook me up with some info please!)

I want to take a moment to thank all of my clients. All of you have been so understanding when I needed to extend timelines and when I haven’t been able to be as efficient as usual. I thank you all so much from the bottom of my heart for your kind words and even kinder hearts.

And since I can’t post a blog without at least one photo, here’s a bunch of the amazing lady herself 🙂

Me and my beautiful momma!

 

my parents and my mom’s beautiful grandbabies!

left: portrait session with my mom. right: my mom, her mother and sisters.

The night before mom’s surgery, she and I went out shooting nature to unwind together.

the night before surgery (with her grand-dogs aka my babies!)

they have the best laughs. 🙂 this is my mom and one of her sisters.

this is during a session i did for my mom, her mother and sisters. my younger cousins were there so i made everyone jump in for a girl photo! What a great group of strong, independent women! is it easy to tell which one i belong to??)

mom and her sisters

my mom and my brother 🙂

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