As a hospice nurse and professional photographer, I grew tired of seeing pictures of models who had not endured breast cancer representing those who had. I wanted to share the strength of those in the fight, to honor those who had gone before us and had paid with their lives.
Her Story: True Stories From Breast Cancer Survivors is designed to chronicle the lives of women through discovery, diagnosis, treatment and beyond. It provides a platform to speak their words. Images captured are patterned from the model, MATUSCHKA, and her award winning, self-portrait – post mastectomy.
I am married and mother to three beautiful daughters. Having breast fed my daughters (which supposedly decreases the risk of breast cancer) and having had yearly mammograms, I believed that my risk for breast cancer was low. But in September of 2011, I felt a lump under my arm. My doctor examined the lump but said my breast felt normal. Since I was so concerned, he ordered more tests. The tech thought the mammogram looked normal. Then I had the ultrasound. This time, the tech brought the Radiologist with him and I knew then – I HAD CANCER. The biopsy confirmed it. Soon came the MRI, scans, blood work, and meetings with the surgeon. He explained that even though I had had consistent mammograms, Lobular Invasive Carinoma is hard to diagnose until it becomes advanced. I had Stage 3c – metastasis in all 4 quadrants of the breast and in 10 lymph nodes. 2 weeks after my mastectomy, I started my first of 8 rounds of chemo. Then came 33 rounds of radiation. 8 months after learning I have cancer, my daily prayer is a question – am I cured? Only HE knows for sure.