Gayle and her husband came to see me last year (unbeknownst to me they were also staying at a friends Air b&b!)
Travelling from England, and having their own very special reasons for wanting to capture some images.
This session cooincided with my own mother having just learned she had secondary cancer that had travelled to her bones.
An emotional session im sure you can understand.
I asked Gayle to refresh my memory on the finer details of her joinery, for this post. I think it's only right I use her own words.
" I had numerous gynecological surgeries throughout my 20s, resulting in a hysterectomy at 29. I then had bowel issues in my 30s giving me an ileostomy bag for 3 years. After having a successful reversal, I thought my issues were over.Then in January 2022, aged 46, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was an aggressive form of stage 3 breast cancer, having spread to my lymph nodes.My treatment plan was an almost immediate start on chemotherapy in an attempt to reduce the cancer cells, through which I had an absolutely hellish time resulting in 4 visits to A&E and several nights spent in hospital.After a short break recovering from the impact of chemo, I had a mastectomy of the left breast in August and had a temporary implant fitted.Several weeks of Radiotherapy followed, after recovery from the surgery.Long term I will have bone treatment to help prevent osteoporosis as well as 10 years of anti-hormone treatment, and reconstruction surgery later this year.I am also on a second drug, which adds a small percentage to aid the prevention of the cancer returning. Unfortunately, in typical style, my body has had an absolutely terrible time adjusting to this drug resulting in further ill health and poor quality of life, and I made the decision that I wanted to come off of it completely.After arranging an appointment with my oncologist in February to discuss this option, I learnt further news that due to the extent of the cancer, I only have a 35% chance of surviving the next 10 years. That’s a 65% chance the cancer will return.
This was information that the oncologist had held back from my results after all my treatment. Apparently, she did ask at the time if I wanted to know, but I said no. I don’t remember the conversation, but Kevin does. Brain fog!
With the advice of the oncologist, we decided on a dose reduction and (so far!) this seems to be manageable.
I think it is important to add the side effects of cancer treatment. Losing my hair, my nails falling off, the increased weight and bloating and terrible fatigue to name a few. Not to mention the psychological and emotional effects which has a huge impact and resulted in me not recognising myself, coupled with going through stages of anxiety.