I had thought about starting this series of talking to former clients, in the new year. Then Kirsty said she would be willing to have a chat I decided it was better to start them sooner rather than later.
This is Kirsty’s ‘why’……
Kirsty is a 30 year old local girl. She’s a mum, a nurse and from what I can see an exceptional human being.
She had her hair and makeup shoot with us 11th of October this year (2022). The day before her surgery to remove both her breasts.
Let’s Rewind to the start of lockdown in 2020 when at just 27 she was referred to the genetics council for testing of the BRCA1 gene. She had gone to the doctors with a lump, which was dealt with exceptional speed and thankfully all was fine but the consultant had told Kirsty it was a good idea to be tested for the Gene given her extensive family history.
The genetics testing is quite a process with lots of discussion, family history and testing happening. She was armed full of information and had the small advantage of being in health care herself so knew of the processes, their current timescales due to covid and just a general appreciation of everything that was happening.
Kirsty says that even though she had made a decision about what she would do if it came back that she had the gene, and felt somewhat prepared, getting that video call during work in January 2021 to tell her she did in fact have the gene was really difficult to process. She remembers being at her standing desk and gripping it so tightly. She took some time (half an hour!) and then just went back to work.
In the phone call she was given her options again.
Constant observation (when she turns 30)
Remove the breast tissue and options to remove just the Fallopian tubes to try and not bring on early menopause.
Given that her son was only 4 at the time of the whole process she knew she wanted to take any/all preventive measures to give her the best chance of making sure she was around for him.
That call ended with her knowing it was going to be about a year long wait for any non emergency surgery to take place. So it was just a waiting game.
Being in the environment she knew when they surgeries were starting again and contacted the department to make sure the referral was there on someone’s desk ready and not long later she got the call to say that it would be in 2 weeks time. For October 12th.
When asked how she felt knowing it was imminent she says that it was the first time any real anxiety about it creeped in. She has struggled with her body image since she was a teen. Being self critical. Big. Thin. Never happy. she had finally been in a place of happiness and self acceptance and now her body was going to change. Again. Forever.
That happiness and acceptance was from being consistent and dedicated at the gym because she knew this surgery was coming and wanted to give herself the best chance at recovery and be as healthy as she could for it.
So why a shoot?
We have mutual connections but Kirsty had been following for a long time. She had a big regret from her pregnancy of not having any pictures during it. She hated her pregnancy. She was finishing uni, which was stressful. had hip issues, was massive and so sick and because she felt so rubbish during it, doesn’t have any memories from then. She knew she wanted to document this, because her body had changed and was going to again.
A beautiful woman, with an exceptional warm personality who has dealt with this in a way not many would. From the outsiders perspective she is calm, collected and graceful.
She was amazing during her shoot and it was a real honour to have her in. I remember being so grateful when she said I could share her images. Beautiful as they are but for some reason I wanted the world to know how this incredible woman was dealing with something so mighty, with such Grace. You would never have known her world was upside down. This being main reason I’ve chosen Kirsty’s story as our first.
Inspiring in so many ways.
She’s doing well. Back to work. Back to the gym. Gearing up for Christmas.
When I asked her if she’d looked back on her images recently and how she felt about them? She tells me she’s so glad she did it. To see herself in a different light.
Whilst that’s music to my ears, I can safely say that she looks back on the images with fondness because of the work she’s done to herself both internally and externally.
Is she critical of herself now?
‘Goodness no. I don’t care. I’ve learned that It doesn’t matter’
A message that’s so important to read.