It’s easy to lose sight of who you really are when going through chemo treatments. On my good days I am a ‘cancer warrier', putting a brave face forward in the fight against this disease. On my bad days, I am a helpless cancer patient, a victim of my body’s betrayal. On the days in between, I’m just me, Chris, a mother, a daughter, a friend; a woman with many interests, hopes and dreams.
When I found out that I was facing chemo treatments at the end of last summer, I decided that I wanted a visual reminder of who I am – before I lost my hair and the effects of the treatments changed my physical appearance. I hired a photographer to take some pictures and we met at the gazebo on the Rockcliffe parkway, a common site for wedding pictures.
At first I felt a bit ridiculous, like a disoriented middle-aged woman posing as a bride. My discomfort eventually passed and I began to have fun with it, allowing myself to just enjoy the surroundings and feel happy, almost obilvious to the photographs being taken. The result was an assortment of pictures that represent a side of me that I want to hold on to – the healthy me.
No, I don’t look like a model in the pictures (although I could use some air brushing...). But I look like me: healthy, surrounded by sun and nature, and that puts a smile on my face.
When I look at the pictures I’m reminded that cancer doesn't define me, that it is only a very small part of the whole person that I am.