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an ovarian cancer survivor. in her own words

meet hallie.

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and here’s hallie in her owns words…(part of a portrait project i am doing on the amazing souls i’ve crossed paths with during this ongoing journey with cancer. completely in their own words added to the images of their choice from our mini session together.)

One of the hardest things about going through cancer, besides facing the possibility of death, was all losing control of what was happening to me. During cancer treatment, I was swept along through a current of doctor visits, agonizing side effects from chemo, scans, waiting for results, surgery, scars, hair loss, as I just held on tight and tried to stay afloat.

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After standard treatment was over, and I was declared cancer-free last June, I found myself in strange new territory…and forever changed from this experience. Before I had cancer, when I would hear about someone in remission after treatment, I just assumed that they returned to their life…grateful to be alive and ready to move forward. For me, this has not been the case. While I feel an intense amount of gratitude for each day, each moment with my children, each sunset, the unwavering love and support from family and friends, the looming fear of recurrence can sometimes be paralyzing.

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During the past ten months since treatment ended, I have been feeling my way along, not charging forward. My days consist of a series of baby steps to slowly reclaim my life. Along the way, I have been given so many gifts, large and small. I have found an entire community of cancer survivors, who are now among my dearest friends. I have learned to accept my physical body, even with extra weight, scars, missing parts, and crazy curls growing on my head. This body has such resilience! Such an amazing capacity for healing! After battling cancer, I am able to find contentment and joy in such simple things. I savor life, even the messy stuff. I have learned to tune into my own needs more than I ever did before.

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I take naps. I drink prosecco. I hike the in mountains near my home. I snuggle with my kids and scratch their backs…when I should be doing laundry. I write love notes to my husband. I do all these things, and realize that none of us have much control over what is happening to us, cancer or not. What we do have control over is our ability to treat ourselves with love and compassion, which then radiates through us to touch others.

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if you know a cancer survivor who would like to do a photo session and write about their story please contact me. a high quality 5×7 professional print of each photo selected for the blog will be provided to the participant at no cost. (additional prints can be purchased from the gallery provided.)

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Marlene and Cal Bilger - March 17, 2014 - 5:04 pm

Hallie. You are exactly why Jodi created Jodi’s Race. How proud she would be of you and what you learned from this devastating experience. Keep being the lovely person you are inside and out. See you in June. Mar and Cal Bilger
Jodi’s Dad and stepmom.

Meg Franklin-Judd - March 18, 2014 - 5:18 am

I almost lost my best friend to this at age 19. We were too young & naive to be scared (outwardly, at least). Our conversations now in regards to this are amazing, joyful, painful.
It was a horrifying gift that shaped our futures.
Thank you.

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