{Memory-Making Monday} Virginia Photographer | Personal

March 02, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

{Memory-Making Monday} | Personal | March 2. 2015


I want to start a new series here on my blog about the moments in our lives that become memories, the moments that we remember down the road those ones that when we look back are what we consider the true riches of our time here on Earth. I want to show why what I do as a photographer is important for your current life and for the lives of your loved ones in the future long after you are gone. I believe that capturing moments, documenting stories (good and bad) are important for growth, for healing, for our souls. This series will be personal and give a deeper insight into who I am, and why I am who I am. You will learn about my family and watch my child grow. You will go on vacations and you will see my memories laid out for people to see and touch. I want to integrate my role as a photographer and as a scrapbooker and I want to mesh those two things together. Having the pictures taken isn’t nearly as important printing them and letting them be seen and touched, we need tangible things to prove that we were witnesses to our own life and that we were indeed involved in our stories and not just bystanders. I hope you will join me on this adventure. My entry today is going to be different and shorter than what I have planned down the road but I unexpectedly spent a majority of my day at appointments and the pharmacy for a child with strep throat. While this may not be the ideal situation for blog writing it is real, it is my life, and it is very much a part of my story. 


August 1998 | Washoe Medical Center | Reno, Nevada


This photo was sent to me today by a woman who for 18 months was a vital part of my life story. You will see in this photograph three people, two young nurses and a little girl who’s cheeks are rosy but her skin is pasty white…the kind of pasty white you only get when you’re sick. Not just any sick, cancer sick, chemotherapy sick. That little girl in the middle is me and I was thirteen years old. The photo was taken about a month before I finished my treatment regimen of intense chemotherapy and radiation. It was 18 months of tests and blood draws, exams and car rides, pills, infections, pain and watching poison drip into my veins. I vaguely remember this being taken but I remember knowing that I wanted to remember them and I wanted them to remember me. I remember the anticipation and excitement of being so near the end of my time there but at the same time it was bittersweet because I had become part of a family there. The nurses on the Oncology unit at the time I was there were a team of nurses who cared deeply for what they were doing and loved their patients. It takes a special person to be an oncology nurse and these men and women were there for all the right reasons. They truly made a difference every day that they came to work and they were my support rock, my trusted caretakers, my angels and very much my friends. I spent sometimes 2-3 weeks out of a month there between the treatment and low immunity troubles and I could always count on them for a smile, an orange crush soda (when the cafeteria didn’t stock it) and even time spent drawing with them at the nurses station. I had high times there where I felt great and I was kicking cancers butt and I had low times holding fevers too high for the brain to tolerate so I sat in ice packs, on cooling blankets and had bloody noses that wouldn’t stop. 


This part of my life is painful and not visited often but it is vital to my story.  Those months forever changed so many things for me.  Cancer took away part of my childhood; while my friends were going to dances and sleepovers I was in a hospital room with my mom while anyone who entered needed to wear a mask.  MY mom spent countless nights on a cot and working from a hospital room trying to keep it all together. She has strength beyond measure. My dad worked and maintained the house. I had few visitors and shed many tears. Cancer changed my health and has given my ongoing struggles and a need for closely monitored care. Cancer changed my outlook on life and helped me realize things about myself and about other people. Cancer gave me a passionate desire deep within to help people. I have been involved in healthcare (volunteer work and employment) for fifteen years and I love it. I love building relationships with patients and their families, I love making someone smile when they came into the hospital in pain. I love leaving and knowing that even just to that one person, I truly made a difference.  


I tell you this story because I want you to know another part of me and why I do the things I do. I intend to work in healthcare for as long as I can, and I also intend to be a photographer for as long as I can. I believe, that for me, those two things go hand-in-hand and I don’t want one without the other. The things I have been through in my life are why I am a photographer and I don’t plan on walking away from either of them. 


This is me. I have set out to accomplish a lot of things in this life I’ve been given and I will be here to document your stories as well as mine and help you tell them for all of those who come after you.  


“She realized her story needed a hero, so that’s what she became.” -Unknown. 





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