Hey, what have you been up to? Have you been keeping it sexy, saucy and fun? I hope so.
Lemme tell ya what’s been up with me, since I’ve been MIA for the last 2 years.
Before you start guessing, I did not lose my camera or my passion for photography, I did not move to Italy or Australia, and I did not run off and elope with an adventurous, hot, successful guy who was capable of keeping up with me and my brand of crazy. See, what happened was...
My daughter Marti, who was 21 at the time, was diagnosed with cancer. Not just any cancer, a rare and incurable blood cancer, a form of Leukemia called Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML). Everything changed.
We went from having discussions about her college grades, boys, and preparing to move across the country to chemotherapy, learning all that I could about CML, becoming her advocate and trying to manage all aspects of life with a young adult cancer fighter. Let me just tell you, this is not the life for the faint of heart. There have been lots of ups, downs, changes and revelations during the last two years since her diagnosis. Lots of doctors appointments, needles, pills, tears and fears. Lots of belly aching laughter, hugs, stronger bonds with family and friends, new friends and adventures. Our perspective on life has changed for the better, I think.
Marti is now a 24 year-old beautiful, fierce and vibrant young lady. She’s doing so much better with her treatment and the way she’s adjusting to living with cancer. Things are under control for now. I say “for now”, because this cancer has shown us that it can be a tricky unforgiving bitch when we least expect it. So until we have to initiate Plan B, C, or D, we LIVE LIFE! Marti just started her fall semester in college and works part-time. She’s got really good friends and a great support network. One of our closest friends nominated her for a Pay-It-Forward contest and she won. Those two spent a luxurious weekend at The Fairmont Banff Springs in Canada! We’ve met and become friends with some amazing people in the Young Adult Cancer Community through StupidCancer.org. Marti still deals with the side effects of cancer and chemo, but each day that the sun rises, she faces it with a fearlessness and grace that I think is exquisite.
As for me, I’ve been shooting weddings with my bestie Cean, working on personal photography projects, traveling, hiking, trying new recipes (some with Vodka, others with veggies) and spending lots of quality time with Marti and the people I love.
Cancer has taught us both a lot. We’re both more outspoken, sassy, sarcastic and genuine. (Who knew that was possible?) We’re more patient, tolerant and forgiving. We’ve learned to assess a situation fairly quickly and say “Fuck it, it’s not that important!” because we both know that there’s something bigger and better to spend our energy on. That’s living life and embracing every opportunity that we can. We take chances, we try new foods, we play our music loud, we laugh until we cry. We have a much deeper appreciation for life, for being in the moment, and for experiencing all that we can RIGHT NOW.
My passion for photographing women has only grown during this time. I’ve never been hesitant to compliment another woman on her beauty, her style, etc. Hard as it is to believe, I used to be a little shy about approaching complete strangers and asking if I could photograph them. Not anymore. Nope. Recent experience has taught me that if I don’t take the first opportunity, I may not have a second. (More on that when I tell you about our friend Lola in another entry for another day.) I really encourage you to take every opportunity as well.
Meanwhile, I'm back. Good to see you.