A Mission That Hits Close to My Heart

This website is all about photography, right?  It has become my passion, it has become what I love, it has become what sets me free.  But none of it would be possible were not for my dreams and hopes and goals and perseverance – and all of these were either passed down or given root by a woman I am most passionate about, even more than photography, my mother.

She is not here to see me reach my goals and follow my passion.  Ovarian Cancer stole her from me and all who loved her.  It is my hope to bring new parents beautiful images of their days-old babies, in part, because I never did the same with my daughter.  My mother died two days before she was born, and I just didn’t have the strength or desire to capture my little one’s first days.  But it is my everyday hope that other families will never share my pain – in any way.

That’s why I want to share this link: Saving Jen

It’s the story of a photographer, Jen, who is chasing her dreams just like me and living out her passion.  She is a mother of young children.  And just like my mother did, she is fighting a battle with Ovarian Cancer.  She has been given 12-18 months to live.  I still remember when my mother was given just so many months and then weeks and then days to live.  And Jen is fighting those sentences, just like my mother did.  My mother even beat them a few times.  I pray Jen does too.  If you have a moment, read Jen’s story.

Here is an excerpt from part of Jen’s blog:

When it is detected early, ovarian cancer has a 90% cure rate. But because 80% of women are not diagnosed until its late stages, ovarian cancer is considered the deadliest reproductive system cancer for women.

Jen does not fit the profile of a cancer patient. She’s young with no family history of cancer. A completely suprise to all, including her doctors, there is no logical reason for Jen to have been diagnosed. She’s taken good care of her body and there is nothing anyone could point to and say, “This is why this happened to you.”

Below are the common symptoms of ovarian cancer. Jen experienced every one of these leading up to her diagnosis.

1. Severe and frequent bloating/ Increased abdominal size

2. Severe and spastic cramping–similar to menstrual pains but more intense

3. Lower abdominal and back pain

4. Loss of appetite/Feeling full quickly

5. Weight loss

6. Extreme fatigue/Lack of energy

7. Night sweats

These symptoms are common and can be associated with a number of different causes–which is  what makes ovarian cancer particularly difficult to detect. If you or someone you know is frequently experiencing these symptoms, the most effective way to diagnosis the disease is through an ultra-sound. You must ask for one and be prepared to fight for it. Despite common belief… ovarian cancer is NOT detected or even tested for during an annual pap exam.

Elizabeth Smith - May 25, 2012 - 7:57 pm

So sorry to hear about your mother and this young mother as well. I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Colon Cancer in January of 2010. I had no idea that anything like this would happen as it does not run in my family and I had no unusual symptoms that would make me suspect anything like this was wrong. The tumor was located in my colon and it spread to my liver. It ultimately ended spreading to my ovaries and now it is in my abdomen. You are right about it not being checked. I was told that my tumor had been growing for 5 years prior to being detected. Throughout my journey I have lost my insurance due to my husband losing his job. During those times I had no insurance I may receive a scan that would detect something but no treatment would be done. After I had 40% of my liver removed the next scan detected an ovarian cyst. Nothing was done in the form of treatment because of no insurance and thus the cyst grew rapidly in size which resulted in me having to have a hysterectomy. I have no children and now will never. Anyway, my point is that more awareness needs to be made for all types of cancers. Woman of all ages need to be made aware that they should be screened for cancer. I was 37 at the time I was diagnosed but yet they tell you to wait till you are much older to go and get a colonoscopy. It’s definitely a hard road. God Bless you and your family and this young mother as she fights her battle. I will keep you all in my prayers.

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