I have a real treat for you today. Today I am sharing with you a story that I believe will inspire you like it has me. E scheduled a boudoir shoot with us over a year ago, then found out shortly after she had been diagnosed with cancer and had to cancel. She was 20 years old. I honestly cannot imagine being told that at such a young age. TWENTY! 20 is when your life is just getting started, just beginning! And here she was facing something that could take her young life. I just truly cannot even fathom how that must have felt. During all of this time, E has been my FB friend and I have noticed her posts here and there. She has truly remained positive throughout it all, and it has really blessed and inspired me. I get SO SO tired of all the negativity in the world and usually seeing SO many people complaining on FB about things that are so trivial. And here was little E, just living her life, loving God and loving the life she had been blessed with. This young woman is beautiful, inside and out. She is courageous and she is a true example of a wonderful woman of faith and positivity. She reminds me so much of Job in the Bible. If you don’t know this story, it’s about a man of God who loses everything, his whole farm, his whole family, and his own health, but never stops praising God. He remains faithful and devoted to God throughout pain that you and I could not even imagine and in the end God blesses him back with more than he even had before.
You see, bad things happen to good people ALL THE TIME. It’s all about how you will handle these trials that will truly determine the outcome of your life. NO MATTER WHAT comes your way, keep your eyes on God, trust him. And he will provide. He will take care of you. Having a positive outlook on life is one of the greatest things you could ever do. It will change your life for the better. I know this personally.
Be inspired. Be grateful. Love God.
E came in recently to finally do her boudoir shoot that she had been wanting to do all this time. I was HONORED and thrilled for her to come in. I think it’s AMAZING she did it while her hair is still growing back and I am so impressed by her bravery and love for life.
True beauty. Inside and out.
“Anytime I meet someone new, they tend to always remember my height (or lack there of) and my smile. My smile is always plastered on my face and has gotten me and a lot of other people in my life through some dark days. As I child I was always happy and usually healthy with the occasional sinus infection. I was always performing in some way, whether it be singing karaoke at a friends birthday or cheering on the sidelines for our local association football team. When it came to cheerleading, I was quick learner which meant I was always one to teach others, help and lead the team. I enjoyed it thoroughly and being a “Leader” or “Role Model” came as a natural position for me in life. That didn’t change when I became diagnosed with cancer.
On Tuesday, July 19, 2011, I woke up to find that my left arm had doubled in size over night. I took a Benadryl thinking I had been bitten by something but when the swelling didn’t go down the next day, I called my primary, Dr. Daniel, and set up an appointment. He saw me that day and had a CT scan ordered for later that afternoon. Thursday morning around 10 AM, I got the call from Dr. Daniel telling me the CT showed a large mass in the upper region of my chest and that I had an appointment with an oncologist in an hour at Our Lady of the Lake. My mother and I rushed over there, met Dr. Moore and set up a biopsy for the following Monday. The next week was seemed to be lived in fast forward. Monday morning (July 25), I had a piece of my mass biopsied and sent off to see if it was benign or cancerous. The 27th, results came back with a diagnosis of Mature Large B Cell, a Non Hodgkins lyphoma. The next evening, I was being transported via ambulance to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN.
We pulled up to St. Jude at 4:45 AM Friday morning with the staff patiently waiting on me, ready to begin the process of paper work and meeting my team of physicians. Within the next few hours, I had blood work, an EKG/ECHO, a CT/PET scan and a bone marrow biopsy. Within the next month, I had received four rounds of chemotherapy and multiple spinal taps. During that first month, I had also been visited by family and friends on the weekends, enjoyed beautiful days at the Memphis Zoo and Overton Park and was able to find an awesome Mexican restaurant near our apartment (Molly’s La Casita on Madison Ave). Although I was getting PUMPED with chemo, the effects then were minimal. It wasn’t until late August that my hair started thinning, so we cut it, and I had also developed acid reflux. I’m thankful God blessed with a high tolerance for pain because most of my procedures were done with me awake since it was too much of a risk to put me to sleep with my mass laying on my tracheae. I was awake for my PICC line placement, my bone marrow aspirates, and all 14 of my spinal taps (which are a breeze now by the way). One appointment Dr. Sandlund told me that I needed to quit smiling so much because he never knew if I felt bad (although my blood tests told him I did). I remember a night towards the end of my treatment, I had a fever come on while in our apartment. The rule at St. Jude is that you DON’T mess around with a fever. You come in immediately, so that’s what we did. I walked into the Medicine Room, smiling of course, and was put into a room. The nurse came in and took my blood pressure, oxygen level and temperature. When the thermometer read 103.4, she looked at me like I was crazy and said she didn’t understand how I was so chipper. It’s honestly in my nature. The night we cut my hair I did it in my bra and panties so that I didn’t get hair all over my clothes. After we finished, my mom sent a picture of me smiling, holding my breasts with my new ‘do and a caption that read “SHE’S STILL A WOMAN!” to my dad and sisters. The next day for my appointments I put on some make up, my best dress and tied my prettiest scarf around my freshly bald head. I knew getting “dolled up” would help, but in reality all I needed was my smile to feel beautiful.
For the rest of my treatment, I wore scarves and hats, never wigs. HUGE thank you going out to my Aunt Mary for giving me all her scarves and also to the ladies at Riverside Baptist Church for sewing me hats! I LOVED them! Also during my treatment I posted an update every few days on what/how I was doing and it was OVERWHELMING the amount of prayers and well wishes I received. Another thing people commented on then, and still tell me today, is how positive my posts always were. If I were having a tough week, I’d let them know, but I didn’t let it shadow over the good things I was feeling. I had so many people write to me about how if they were having a bad day they would head over to my Facebook page and read a status update or look at a picture. If you don’t think that made me feel like a million bucks, you’re dead wrong. People constantly asked me, “How are you so upbeat?” and I would answer with, “How could I not be?! I have SO many people back home praying for me, sending amazing cards and just saying some of the nicest things. I have so much to be thankful for”. Cancer was put on the back burner of my brain when it came to my life. I focused most, if not all, of my energy on making sure people saw that cancer isn’t always a “bad word.
In fact, I treat mine as a blessing. I don’t blame God for my sickness. I definitely think if He were going to give it to anyone, He did right with giving it to me. He knew I would take it and use it for good, instead of feeling sorry for myself and saying “Why me? I don’t deserve this”. I was able to re-evaluate my goals and re-structure my life and who was in it. I went into remission on October 15, 2011 and was discharged from Memphis on November 18. Since then, I’ve tried to live my life it’s fullest! I visited a friend in Las Vegas, I went to Disney world with my family, I was able to go back to school at Southeastern Louisiana University where I’m also cheering! Later this month get to see my older sister get married to a wonderful man (love ya Dakota!) and also return to work! Most recently though, I was able to work with a FABULOUS photographer, I think you know her… Courtney Dellafiora?, and share what I HOPE to be an uplifting story with all of you! Life is good and is only going to get better!
So with that, I’ll leave you with a little quote my sister Rachel always reminded me of during my sickness… “If God brings you to it, He will get you through it.”. I believe this with everything in my soul. Have a great day Vixens, you deserve it! -E”
Thank you E for sharing your story and your photos with the world. I am truly so blessed just to know you. Never change. xo