Magic Hour Gift Session at Lion's Den Gorge, Grafton | Kate
Everyone has a story. It may be hard to remember this when you see someone face to face and you can’t scroll to find out the details or double tap on them to show your support. Our faces don’t always give in to our story; in reality I think our faces are the greatest actors of all time. Like a great Fiona Apple lyric (and tattoo that I have) “Dreams can be deceiving, Like faces are to hearts.” I could add a myriad more sayings to support the impossibility of knowing someone’s story without speaking with them but I think you are already thinking them. As someone who has experience with trauma and loss, I like to think that I can call out the best of these face actors; the “everything is fine, life is great” face that is hiding the “I’m not okay” feeling. But the first time I saw Kate, I would have sworn that she was just a Mom with three beautiful, wonderfully behaved children living the dream. I was connected with Kate through a company called Magic Hour. They connect cancer patients with volunteer photographers to gift them photo sessions. So while Kate and her family looked amazing, I knew some of the story already. I knew that she had had a rollercoaster of a year, fighting cancer – while pregnant – and raising two more kids alongside her angel of a husband. When Magic Hour reached out to me, they shared Kate’s submission:
“I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer on October 25, 2016, when I was 12 weeks pregnant. I had a double mastectomy at 13 weeks pregnant and started chemo when I was 21 weeks pregnant. I endured 4 cycles of a heavy chemo medication and finished in March. April 6, 2017, I delivered a healthy baby girl at 36 weeks gestation. I restarted chemo again 3 weeks after she was born, had 12 rounds of chemo and finished July 14, 2017. I have multiple doctor appointments regularly, an upcoming surgery in 2 weeks and another surgery next year however as of now I am considered cancer free. This last year has been such a struggle for our little family. My two older children watched me become pale and weak (all while my belly grew), they watched me lose my hair and spent hours with me at the hospital. They (my family) mean the world to me. I will never be able to repay them for all they have done for me but I want to remember this time as something we came through as a family. Something we weathered together and came out on the other side, stronger and with more love for each other.”
I was in awe of her bravery. I tried as hard as I could but I couldn’t even begin to imagine how you don't let pain and fear take over but put your faith in good and push through; all with your baby growing in your belly. Kate is an inspiration. While her entire story is one of strength, perseverance, love, and family; one of the parts that truly makes it amazing is how she wishes to give back to women who find themselves where she was back in 2016. When she found out she had cancer, she didn’t know of any other women who had chemo while pregnant. She had an amazing support system but nothing from someone who had been there. She wants to be a resource for women who find themselves nearing hopelessness because their body has turned against them. If Kate's story is touching close to home let me know and I can get you in touch with her. I can also forward any positive energy and prayers. Also take the time to watch the beautiful video she created documenting her journey here.
Kate, you have taught your children that you don’t have to accept the hand you are dealt – you can change it. You have taught them empathy and compassion; and you are doing a great job - don’t you ever doubt it. Lastly, you are the epitome of what a strong woman is and I graciously thank you for sharing your story with me, and the world.