Michele, 44

“I am a mom and a LEOW (Law Enforcement Officers Wife) Of 16 years, I enjoy hunting with my daughter and son along with fishing and photography.  I am 44 years young and have had my share of ups and downs, I decided it was time I do something for me. Cancer came into my life last year and it is funny how your life flashes in front of you when your faced with the “C” word. My thought was I have to survive this, It was the hardest time of my life but I am here and cancer free! I have been called an inspiration by many during my last year of life but I don’t think I am any different. People tell me I have a good attitude for just going through a double mastectomy but I try to look at the positive in the situation and thank God that I am still here for my husband and kids.

The last time I was photographed was for a family picture back in 2009 and that was only because we were picked for family of the month at our chiropractors office.  I’m usually behind the camera and like to keep it that way. But by the end of the shoot I was having a blast with Trisha…She really knows how to make a girl feel comfy in her own skin.

Wanting to do this hoot for myself was a huge decision for me because I am so “not comfortable” having a naked face  other than being home lounging I usually have makeup on). The biggest reason was coming to the realization that if something WERE to happen to me I don’t have a ton of photos and I wanted to leave a little piece of myself in this world for my daughter and son to look back and say “mom kicked ass” It makes me feel better that my babies will have some type of tangible item to keep of me. 🙂

I think Trish is a ray of light! She jokes, she can definitely make you giggle like a little girl and all that time she is telling you how damn good your photos are looking. She made me feel comfortable in my own skin for that moment in time. I didn’t feel like a walking frankenstein with all my scars exposed. She made me feel at peace with myself and my body and opened up my eyes to see what she saw in me, not what I see in myself. I will admit at the beginning of the shoot I was so nervous my anxiety was high and I was talking so fast I could hardly catch my breath. But a few minutes in we found our flow was in sync. I felt weird posing all these different ways but she assured me that that I had the body to pull it off. She is such an inspiration and amazing in her craft. By the end of the session we were talking about everything. It was a good therapy (I mean photo) session!  I feel like I have been stripped of so much lately that the “no makeup” thing made me vulnerable and made me come to terms with my new but not so done body. I still have a lot of work to do on myself so I think being in front of Trish’s camera literally exposed what I needed to do for myself.  It is like your looking at someone else, your reflection is you but it isn’t.  That’s the person that everyone else sees and I see someone different if that makes sense. After this past year I look at beauty in a different way now.

Viewing my photos was weird it was like standing outside of myself looking at something foreign. I felt like I didn’t know who that girl was and all I could do was see all of her flaws. Thinking to myself wow is that really me, boy I have got some work to do. But I guess looking back at that moment of time it kind of opened my eyes and made me realize that I am a strong, amazing, talented woman who has everything I need in life.  I am like everyone else insecure about certain things and I would be lying if I said anything different. Everyone has issues, it is how you run with those issues that make you strong. I learned really quick I didn’t want to be that “poor me girl” I don’t want anyone to say “poor thing she had cancer” F that! I am going to be strong and show my daughter what a warrior looks like and not let a little thing like cancer stop me.

As I sit here today telling you my life story it is a very special day. Today my angels are celebrating the 14th angel day—I had twins in 2004 that were born sleeping. I realize how lucky I am to have angels watching over me, and to have my babies here on earth as well. I struggle daily with the fact that my boys were taken away from me and that cancer tried to take me as well but cancer didn’t win, I have a beautiful family, a husband that loves me for me and I am able to wake up one more day thankful for all my triumphs. Today we will celebrate our boys 14th Angel Day and realize that I am one strong mama, and that I am due for a little happiness. I am still here and life isn’t always fair but keep going and don’t give up, at this point my only fear is regret, so take those chances, go on those family vacations, dont worry about the little stuff because if you focus on that it will consume you and your life will fly by and then one day you will wish you took the time to stop and do something for yourself. ”