This is my BEAUTIFUL friend Marti and her family. Marti's breast cancer diagnosis came last year, and she wanted to document her journey with photographs. I had never done this type of thing before, but I was more than happy to help her make her vision a reality. And Because there is no need to paraphrase what has already been written so beautifully, I have copied (in its entirety) the story told by the survivor herself, to go with this special photo session. I love this woman, and her family. <3
Written by Marti Morrow Baily
"Happy Birthday to me, happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me!! Celebrating Life, is my theme this year! After being diagnosed in August, with stage one breast cancer, I am more aware and thankful for every day God gives me.
For my birthday, my family and I did a photo shoot with Laurie Wilson, Lauriewilsonphotography.com, to celebrate being cancer free. This photo shoot was my friend, Temple Cundall’s suggestion, after I sent her the first photo to tell her I had cancer. She replied back, I want to see the next photo that says “CANCER FREE!” That was the best reply I could have ever had. I had not thought about there being an end to cancer, I was just relying on God to get me through each day. I had the first picture done to remind me that God was with me every step of the way. I knew this would not be an easy road and that I would need to be reminded who was in control! So I got lots of copies of the picture made and handed them out to everyone I came into contact with. I also had one blown up so I could look at it and be reminded of how very big God is to me. My friend Heather Crawford, asked “Is it like the stones for the children of Israel?” (Joshua 4:6-7) Yes, yes, yes! The picture is to remind me and my future generations of God and what He has done.
God showed up in a mighty way this past year! I am so thankful for all my family and friends who reached out to let me know they were thinking of me, praying for me and willing to bring me a meal! I really felt the love of God through so many wonderful people! I “ONLY” had stage one cancer, so I felt really good about my prognosis and was living as having had cancer was no big deal. After I finished radiation I felt carefree, like a warrior home from battle.
A few months after my radiation, I received news that another warrior had lost her battle with breast cancer. But she had stage three or four cancer, not like me… Well, I learned thirteen months, before it returned, she had stage one just like me. Then my friend’s mother’s breast cancer returned as well, each day she is fighting for her life. Wow! Reminder, there are still warriors fighting the battle, and there are some that have lost. I did not feel so good about doing a “CANCER FREE” photo anymore. I did not feel like rejoicing when so many others were hurting so badly. My friend at church told me I had survivors guilt. Yes, I think that is what I had and I had recheck myself and realize that was from the Devil, not God! It is natural to feel sad, but it was not ok for me to feel guilty for living, “CANCER FREE.”
Yes, I know there are still people with cancer that are hurting, that there are people dying today of it. Just last week, my husband Brian, lost a good friend to cancer. I realize that God can take me out whenever He chooses. My mother, father, aunt, uncles, grandfather and friends have all lost the battle with different forms of cancer. But, I am not fearful, because I know my life is in His hands. I am cancer free today and I know tomorrow if I am not, He is still with me! I am safe because I have Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. HE was with me when I got the news, HE was with me when I had to tell my family, HE was with me in the waiting period, HE was with me when I had surgery, He was with me when I had radiation, He is with me as I take my daily treatment pill, HE was with me when I found another lump (it is fine), and He will be with me when I take my last breath. Until then I am going to give Him all the glory and say, if you do not know Jesus, He is just waiting for YOU! "