This entry was written by Jackie Roth, PhD student at Thomas Jefferson University. Every other Friday, throughout the entire year of 2011, Jackie will share a blog entry about her breast cancer experience. This year-long blog series is in honor of LBBC’s 20th anniversary.
To read Jackie’s previous entries, enter “ Jackie Roth” in the search box on this site.
Throughout this entire journey, I’ve been trying to document events and save keepsakes that are a reflection of my journey. I have every card, stuffed animal, t-shirt, scarf, and other inspirational items that have been sent to me. For me, the journey is divided into smaller sections based on my treatments. First there is chemotherapy, then surgery, followed by radiation. Capturing moments at the beginning and end of each phase is important to me. At the beginning of chemotherapy, I have a picture of my hair stylist chopping off my curls into a rather cute pixie cut! For the end of chemotherapy, one of my friends had something similar in mind…
As a present for finishing chemotherapy a few weeks ago, my friend Sudar got me my very own photo shoot! Sudar, a great friend who I met in graduate school, is a photographer in his free time. He rented some studio space and brought along our other friend, Josh, as a second photographer. I also invited about 10 friends to watch and be in some of the shots.
The shoot took place on the day after we were hit with about 20 inches of snow. But that wasn’t about to stop us. We all piled into our cars and made the trek to the studio in the blizzard. I took an entire suitcase of stuff including over 30 outfits and 13 pairs of shoes!
I was pretty nervous being in front of the camera at the beginning of the shoot. The only photo shoot I’ve ever done was when I was a child posing for brochures for the Pennsylvania Ballet. The only thing I can remember is getting dizzy from all of the flashes and passing out…luckily that did not happen this time!
We captured some amazing photographs documenting important events and people that helped me through the chemotherapy phase of my journey. There are some of me and my friend, Jen, who shaved my head for me. There are shots of my bracelets that people have given me along the way. In some pictures, I am wearing my Young Survival Coalition t-shirt so I can remember those amazing women who are on this journey with me! I took some pictures with my wig on too — her name is Cleo. When I am wearing “her” I look like Cleopatra! My sister is in the pictures giving me a big hug, and my husband is lifting me in my ballet shoes. Some of my friends are also in the pictures because they have been by my side the entire way.
It felt very liberating to stand in front of the camera — bald. By the end of the shoot I felt like a famous rock star! I am so glad I got to document the completion chemotherapy in such a fun and exciting way. I know one day I will be able to look back on these photographs and think “Wow, I did it!”
Be sure to read Jackie’s previous entries by entering “Jackie Roth” in the search box on this site.
Have you collected sacred pieces that reflect your breast cancer journey? When you go back and look through items that remind you of your breast cancer experience, how do you feel? Comment here or on our Facebook page.