Love the attitude in this studio portrait!
Meet Jackie (a participant in the new Lahey Clinic Portraits of Inspiration wall I am working on), who has been battling carcinoid for 23 years. Here is her photo and and incredible story:
With our feet on the floor
Just like my mother, who survived from 1967 to 1975 with carcinoid, I put my feet on the floor every day. As her caregiver, I lived through her story daily.
After my diagnosis, I continued to work every day for twenty years as an account manager for a paper manufacturer until 2006. That’s when my co-workers, seeing my increasingly difficult struggle against pain and fatigue, said gently, “Jacklyn, it’s time to go.” I loved the teamwork of that job — in the office and with clients all over the country and abroad — and cried when I left.
When I see healthy, laughing people, I wish I could be as healthy and carefree as they are. Yet whenever I do smile, in that moment I too feel healthier and more carefree.
Now, in my twenty-third year of survival, I know that sharing stories with other patients helps me to fight both medically and mentally. When we share our experiences and feelings, we gain insights into each other’s mental being. We smile, put our feet on the floor, and keep on going with every ounce of our bodies — together.
I have been touched and honored to be chosen by the Lahey Clinic to photograph its patients who are coping with a cancer diagnosis and treatment. So far four pieces have been mounted on the wall at Lahey’s Gordon Cancer Center, and feature a portrait along with a story about how he or she is dealing with the process of healing.
The stories are elicited/written/edited by Louise Smith, and the pieces are framed by Kathy Skarvan of Ava Art. The wall is called “Portraits of Inspiration.” Below, meet Kristen, and read her moving story.
The kindness of others
“You have cancer”: these three words forever changed my life and the lives of my family. Who would take care of John and our two daughters, Olivia (5) and Ella (3)?
“Don’t let the fear consume you,” advised my aunt, a breast cancer survivor. My friend Betsy, a cancer survivor herself, told me “It’s the toughest thing you’ll ever do, and you will do it.” She was right.
I have a special memory from that time. When I was at Lahey awaiting my radiation treatments, I saw that a woman, Ginger, who regularly sat beside me for her own treatments, was knitting a shawl. One day I commented on how beautiful it was. “It’s for you,” she said. “When you feel down and alone, just wrap it around you, and you’ll feel the love and care.”
The kindness of others kept my spirit, strength, and hope intact during a very difficult time. My doctors, family, and friends kept me strong and on track during my cancer, and they continue to do so. Cancer did take some things from me physically. But the life lessons I learned and people whom I would not otherwise have met are priceless.
Children undergoing treatment at Mass General Hospital collect beads that give a visual representation of their experience.
Here is the last session for the Flashes of Hope project. Thanks for visiting with these incredibly courageous children who are battling serious illness. If you feel inclined to support this wonderful endeavor, which connects photographers and critically ill children for in-hospital portraits, please visit flashesofhope.org.
Our final “model” Jonathan was in the best mood! He just loved being photographed!