Pink Ribbons and Things- Mid Reconstructive Surgery- Boudoir Raleigh NC
Toni is a wonderful friend of mine as well as a new client. When I found out that she and her hubby would be in town, I knew that I had to get her in front of my camera. I knew that she had been dealing with a life threatening diagnosis and knowing how healing boudoir sessions could be, this had to be the type of session for her. During our process I learned so much. With all of the pink washing that goes on in entertainment, sports, and retail you would think breast cancer was almost non existent and that women rarely die from it, but sadly that is not true. I now realize how lucky we are to have Toni with us and that even though she is in the reconstruction phase of her journey, that she still has so many years of hoping ahead. This session has been an eye opening one for me and I hope that you all learn from it as well. Please leave Toni some love in the comment section and be sure to check out the links at the end of this blog to learn more about breast cancer, reconstructive surgery, and where to donate.
"For young women, we face a unique challenge with breast cancer. You lose so much that can effect your sexuality. The hormone therapy causes weight gain and losing your breast can be emotional. You find yourself disconnected from your body. Prior to knowing whether I would need chemotherapy, I had to make the choice to remove both my breast or have a lumpectomy with radiation. My personal choice was a double mastectomy. When you are in that moment, it's all about survival. Oddly enough, that moment was empowering. When faced with your mortality, its fight or flight and I was ready to fight. Fortunately, my pathology was in my favor and I did not need chemotherapy. This session helped me reconnect to my body, to love my skin again, and to just feel sexy."- Toni
Her husband noticed that her left breast did not look the same as it normally did. She was diagnosed with with stage one invasive ductal carcinoma. Toni's treatment plan was a double mastectomy, in hopes to avoid having radiation, especially so close to her heart. She is in the middle of reconstructive surgery. These portraits were taken with tissue expanders, which are in place to create room for her future implants. Toni is currently having hormone therapy for the next ten years to reduce the risk of recurrence. She still has a long road ahead, but she wears a smile that lights up a room. With the support of her wonderful husband, Jonathan, Toni is helping to support other's during their journey with dealing with cancer. This session is one of those steps.
Toni is still healing and learning to love her new body. Her bravery and vulnerability in sharing her journey and body with us is truly inspiring. I look forward to joining Toni again at the end of the year to celebrate her last leg in her surgery! If you want to know more about Breast Cancer and the reconstructive surgery process you should check breastcancer.org, youngsurvival.org , and LBBC.org. To donate to an organization that actually is helping, check out METAvivor, which is dedicated to stage four thrivers. Of the women who survive stages 1-3 (early stages) breast cancer, about 30% of them experience reoccurrence, potentially stage 4, which is usually fatal. You can also donate to Seymour Pink, which is hosting a 5k that Toni is participating in!
Nine19 Photography's boudoir session is all about loving yourself, as you are, in this moment. If you are a woman who needs to feel that love for yourself again, we should talk! Send me a message <3 Also, this October, the Boudoir Blitz is coming back, with a special day for women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. This includes women at all stages in their journey!