You have cancer...
No one wants to ever hear those words. Ever.
The first time I was told that I had cancer was when I was 19 years old and a sophomore in college. I was diagnosed with ALL (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia) and went through almost 5 years of chemotherapy. I managed to finish school, start my career, and move on with my life.
Fast forward 20 years...
You have cancer. AGAIN! Yay me!
This time it was breast cancer. DCIS Stage 2, oh, and I was HER2-Positive. I won’t bore you with all the medical mambo jumbo stuff. It really doesn’t matter. What mattered was that I had two young boys who still expected me to help them with their homework. Who still expected me to make them dinner. They wanted me to be there ALL THE TIME. This time around, I had no idea what to expect and I didn’t really know if I had the fight left in me. But I looked at my two boys and knew that there was no way I was going down like that.
So I fought. And I fought hard. And I won!
But no one tells you that the battle doesn’t end when you ring that bell after your last chemo treatment. No one tells you that your body betrays you in ways that defy logic. No one tells you that your feelings don’t match what everyone expects you to feel. No one tells you about chemo brain, tamoxifen, radiation burns, toe nails falling off (4 years after treatment!!!!) or that the scar tissue you touch each month feels like a god damned lump. No one tells you that fear is your constant friend and she rules your damn life.
No one told me any of this.
For a very long time, I put on this mask. I smiled every day and I agreed with everyone about how lucky I was. I went about my business and life and just stuffed my feelings way down deep. It cost me a lot though. I started to feel self conscious and ugly. I had started to gain weight and so I hid behind baggy clothes and flowy dresses. My scars reminded me of all the bad things that happened and I felt gross and angry. And to top it all off, I was in a pretty controlling relationship. Yeah, there was that too.
And so, I lost myself. I totally hated who I had become. I didn’t recognize the woman who looked back at me in the mirror. I didn’t really like her much at all.
In late November 2016, my wife left me for another woman. I had mixed feelings about this, but that’s for another story ;). This event actually woke me up and I started to see that I was worth so much more than what was going on in my life. So I started to lose weight. I started to go out more and meet up with friends. I started to do the things I had loved to do before there was cancer. Like dancing! And getting tattoos. Lots of tattoos!! I also brought my boys closer to me and we created this haven just for us. I was starting to see the girl that I loved. The strong, independent, fun, loving girl. I started to like me again.
Then one day I was scrolling through Facebook and came across a post a friend shared that had some of the most beautiful pictures of women I had ever seen. And these women were not skinny, model type women. These were regular, everyday, OMG they are just like me, type of women. So I followed the link, then I joined the VIP group, then I started stalking Alaynna Marr. Like crazy stalking. Like she probably should have been worried about me type of stalking. I looked at the other women’s photos and I thought, “I want to do this! No! I NEED TO DO THIS! So I emailed Alaynna my story and the rest, as they say, is history.
Since my first session with Alaynna, I have gained so much confidence and power back. Have you ever went to the gym and watched how women change into or out of their workout clothes? Usually we turn our backs to everyone and try to cover all the goodies because God forbid anyone sees our saggy boobs, stretch marks and fluff! That used to be me. Not anymore!!!! I prance around like I’m on a stage. Okay, not really, but I don’t cover up any more. In fact, I wear the low cut tops that allow my scars to peek through. If someone asks, I tell them my story. My smile is a genuine one now. I stand tall, I speak up and I walk with confidence.
I am 4 years cancer free now.
I AM LOVED!
I AM STRONG!
I AM BEAUTIFUL!
AND I AM WORTH IT!
I want to take a minute out to thank Pilar for sharing her story with us. She is one of the most brave, amazing and beautiful people I have ever met. She has a smile that instantly brightens up a room and her personality will leave you laughing or reaching for the tissues (she's sweeter than sugar and a truly genuine person). I have had the pleasure of working with her twice now and each time has been nothing short of a delight. We giggle, make jokes and just have a great time. She was looking for a boudoir photographer in the st louis area and she found one... plus a friend. I love you girlie! I'm so proud of you!!!
Our next set was less about boudoir and more about showing off Pilars amazing personality and zest for life and what better way than with a bed full of unicorns!
Check out Pilars testimonial for Glammarr Studios St louis Boudoir photography below
Join our womens only FB group for Glammarr St louis boudoir below. Contest, giveaways, specials, behind the scenes and a group of amazing women!
Learn more about breast cancer awareness here
Alaynna Marr, GlamMarr Studios
St louis Boudoir Photographer