—  Ken and Vesta  —

Wedding and Portrait Photography

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Shannon’s Journey, 16

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Here, Shannon is outside Dr. Janiga’s office. She’s about to get a refill. Dr. J. again is going take a monster syringe, right out of a scary movie, and plunge it into her breasts and inject fluid into the expanders inside.

She’s fresh off of a chemo session and as you can see, she’s losing what little hair she has left. And still, she’s facing it with a smile.

Not an ear to ear smile—flashing her pearly whites, like you’d see on a bride on her wedding day—more like an enigmatic Mona Lisa smile, but it’s a smile nonetheless.

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Shannon wanted me and Vesta to feel her head, because she said, “It’s so soft.” I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not, a soft head, and it was with some trepidation that I felt it and sure ‘nuff, she’s got a soft head, like a baby’s.

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Before they bring out the giant syringe, they have to check her vitals. And she passed, not with flying colors, but she passed. She’s fit enough to get injected.

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I pledge allegiance to the flag— Wait! She’s just getting her blood pressure checked.

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And now her temperature. On this day, her vitals were okay. A couple days later, not so good.

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Although Dr. J. said the incision is healing nicely, it looks pretty bloody scary to me. But I’ve been told when she’s all healed it’ll be a barely noticeable scar.

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These scars are going to go away as well. In the end, after reconstruction, she’s going to look better than ever, like those girls you can’t see in Playboy agazine anymore, because they don’t do topless anymore.

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This is absolutely frightening for me to watch. Vesta had to leave the room. Shannon, however, just looks at the ceiling, so she doesn’t have to see the needle. As for feeling it, she has no feeling there.

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At least she’s not supposed to have any. Not yet anyway. However, she did say that she felt a twinge or something on the next breast, and you can see it on her face.

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She’s looking out the window with hope in her eyes, but a with slight frown on her face. There is hope ahead for girls like Shannon, but sadly it didn’t come in time for her. But for her daughters, maybe.

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There is a new drug called trastuzumba, which stimulates your immune system so that it’ll attack the cancer, well certain cancers, but maybe they’ll be testing a drug that’ll get your immune system to attack all cancer cells and wipe them out in the not too distant future.

Right not trastuzumab, which is also called Herceptin get’s the immune system to attack HER2-positive breast cancer cells, but it works with other kinds of cancer as well. The testing looks good and maybe, with luck, it’ll be on the market someday soon. And hopefully, it won’t cost an arm and a leg to get it.

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We wanted one shot of Shannon looking normal and here it is. She’s looking normal and facing the future the way a strong woman should. Cancer is a bad bowl of milk, spilled by a godless hand, but you can’t cry about it.

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Here again, we see Shannon outside her plastic surgeon’s office. This time her smile is a bit better, showing some teeth. Probably, because this day’s ordeal is over.

But sadly, in just a couple days, she was back at Dr. Reganti’s for a quick test. She knew she’d lost some weight, but nine pounds in seven days? That’s a lot, too much for her oncologist to send her home, so the quick visit took a few hours, because Dr. R. wanted to get fluids into her.

Nothing’s easy when you have cancer.

On one hand you have people like Shannon, who are sick and struggling to get by, fighting their cancer as they struggle to find enough money to pay their bills.

And on the other hand you have drug companies like Pfizer, whose CEO made $18 million + $5.6M in Stock gains in 2012. Who knows what he makes today? But the company must make a bunch of money, cuz they’re buying an Irish company named Allergan for 150 Billon and they have $148 Billion in untaxed income outside the country.

But if they’re making so much, why do they need to buy Allergan? Well, if they do that, they can move their head office to Ireland and save a cool $38 billion in taxes.

But wait, that’s not enough for them. They gotta get as much loot for their investors and themselves as possible, so they raised the prices of a lot of their drugs up to ten times as much as last year.

And people like Shannon are the ones who have to pay this huge increase in prices for the drugs they need, you know, so they don’t die. It’s kinda sad that Shannon can’t buy a company overseas, so she could get outta paying her taxes too.

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