—  Ken and Vesta  —

Wedding and Portrait Photography

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Shannon’s Journey, 17

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It’s been a couple weeks since I’ve written about Shannon and her journey. We’ve been on the road, but we’re back now and Shannon’s still here. And she’ll be here for a long time to come, because she’s a fighter.

But she’s had to battle pain and bouts of depression. However, I suppose that’s not news to any cancer survivor. Getting better isn’t easy and watching the process one might wonder if the cure isn’t as bad as the disease.

Depression is a problem most cancer patients have to deal with and the fact that the suicide rate among them is twice the national average tells us that many of them fail. Not Shannon. I’m hear to report that she’s put that evil demon down. She’s upbeat and looking to the future.

However she’s only halfway through her chemo sessions, so there’s a better than even chance that the depression demon will raise it’s ugly head again, but I’ve no doubt that’s she’ll put it down again.

She’s tired being sick. Who wouldn’t be? But at least she’s being sick with a positive attitude.

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Shannon gives the camera a smile as she’s waiting to get her vitals checked. And I have to say, one might expect this place—where so many people come to get chemo and to get better—to be as depressing as all get out.

But it’s not.

I think the patients here, though they don’t know each other and come from all walks of life, draw strength from each other.

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Shannon gives the camera a smile as she’s waiting to get her vitals checked. And I have to say, one might expect this place—where so many people come to get chemo and to get better—to be as depressing as all get out.

But it’s not.

I think the patients here, though they don’t knThough a common worry that runs through most of the people who come to this place is, “How am I going to pay for all this?” Because even if you have insurance, no matter how good it is, when you come out on the other end of the cancer survivor tunnel, you’re most likely to be in considerable debt.

Since I have been involved with Shannon, I’ve read dozens and dozens of accounts where breast cancer survivors have come through that tunnel with their health back, but nothing else.

In many cases, gone are their bank accounts, their cars, their homes, their future too. Is it any wonder that for many, suicide seems attractive? Well, maybe not attractive, but the only way out.

Shannon has a strong support system, great children and great friends, so there is no need to worry about her on that score. But many woman, sadly, don’t have that.

ow each other and come from all walks of life, draw strength from each other.

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Ready to give blood.

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Getting Chemo, again.

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A lot of what cancer patients have to go thru to get better is repetitive and seems to become routine and routine is never interesting. Routine is boring and dull. And the recovery takes so long.

And because of that and because the surgery is over, people tend to think they’re better when they’re not. Or that the worst is over and that they’re going to be fine.

But Shannon is not fine. Better than she was, yes, but certainly not better. However, being around her and taking to her, you couldn’t be blamed if you thought she was okay, because she puts on such a brave face. Which you can see in the photos below.

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Again, in case you don’t remember from an earlier post, there is a white wall in the hallway, leading from the parking garage to the building where Shannon’s oncologist has her office. Opposite the wall there is a huge north facing window and in the afternoon, the light thrown on that wall is better than perfect for portraits. And that’s where the following portraits of Shannon and Katlin were taken.

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I love and admire Shannon the Fighter, but I long for the day when that woman is gone for good. I would much rather see Shannon the loving young mother with a future full of hopes and dreams for herself and her children. You know, like all the other young mothers out there.

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