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A Yearly Update

Marianne's 1 year anniversary of her first round of Chemo was a few days ago. A year ago we were all scared but hopeful.

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Marianne's cancer was advanced . . . so advanced that I couldn't look up the odds of success. Instead, I focused on the positives. We focused on what was going right. We counted down. We celebrated the small victories. We laughed, we talked, we prayed, and sometimes we cried.

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And we took pictures. We took a lot of pictures.

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Our youngest sister Emma who was with Marianne for almost every appointment and procedure said today, "I'm glad I documented what I did but with each photo I can feel that fear I was carrying around at the time. But I feel so proud of each of us because we didn't let the fear run us over."

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Fear is a nasty thing.

At first, it feels like a protector. It comes in and offers end results, predicting the future for you in the most horrifyingly colorful ways. It whispers to you throughout the day just so you don't forget. It slips into dreams giving you a vivid visual of twisted possibility.

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Fear doesn't offer solutions.

It never gives hope.

It robs us of joy and gratitude.

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Fear might seem needed and valuable but it gives no actionable direction. That's what acceptance does. Acceptance allows you to breathe in the reality of the situation, take in the facts, and plan what to do next.

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Acceptance makes room for hope. Acceptance invites gratitude to have a seat at the table.

And gratitude when in the midst of sorrow and pain . . . well, that's something that can heal you even if the doctors can't.

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I spent a lot of time being thankful when Marianne was diagnosed. I was thankful for every single thing. Even the things that hurt her: the burning radiation, the chemo that made her sick beyond reason, the shots, the waiting.

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It's been a year and some change since Marianne was diagnosed with cancer.

She had a simple appointment the other day and the results were good. So today we are grateful for that. The big one-year test comes up in a few months and like Emma, I can feel fear whispering at my back. I can feel its cold, dark predictions like a shadow that I can't quite see. But fear didn't get us here.

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Hope, acceptance, gratitude, and peace saw us through.

So, we'll hold to that and believe that the future will be just as blessed as the present.

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Cheers to Marianne who let me photograph her over Christmas and create her updated cancer-free pictures. She is always, always unquestionably beautiful.


Love, Melinda










P.S. Are you interested in an incredible photoshoot experience all your own with Melinda and Shea? Whether it be an equestrian photoshoot, mother and daughter pictures, headshots and branding, or contemporary portraits and boudoir we will create something show-stopping that celebrates you!



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