This is Natalie. She is two of my best friends little girl and I love her to death. I have had SO much fun photographing her from when she was in her mommy’s belly. 🙂 Starting my business a year and a half ago Natalie has given me a lot of practice. I am so proud to be her Aunt Jilly.
So this is my first post on my new blog and I couldn’t be prouder that this is the first. As some of you know I am a Breast Cancer survivor and a photographer blessed us with family pictures on my 5 year wedding anniversary and also 3 days before I had a bilateral mastectomy in 2010. As I grew to love photography even more and started my own business, I wanted to be able to do the same for other woman facing something along the same lines I was facing. So here it is, my very first blog post as Jillian Green Photography. The woman I have had immense pleasure to get to know and then photograph her family is a warrior. She had to make a decision I never had to make because it was pretty much made for me. She is strong, beautiful and a fighter. I am blessed to call her friend. Please read this story written by Leslie and keep her in your prayers, she still has a long road ahead.
I am not a hero, I do not have superpowers and I do not have anything to prove. I am like so many people that have been impacted by the dreaded “C” word…CANCER. I have lost an aunt, cousins, and most recently my best friend/mother. I knew my family history of breast cancer presented an ominous cloud of an almost certain future diagnosis.
After genetic counseling and testing revealed that I had a 1 in 4 chance of developing breast cancer, even though I did not test positive for the BRCA gene but based on family history. With all my options thoroughly explored, I decided to pursue a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy. “Why?” some people might ask. My answer is simple; “because I want to live.” For me early detection was quite honestly not enough. I wanted prevention!!!
At 37, I am a wife, and a mother of two young children. My family means everything to me. I want to be a role model for my children and a support for other women facing such uncertainty. As I watch my children grow I have found comfort and strength in their innocence. Wanting to keep them safe, protect them from harm and most of all keep them from experiencing sadness and pain as most mother’s do. Observing the daily smiles that light their faces, hearing the purity of their laughter brings joy and purpose to my life that is beyond words, further providing confirmation of my decision.
My mother will never have the opportunity to experience many of her grandchildren’s milestones. Cancer took that away from her. However I will fight, I will mentally push through now, so that I too do not miss out. I have been given the opportunity my own mother never had – I have chosen to spare my children the pain of a hospitalized and sick mother by undergoing surgery now. My mother’s absence is felt daily leaving an enormous whole in my heart, yet her strength, courage and love of her family remains with me throughout this journey.
This decision was not one that I took lightly; it was not an easy choice by any means, but it certainly was the right choice.