So close to my heart

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.

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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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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8 thoughts on “So close to my heart

  1. You are an inspiration to any woman effected by breast cancer! I am Jillian’s cousin and when I found out about her battle it was devastating news…..but like the true HERO that she is, she overcame and conquered!! I lost my mother to ovarian cancer 12 years ago and I have spent the last 12 years educating myself with ways to prevent it, I had a full hysterectomy 3 years ago and continue to eat healthy and get checked every year. We admire those that have battled and won and we respect those that have fought and lost…I am hoping that your decision to lessen your chances in contracting this horrible disease leaves you with peace of mind and time to spend raising your beautiful family!

  2. What a beautiful story for such a beautiful woman – who is my best friend. I am proud of you – and your courage and strength inspires me everyday. Keep the good fight and keep mentally pushing through – even on the days that you don’t want too.

  3. You both are such brave beautiful women. You may not feel like heroes but both of you are, to your families, your children and the women whom you call your friends. You are both the epitomy of strength and beauty. Above all you are an inspiration to other women.

  4. Im sitting here in tears for many reasons! Leslie you are an inspiration and beautiful person! Jillian you are amazing and your love for photography and people will change lives. So blessed to have you both in my life !!

  5. Thank you so much for sharing your story Leslie! Your family is beautiful – the love radiates throughout each of those pictures. Jillian your blog is splendid and I can’t wait to read many more posts of all the families you encounter and affect. You are a beautiful and gifted artist and an amazing warrior with a stellar heart.

  6. It takes strong caring people to do what you both are doing. Hopefully many of us will not have to make the same decision but, sharing your decision and educating us if need be, we will have much knowledge made possible to us because of what you are doing and sharing. I certainly will pray for you and your family and those I do not know for full recovery and many years to share with family and friends. God Bless Nan Hanson

  7. I love you both with all my heart!!! And I’m also very honored to call you both my friend and also my Hero!!

  8. Two amazing women! Jillian you are a gifted photographer and brave lady, and Leslie you are a brave lady too and will be a great inspiration to other women who have to make that choice. Bravo to both of you.

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