It is that time again to share another story to add to The Bigger Picture project. In case you are unfamiliar with what the bigger picture is all about….Let me share…. There are ups and downs and unpredictable circumstances that are out of our control. But what I have learned (as well as these families I have met) is that really…truly….God is in control of every single aspect of our lives. So this project that has been twirling around in my head is first and foremost meant to glorify God. That no matter what may be on your plate today, there is a “Bigger Picture” There is a plan, a purpose for the good, the bad, and the ugly in our lives, and the goal is to enjoy life with a hopeful heart even in the most tragic circumstances.
The Bigger Picture spotlights families and people that I have met in the last few years that really get it. That under the most unimaginable suffering still know the love of God and trust is in his plan for them. This concept is easier said then done, but I want the world (or my small pocket of followers) to know the stories of these families. These sessions are my gift to them and really an honor to spend time with them and document their lives at this given moment. All things in connection to the bigger picture were donated and gifted, including makeup by Hilary Bucher, my awesome new bigger picture logo by Mindy Young- owner of Dear Emmie Designs, and Mandy’s gorgeous dress was donated from Starlet boutique in Santa Rosa.
Here is Mandy’s story….
June 5th 2012 was the most devastating day of my life. It’s crazy how hearing just one word can forever change your life–Cancer.
How can I, at only the sweet age of 28, have cancer?!
I was one of the healthiest people I thought I knew. I don’t smoke, rarely drink and always take care of myself. All I could think was that this news had to be wrong…they’ve got the wrong girl, the wrong test results.
Well boy, did I get proven wrong real quick. It was right and it was me. I had stage 2 Hodgkins Lymphoma. I was going to have to go through this illness and fight the next 6 months for my life and battle, what I always thought to be, a death sentence! And that is just what I did. But I learned that Cancer isn’t a death sentence, not all the time. This was curable and I WAS going to beat this. No if ands or buts. I would win!
My husband, and my parents were always there for me. Sean, my husband, never let me get too down before picking me back up and reminding me that it could always be worse- that I could be extremely sick going through it. Loosing my hair was the toughest part for me. It’s a woman’s identity, you’ve always got your hair. They reminded me that if loosing my hair was the worst it was going to get and that if loosing it meant getting to live a long life together with all of them and my precious 2 year old son, than so be it. It will grow back!
I stayed strong and fought to keep normalcy for my family. Our son was only a little over 2 years old and in the prime age for wanting to go, go, go! I HAD to win this battle for him! He deserved me to be here…I deserved to be here. This was just going to be a little bump in the road for me. We continued our summer like any we would have in the past. Camping, hunting, parties and a major feat for me, Disneyland! Wow, that was a tough one… Disneyland and being weak from the chemo! But, I got through it because that smile on my sons face made it all worth it. For anyone having to go through chemo, you know it is quite possibly THE hardest thing anyone should ever have to go through. It knocks you down both physically as well as mentally. But, like I’ve told myself and many others, you have to always keep faith and believe you can do it! Because you can, otherwise you’re letting cancer win. And believing that, even for just a moment, made things seem just a little better.
I have learned a lot from this crazy ride. Always look at The Bigger Picture! Remember to live every day happy. Love all that you have and cherish your friends and family and all the little things that come with life. It’s an extraordinary gift! And don’t forget- “even with the things we face in life-we will always have the things that make us more than just ourselves.” Wise words that were told to me on my journey.
Stay tuned for her beautiful family session hitting the blog next week!