“Having cancer helped me put things into perspective and taught me not to sweat the small stuff. I learned to love my body, scars and all.“
I’m Dawn, I’m 48 and live in Plymouth with my hubby and two cats. I’m a trained Occupational Therapist but have been medically retired due to my health. I have always been tall and slim and never had much in the way of curves. I was teased relentlessly about being a thin stick at school and that kind of stayed with me into adulthood. I never really felt particularly body confident.
I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013 and had a mastectomy and chemotherapy. This was followed by reconstructive surgery at the end of 2014. Having my breasts removed and going through treatment for cancer affected my confidence greatly. Having reconstructive surgery helped significantly- it helped me to feel ‘whole’ again. Having cancer helped me put things into perspective and taught me not to sweat the small stuff. I learned to love my body, scars and all.
Having a professional photo shoot has always been something that I’ve wanted to do but kept putting it off and not quite getting round to it as the thought of doing it made me a little bit anxious. Unfortunately, although I was declared cancer free at the end of 2013, the cancer came back at the end of 2016 – this time in my bones and liver. I’m incurable now and my condition is life limiting. I don’t know how long I have left. My cancer is currently responding to treatment so I have been determined to try and seize the day and make the most of the time I have left.
I have made a bucket list and having this photo shoot was one of the things on my list. I did a bit of research and heard that Kensa had a very good reputation. I was a bit concerned about the actual shoot as my mobility is reduced. I have some collapsed vertebrae in my spine, my back is stiff and moving around can be quite difficult. I need not have worried though as I was able to discuss my concerns over the phone beforehand and on the day the lovely team at Kensa took their time with me and were extremely patient. I did not feel rushed at all and they constantly checked that I was happy with what I was doing and that I was comfortable.
I don’t consider myself to be particularly photogenic and was not sure I’d like the pictures. How wrong was I!! I loved them all – Karen and her team did an amazing job and very obviously know what they are doing! It was difficult trying to decide which ones I wanted in my album! Again, I was given as much time as I needed.
I was extremely lucky to be able to have my sister with me for this experience – she had her shoot directly after mine and we actually had a few pictures taken together. We had an amazing day together and Karen and the girls at Kensa have helped us make some fantastic memories, and we have some stunning pictures to mark the occasion that I will be able to look back on with pride. Thank you to all the team!