This year has been weird and hard.
I've experienced some of the happiest moments in my life, watching Lily and Roo grow and bond and become siblings who love each other fiercely and annoy the crap out of each other. The days are passing quickly, sometimes it feels like lightspeed and I wake up and the kids are just bigger, like it happened overnight. Lily is going into first grade and Roo is suddenly a very active little toddler. They amaze me every day. I keep asking time to slow down just a little bit, but it doesn't.
Over the winter, I found a lump in my breast. It took my breath away. I had signed up for an app called Check Yourself and it sends me monthly reminders to do a self exam. I found this lump, very small, but it was there and it wasn't there before. It completely freaked me out, as it had been so long since I'd been to a primary care doctor. I literally did not know what to do. I didn't know how to call a doctor's office and ask to be a new patient and also, I found a lump in my breast and am terrified.
For a week before seeing my doctor, my perspective shifted. My world was rocked. It was awful. My mind went to terrible places.
I won't drag anything out for dramatic effect. I am ok. I ended up having my first mammogram and a diagnostic ultrasound, and it was fine. It was a fibroid that they said might hang out in there or go away, and to keep checking and let them know if I notice any changes.
In the three weeks between feeling it, having my doctor's appointment and then the mammogram, we celebrated Roo's birthday. I felt like a different person, like I was having an out of body experience. My spirituality suffered. I questioned everything and at the same time, prayed and begged for it to be nothing.
I'm grateful that I'm ok. I'm in awe of those who aren't, but go about their lives and get shit done and have positive, inspiring things to say. It freaked me out how quickly I started thinking of "what ifs". It numbed me with fear many days. I hope I never feel that way again. I keep many friends in my heart and in my prayers who's lives are touched by cancer and disease. It's just not fair.
Life is moving fast. I'm terrified of missing it, to the point where I probably annoy the hell out of my family with photographing the mundane stuff. But that is where my heart sings. Those little everyday moments feed my soul. The stuff that most don't see as important - that's my whole world.
So when I talk about how important photography is, I'm not feeding you a line. It's a lifeline. It ties us to each other. It keeps us afloat and it keeps us grounded. Seeing the people who are the most important to you, being vulnerable and unguarded, is a gift. We can all sit and smile for a camera. That's easy. But witnessing these little moments through a photo...it helps time slow down, just a little.
And for that I'm grateful.
So if you haven't been to the doctor in a while, go. If you haven't done a self-exam in a while, do one. Don't wait. Don't let fear hold you hostage. Don't brush off your health. You are important. We need you here, in your family pictures. We don't ask that you're perfect, only present.
I'm grateful for you.