For the past ten years, I've been working as a photographer specializing in weddings, senior portraits, family portraits, editorial and commercial photography. I've also been battling thyroid cancer for the past five years.
I was -- and still am -- passionate about bringing important, yet often overlooked, subjects to light, all while dealing with my own story. That's what's led me to my latest photography project focusing on moms with cancer.
Facing thyroid cancer as a mom
I received my thyroid cancer diagnosis two months after the birth of my first son, Jack. I had to undergo two massive rounds of radioactive iodine. Each time I was isolated from my husband and young son for two weeks. I missed his first Easter and was forced to stop breastfeeding much sooner than I had intended.
That was a low point for me for sure. I remember Skyping with my husband and Jack when he was only a few months old during Easter and all I could do was cry. It was miserable.
After the radioactive iodine, there were no other thyroid cancer treatment options available. Yet, five years later, my tests continue to show the cancer is growing. As a devoted wife and mother of two beautiful boys (Jack is now 5, and Austin is 8 months), cancer adds a challenging layer to my already busy and full life.
Finding healing through photography
Before we moved from Maryland to the Houston area two years ago, I worked as a photojournalist for newspapers and magazines for six years.
As a photographer, I get to see the beauty of so many things through my lens that many others often miss. So I have decided to use my camera to embark on a journey of healing and celebrating life. I'm beginning a project to take portraits of other moms with cancer. My hope is that by showing the reality of being a mom with such a destructive disease I'll also bring healing for myself and for other moms with cancer and young families.
It's amazing how we moms cope and deal with it and still manage to raise incredible children and hold down careers. I want to capture that courage, strength and bravery on camera so it can be shared with our children and our loved ones now and for generations to come.
I believe that every day is a new day to live. I choose to live an incredible life no matter what my diagnosis, but of course, there is always that added layer of challenges that goes along with having cancer. I know I am not alone in these thoughts and in this journey, and the photos I'm taking are reminding me of this.
To see Amanda's photography, visit her website.