Amanda’s Story

This is a little project I have been working on for the last couple of months.

I initially photographed Amanda with her husband Robbie and new baby daughter Nelle late last year. We had a great time and got some fantastic photos of the whole family. You can check out a couple of the lovely photos we took here.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to learn that in late May this year, Amanda was diagnosed with breast cancer.

I suppose when you are hit with a diagnosis like breast cancer, hundreds of unpleasant thoughts go through your head… and it must be hard to know what to expect or what exactly it means… how will this affect me?  how will it affect my child?  my family?  will I survive this?

The reality is that one in eight women are effected by breast cancer – it is one of the most common cancers effecting women in Australia. And in truth, Amanda has been incredibly lucky… she found a lump in her breast and went to her GP straight away.  The doctors operated to remove the lump and are quite confident that they removed all the cancer. Unfortunately though Amanda still has to go through 6 months of Chemo and Radiation therapy to make sure that any traces of cancer are killed off.

Amanda and Robbie decided that they wanted to take as many positives out of their experience as possible and contacted me to see if I would be interested in helping document their journey to overcome the cancer.

The message that they are hoping to get out there is that early detection is really our most powerful ally in fighting this disease. If Amanda hadn’t been aware of the change in her breast and done something about it, her story may have been very different.

These photos simply reflect a snippet of time in Amanda’s life… life as a mum and partner, like so many other women after being diagnosed with breast cancer – she’s just getting on with it.

Once the tumor was removed, Chemo was due to start two weeks later, so Amanda needed to wean Nelle… obviously a little earlier than she had planned to.

Amazingly, Amanda was able to continue breast feeding straight after the operation.

The surgery left a 10cm scar in Amanda’s breast.

Amanda’s first Chemo session went well, and found she reacted well to the anti-nausea drugs.  Apart from feeling exhausted most of the time,  Amanda seemed to cope well.

Robbie realised early on that he had to become a “domestic god” whilst Amanda copes with the after effects of Chemo…

A couple of weeks after the first chemo treatment, Amanda’s hair started falling out.  She made the decision to get her hair shaved off.

Robbie and Nelle offer encouragement before the big shave…

The Wesley Hospital Choices Program offers free support for women and their families diagnosed with breast cancer. Amanda decided to get her hair shaved here, and to try on some of the wigs that they have on loan.

I imagine this is a very daunting prospect – to spend the next 8 months or so with little or no hair. Again Amanda seemed to take it all in her stride… though with a partner like Robbie telling her she looked HOT with a shaved head – she probably didn’t have too much to be worried about.

The next time I saw Amanda after she had her hair shaved I wanted to take a couple of posed photos of her. I love seeing beauty in unexpected places… I think Amanda looks amazing with no hair.  She looks so proud… almost in direct defiance of the reason her hair is gone.

And of course no visit to Amanda’s home is complete with out getting a couple more shots of gorgeous Nelle…

I have to say a big thank you to Amanda and Robbie for letting me in to their home and allowing me to take a tiny portion of this difficult journey with them.

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8 Replies to “Amanda’s Story”

  1. I love you J. What a beautiful piece of work my girl.
    I wish Amanda, Robbie and Nelle ALL the best for the future…..they are a truly inspirational little family.
    M x

  2. Wow J,

    These are just truly stunning and if I were Amanda I would be inspired by how beautiful you have made her in every way. These are really soulful images.

    Best wishes to the family.
    DY

  3. Amanda, your daughter and husband must be so proud of your strength – I can see it burning strongly and defiantly in the images Juanita has captured. You are an inspiration and I wish you and your family a long and happy life.

  4. These pictures are so beautiful. I particularly like the ones without hair Amanda. I just goes to show you dont have to have beautiful hair to be beautiful, and her inside beauty shines through in them.
    I am so glad Amanda is now in remission.
    God Bless

  5. What beautiful pictures. I have known Amanda since she was in high school with my daughter and a very good friend to my daughter. Amanda has always had a beautiful spirit. I knew that the first time I met her. Love to her and Nelle and Robbie.

  6. I’ve just been diagnosed with breast cancer. I can’t tell you how much this post helps. It’s beautiful. It’s real. It’s helping me work with my denial.

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