Category Archives: Cancer

LIFE IS GOOD – Shatanese Reese

Life is Good with Shatanese Reese
(From my Life is Good Series) 

I have the pleasure to know Shatanese more than one year already. She is an amazing mother, wife, friend, and a very brave cancer survivor.

This is her story:


Life is Good – They Said I Had Cancer But It Did Not Have Me, Shatanese Reese

I still remember where I was when I received the call that changed my life forever.  I was seated next to my husband on the couch in the loft area of our new home and the news caused me to sit straight up.

“Mrs. Reese, your results have returned.  They are not what we had hoped.
The mass is cancerous.  Thankfully, it is in stage one and it is measuring at a small amount.  The type of cancer you have is called invasive mammary carcinoma.  It is appearing both in your ducts and your lobes.”

Devastated, I could no longer hear the voice on the other end of the
phone.  My mind was flooded with thoughts of “What Ifs?” “What Next?” and “Why Me?”

On August 25, 2016, I underwent a double mastectomy.  The breasts I had nursed little ones with and offered during intimate moments were gone,removed to never be seen again.  I felt a great sense of loss and yet, was thankful to still have my life.  I entered a world I had, up until surgery, only feared.  #Cancerfighter

Now, three surgeries later, life is good!  There were times during my
recovery process when I thought reconstruction was more invasive than the initial removal of my breasts.  I did not like drain tubes.  In fact, I HATED drain tubes but learned to appreciate their purpose.  I did not like having to exhale into a hand-held machine, but understood the importance of exercising my lungs directly after surgery.  I even felt at times, like the bride of Frankenstein as a result of all the stitches and numerous incisions, but I learned to redefine what beauty meant to me.

I have attempted to maintain open and honest age-appropriate communication with the kids to ensure they understood exactly what was happening with Mommy and I truly feel that has been beneficial for each of us.  They have been terrific helpers during my recovery process (especially with the tubes!) and even hold me accountable with my diet.

My most recent surgery was in July of this year.  I am nearly back at 100% and am looking forward to resuming my journey to becoming a lightweight body builder.  Until then, I am busy building my new consulting business (, cheering each of my six children on in their various ventures and doing my best to love my husband, who has always been by my side throughout this entire process.

I would not wish cancer on anyone and have a great deal of respect for those who have fought valiantly but are no longer here.  I do not take my life for granted and certainly attempt to be present as much as possible.
Although I did not have to endure chemotherapy nor radiation therapy, cancer and I are foes for life.  I am more mindful of what I eat and am committed to exercising regularly.  The month of October and the color pink have taken on deeper meanings for me.

Life. Is. Good.





Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Life is Good” is series of the cancer survivors and cancer patients images. With my series of images I want to show how GREAT life is. I want to show how strong people are.
“Life is Good” will be a variety of positive and beautiful art that seeks to represent those same qualities among the strong people who have survived, or are battling to survive cancer.

I desire is to raise cancer awareness in a positive, creative and loving manner by leasing space for a gallery to sell prints of my works.

All proceeds of each sale, after cost, will be contributed to charities. My GoFundMe goal amount will go toward the cost of leasing space and printing enough works to fill it.

With this project, I wish to show how GREAT life is and how strong people can be. I hope you will join me in this effort. The appreciation certainly would not end with me.

Life is Good


Life is Good – Vicky Ryder

Life is Good

Life is Good – Vicky Ryder

Last week I had the pleasure of photographing Vicky Ryder (for my Life is Good series)  who had celebrated her 10th year of being free of cancer. I met Vicky about 15 months ago and I must say that she is one of the most beautiful human beings inside and out.  I asked Vicky to share her story with us. And this is what she said:

The day after these photos were taken marked exactly 10 years since a lung biopsy revealed a malignant carcinoid tumor in my right center lung lobe. Two weeks later, I had the entire lobe surgically removed.

I am a strong believer in positive thinking and fighting through hard times. In spite of severe pain, and a ton of post-operative equipment I won’t even start to describe, I was taking laps around the hospital floor in record time. I wanted out of there.

Fortunately, my coding job allowed me to work remotely. I was back to work as soon as I could sit up, even though I had short term disability left over.

As heroic as that all seemed to people at the time, it was not without its struggles. 

Having never experienced any major medical issues prior to that year, I felt like “damaged goods” for quite awhile. With a surgical wound spanning from just under the right breast all the way to my back, I had only two positions I could comfortably assume. My ribs had been sawed through, so I couldn’t get out of bed without tears from the pain. I couldn’t breathe without discomfort. I needed help to get through even the most embarrassing daily tasks. I certainly couldn’t drive for a long time. Up until this point, I had been an exceptionally independent woman. Needless to say, I suffered bouts of depression.

Little is known about the cause of carcinoid tumors. All the doctors could tell me is that it probably was not caused by any of the usual suspects, or more people would have them. Carcinoid tumors are relatively rare. For awhile, I was paranoid of everything from candles to traffic fumes. 

Though I was back to a somewhat normal routine after a few months, it was around a year before I felt normal. By that, I mean I had assimilated enough that a day went by where I wasn’t reminded of all the ways life had changed. 

Throughout that year, I resolved to only let it change me for the better. I remembered that worrying about the unknown was no way to live life, and I started to truly appreciate what I had vs. lament what I didn’t. I had loved ones to help me through it all. I had a supportive job. Apart from annual CT scans, I needed no followup treatment. Most importantly, I was lucky to have caught it early. 

At five years out, I was officially considered a cancer survivor.

Fast forward 10 years. The two remaining right lung lobes expanded to fill in for the missing third. I can breathe better and do more than I could for several years prior. Most importantly, I’m alive. I’ve taken life head-on by changing careers in an attempt to be sure I spend my remaining time on Earth doing things I love.

This isn’t to say the last 10 years have been perfect. Believe it or not, I’ve been through even more trying times with my health. Life, in general, has surely had its ups and downs. I have just learned to take it all in and build a new kind of strength upon it. I do my best to share that strength with others in every way possible. 

I typically only speak of my experiences with cancer to those who are in need of the same moral support I was so lucky to enjoy. When I realized I would be in Victoria’s neighborhood precisely 10 years to the day of my cancer diagnosis, I knew it was time to do a bit better than that. I hope all who read this will see that, above all

Life Is Good.

Life is Good

Life is Good

Life is Good Series

I am very excited to show you the results from  the first session of  my ” Life is Good’ series. This series is VERY important and personal to me. Life is Good is series of the cancer survivors and cancer patients  images. With my series of images  I want to show how GREAT  life is. I want to show how strong people are. I am not looking for models for my series (unless the model is a cancer survivor or cancer patient). I am looking for REAL people to show various emotions, to show that every day is gift and that we all should remember that  kindness is free. Just a few minutes of your support could save and help someone’s life. All of us could help with the cancer research, donate your time to support the people who are  fighting cancer now.

I am an artist and I truly believe  (and I know it is based on my own experience) in healing power of art. I started the series “Life is Good” using my favorite tools: Nikon camera ,Westcott lighting, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom , Wacom, and my Mixer brush Tool. All my sessions from that series are FREE and I would truly appreciate  if any of you could spread the word to let cancer survivors  and cancer patients know about it.

And now let me introduce my first image:

Justyna Krolkiewicz:
amazing human being, model and a cancer survivor. 

Portrait Portrait Portrait