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Guest blogger | Angela Lang Bay Area Family Photographer

Angela has been taking photos of our family since before our kids were born. Pregnancy was a really difficult thing to achieve for us and when we finally had twins on the way, I wanted a record of it all. Angela took pictures of my husband and me when I was pregnant, of our boy/girl twins when they were 10 months old, and again when they were 2 and a half here. I had always said that we would go back when the kids were 5.

In between, of course life happened. I was promoted from school principal to area superintendent for schools in Oakland and East Palo Alto, my husband started an MBA program while working full time, the kids were in school, and we were busy people. Then, last year, I felt a lump in my breast. I also turned 40. So- it was off to get a mammogram and to the breast clinic. I was even treated to a needle biopsy.  Everything turned out fine and so, wanting so much to believe that I actually was fine, I let it go.

I still felt that lump though. During my self checks monthly, it was there and not going away. By May, there were further indicators that there was something wrong, I had another mammogram and a core needle biopsy as a result, and by June I was diagnosed with breast cancer, which required a double mastectomy. Thank God I had the mammogram from the year before as a baseline image as it made the cancer so distinctly clear in the second set of images taken a year later.

Over the summer Angela emailed my husband to let him know about a twin special that she was running, and he let her know that we weren’t up for it. Facing cancer and fighting aggressively by losing my breasts as a 41 year old mom and wife is the hardest thing that I have been through in my life.  As I recovered, I would walk the hall in our home and look at the pictures in our hallway and in our bedroom and in the TV room that Angela has taken. I was so grateful for the images of happier times, and little by little realize that those times will be ours again.

The further I get through treatment and towards the end of the surgeries and recoveries, the good times are closer too. As a result when later this fall, in between surgeries and while on the emotional roller coaster that is breast cancer, Angela posted that she’d like to help out a family who’d had a hard year, I nominated us. This is who we are right now. This is me in the raw. I figured that maybe I didn’t look as great as I’d like to, or feel as whole as I’d like to, but this is my family; the people who were getting me through what I labeled earlier as the hardest thing in my life. We needed it documented. Angela agreed, and now due to her generosity of spirit, we have photos of our 5 year olds and of our family at this stage as well.

The moral?  Get checked and screened when it is advised to do so.  Don’t wait until it is more convenient.  Early detection is the best detection.  And, know that photos of even the hardest of times can be miraculously healing.

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