Why Me?

By · January 6, 2010

How a Cancer Diagnosis Shapes a Photographer

I would have to admit when I was diagnosed with a cancerous breast tumor (2006), the typical question “Why Me?” was not one of my questions. I wanted to know so many other things like how it happens, what did I eat, how was I going to get through it, and how much time off work this would take.

I got a call at the photography studio one day right when I walked in the door. I was not even open for business that day, so I was not going to even answer the phone. I had my day all planned, a friend of mine was on her way to work on a special project with me all day, and I was dressed very casually to go ride horses after that. I grabbed the phone by instinct anyway.

The nice lady asked if I could photograph someone that day. I hesitated. I didn’t want to. I had other plans. I don’t work that way…last minute …without a plan…anyway, I need a consultation first to plan clothing. After some information gathering questions to find out why she needed such a rush without sounding like I was hesitating or going to turn her down, she finally told me her son had cancer. She went on to explain he didn’t feel very well but she happened to have him in the car at the moment. That is when it all clicked, and I said, “I am a cancer survivor too, you called the right person, bring him right over.” Those who know me well know I am not great at spur of the moment. I like my plan, my schedule, and it is difficult for me to switch gears. But God did something great that day and kept me from messing up this unusual phone inquiry.

When they arrived I met 15 year old Jeff. He recently broke an arm that lead doctors to discover a shoulder tumor. It is possible that he will lose an arm. He had had two chemo treatments and was not feeling well, but he was a trooper, and I made the photo session quick. I asked his mom how she happened to call me. She said she just picked someone in Marion. I think it was a divine appointment I had asked God for earlier in the week.

After they left to face the uncertainty of their day, I told my friend, who was gracious enough to wait for me, with honored tears in my eyes, “This is why I am here.” I answered the call. God kept me quiet. He let me fill a family’s need. He had prepared me for this.

I may not have ever asked the question. But now I do know the answer to “Why me?”

Jeff has since had his arm removed. You can follow Jeff’s story and progress at http://pullingforjeff.wordpress.com/

Barb Gordon, www.GordonPhotography.Biz  (Portraits & Stories photographer) www.PortraitsAndStories.com  a photo essay project to bless breast cancer survivors, their family, and friends. Find inspiration and encouragement here through photographs and stories.

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