Cheers to Being Alive – Maui Family Portraits

Last February, Tanyis was putting on self-tanner when she came across a lump.  An alarmingly large lump that had never been there before.  In that very moment she suddenly knew two things clearly:

1.  It was definitely cancer.
2.  She would not die.

Her doctors told her it was the worst kind of breast cancer she could get.  Triple negative breast cancer, to be exact.  It’s the type of breast cancer they have genetic testing for.  Women that test positive for the BRCA gene typically undergo drastic preventative surgery – full hysterectomy, mastectomy, and all the other -ectomys.  But she didn’t know she carried the gene and was never tested.

I met her family of four on the beach at the tail end of their vacation for some Maui family portraits.  They were celebrating a year of fighting tooth and nail against a deadly disease, and she had come out the victor.  Her hair was finally growing back.  And watching her love on her children through my lens was beautiful.  And deeply emotional.

After the sun set, we settled into our favorite restaurant for dinner.  Tanyis shared more of her story and the absolute miracle she has in her children.  Because if she had known that genetic testing for the BRCA gene was in order, she would have tested positive.  And she would have had the surgeries.  And she wouldn’t have the little loves that made her fight harder.  Love deeper.  And get out of bed every single day.

That night we cheersed to her children.  To her husband that loved her through every step.  And to being alive.

Happy Friday!

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