There's no better way to celebrate Valentine's Day than with a good love story. Every good love story has certain elements in common.There's got to be someone you can root for, someone who's got some obstacles to overcome. It's even better if that someone is a couple in love. So meet Eric and Pam. We were lucky to get to spend a beautiful February afternoon with them, wandering around in the sunshine, after what seemed like months of cold, gray, dreary weather. They let us bring our cameras.
(Eric and Pam have been together for quite a while, and like most happily settled couples,
they have an easy way with each other that is wonderful to be around.)
Now, every good love story has to have an obstacle that our hero and heroine must overcome. A problem, an issue, a sticking point. A boulder in the path. If there's nothing at stake, we lose interest in the story pretty quickly. Pam and Eric's boulder was a golf-ball-sized cancerous tumor, discovered when she was rushed to the hospital this past summer. Weeks of anxiety followed as test after test was performed to try to locate the source of the cancer so that it could be eradicated. Through it all, the couple clung to their friends, family and their faith, but most of all, to each other.
Finally, tests revealed a rare form of bladder cancer and surgery was recommended. Pam, with Eric by her side, soon found herself on a roller-coaster-ride of emotions. In her Caring Bridge journal, Pam wrote, "I am still very nervous and can't believe I really have to go through this surgery. I keep waiting for Eric to wake me up and tell me it was all just a terrible nightmare." In the US alone, over 1.5 million cases of cancer will be diagnosed every year, but as mortals do, we just never think it will happen to us. We promise "for better or for worse" and pray that "worse" never happens. Through it all, the bad and the worse, Eric was with her, holding her hand, asking questions of the surgeons, updating her Caring Bridge journal when she was too weak and a million other things, large and small, to make this journey less painful for Pam. His Facebook updates were frequent, often asking for prayers, sometimes filled with frustration, often-times hopeful and optimistic. Surgery was scheduled for early October at Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Arizona. A journey this couple never expected to make was underway.
Finally, in late October, tests revealed that the surgery was successful. Cautious optimism was the watch-word, as Pam wouldn't be declared cancer-free until a check-up in December. But as her doctor (whom Pam jokingly called "Doogie Howser" because of his youth) declared, all the post-surgery tests came back "negative, negative, negative." Reason enough to celebrate.
After Pam's December check-up, tests to look for cancer in the lymph nodes came back beautifully clean. Her prognosis is excellent: Pam is cancer-free!
In her Caring Bridge journal, Pam wrote: "Eric has been, as usual, right by my side and helping with whatever he needs to.
Thank you my love! You make my heart happy."
As you can see, this story has a happy ending. Pam is radiant with health and happiness.
(A little TLC from Jennifer Parker-Buenviaje at Makeupforyourday doesn't hurt!)
I just love her smile!
I told Pam I wanted to create a photograph that would give her inspiration and strength when she needed it and asked her what that picture would look like. She
replied simply, "It would be a picture of Eric." Done.
Eric and Pam, thanks for letting us photograph you and allowing us into your love story.
Happy Valentines' Day. Here's to many, many, many more.
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