To never looking back.

Last Sunday Gary told me he had a surprise planned.  Gary has his own way of showing his love…and date planning is not one of them.  But this time…this time was different.   This time we were celebrating.  Not a birthday or Valentine’s day…or any other day that would normally call for celebration…we were celebrating something much bigger.  We had been been faced with the fight of our lives…and we won.

 

This post is hard for me to write because it’s something I’ve kept very personal.  And not something that is easy to just come out and say.  But today I’m ready…because today, it’s over.  Last December…I found out I had breast cancer.  Yes…breast cancer.  As a young, ripe 26 year old this is obviously something I never saw coming.  Or ever could have imagined would happen to me.  I remember sitting in that room hearing those words…we found some cancer…and feeling almost paralyzed.   As odd as it sounds…I wanted to laugh.  Hard.  How in the world could this be happening to me?!?!?  I’m young.  I’m healthy.  I’m running a business based solely on me…I don’t have time for cancer.  As the months passed I had surgeries and more doctor appointments than I can count…and then I got more bad news.  Chemo.  This one hit me the hardest.  Besides the obvious reasons…I was about to go into my busiest wedding season yet.  How was I supposed to do that and chemo?!?!  The thought of this was…honestly…almost too much.  But at that point I made a decision.  And it’s the decision that will forever change everything.

 

I decided I could do this.  I decided that no matter what…I had enough in me to get me through whatever life could throw at me.  And with a smile on my face.  Sure…I could have sat at home and felt sorry for myself.  Or thrown in the towel and let this little hiccup get the best of me.  But no…I refused to let that happen.  I refused to be a victim.  And I refused to let cancer define me.  These last few months have been hard.  But not hard enough that I couldn’t handle it.  Staring at something so big and scary in the face…and coming out on top…puts a lot of things in perspective.

 

Since the day I started my business I was scared.  Scared of doing something wrong.  Scared of not being good enough.  Scared of failing.  Every big idea I had was stuck behind a bigger excuse of why I couldn’t do it.  Some reason as to why going after something bigger was too scary.  But not anymore.  I literally faced the scariest thing I can think of and I beat it.  So what could I possibly be scared of now?  What excuse could I possibly come up with as to why I’m not going after every single thing I’ve ever wanted.  Nothing.  To anyone out there who is scared.  Or has a laundry list of excuses as to why they’re not going after their dreams.  I beg you to let go.  Forget about the things you’re afraid of and just do it.  Make them happen.  I promise that even the scariest things really aren’t that scary after all.  And you will come out on top.

 

Me?  I’m a cancer survivor…yes.  But more than that I am a person who is no longer afraid.  I’ve realized now I’m stronger than I ever thought I could be and there is nothing life can throw at me that can stop me.  Absolutely nothing.  The choice to keep this to myself was a hard one.  I have always done my best to pour my heart and soul into this blog and always be as honest as possible.  But this was something I had to do for myself.  To prove to myself that this could not defeat me.  With cancer in the rear-view mirror I am so excited to move past this little blip on the radar and take life by the horns. To throw excuses to the wind and chase my dreams like never before.

 

On Sunday, as the sun was setting over the most beautiful city in the world…Gary and I celebrated.  We cheers-ed to beating cancer.  And to getting through this together.  But more than anything…we cheers-ed to what’s next.  And to never looking back.

 

life, breast cancer, survivor, dreams
life, breast cancer, survivor, dreams

 

 

  • Emilia Jane - July 12, 2012 - 8:13 am

    I’m crying over here! Tears of joy, love. You are so strong and so beautiful!!! And gah I am so proud to be your friend.ReplyCancel

  • Jen - July 12, 2012 - 9:14 am

    You are an extremely strong and amazing woman. Thank you for sharing this. Onward – you’ve got bigger things to tend to!ReplyCancel

  • Kina - July 12, 2012 - 9:28 am

    Oh my word Lauren… I am incredibly proud of you. It’s a good thing I didn’t know this when I met you at WPPI in February because I would have been reduced to a blubbering mess… my Mom was right in the middle of chemo then and I was feeling pretty RAW. I think people that have been through breast cancer are warriors of a whole different set… I now have an even more special place in my heart for you. I’m praying for your continued strength and sending positive energy your way.ReplyCancel

  • Amanda - July 12, 2012 - 9:30 am

    Thank you for sharing your story! It makes me feel better about the road I am now facing. I was diagnosed with breast cancer on June 7, 2012. I am only 29. I and getting ready to have surgery and will start chemo in about 6-7 weeks. It gives me hope and strength to know that I can win this battle also!!ReplyCancel

  • Sam - July 12, 2012 - 9:39 am

    Lauren, Thanks for sharing. We think of you often. Much love – the Nugent clan.ReplyCancel

  • Tara Helton - July 12, 2012 - 9:41 am

    Lauren,

    This is so incredibly inspiring. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

    TaraReplyCancel

  • Stacey - July 12, 2012 - 9:42 am

    LOVE YOU!!!!!ReplyCancel

  • Kristin Greenwald - July 12, 2012 - 9:47 am

    Lauren,

    Thank you so much for sharing so personal. I think it is so amazing that you continued to pursue your dreams when one of the biggest obstacles was set right in your way. Congrats to you and Gary and I wish you a lifetime of celebrations!ReplyCancel

  • Carolynn Haug - July 12, 2012 - 9:47 am

    You go gurl! So proud of you! You did it!!! I am always amazed how dome of our biggest challenges in life cause us to grow the most and realize our strength. Congratulations!! You’ve won this challenge!!! Yeah for you!!!

    Love,
    Your Sister in this Fight
    CarolynnReplyCancel

  • Alanna - July 12, 2012 - 9:50 am

    Hi , I don’t know if you remember me it’s been a million years I used to date Tim from 7dfc. I wanted to say how inspiring this was and you go girl! My mom is a 8 year survivor of breast cancer I know scary it can be! God bless!ReplyCancel

  • Tami - July 12, 2012 - 10:02 am

    Lauren…if you could see my face, it’s AGHAST!!! Because I’m suddenly thinking back to shooting the wedding with you earlier this year, and not ONE TIME would I have EVER guessed that you were feeling anything but hot! Lauren…I kind of want to cry, hug, and high-five you all at the same time. As someone who worked very closely with you that day, I just want to say that I think you’re amazing…and you’re not just saying these words, you literally lived it before me. Not one time did you slow down, and I am so incredibly proud of you and to know you. Thank you for doing life well and being vulnerable enough to share this!!ReplyCancel

  • Jackie - July 12, 2012 - 10:06 am

    Thanks for being vulnerable and sharing such a personal and sensitive thing. What an encouragement and inspiration of perserverance!!!ReplyCancel

  • Ann Oleinik - July 12, 2012 - 10:06 am

    Oh Lauren, I had no idea. You are so strong, so classy. There is nothing you can’t do. Thanks for being such an inspiration.ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer Dieas - July 12, 2012 - 10:09 am

    We love you Lauren ( Gary too) ! Such an inspiration and we are so proud to know you !!ReplyCancel

  • Leonard - July 12, 2012 - 10:18 am

    I can speak for Gesi and myself when I say that we are both incredibly happy for you and extremely proud of how you’ve battled this. How you’ve handled this all is very inspiring. We wish you the best.ReplyCancel

  • Lani - July 12, 2012 - 10:19 am

    Wow Lauren! Way to go. The best is yet to come!! So glad to hear a victory story :) ReplyCancel

  • Gary Truelock - July 12, 2012 - 10:22 am

    You are the strongest woman I know. I am so proud of you and glad I was able to stand beside you through all of this. It wasn’t easy but YOU did it. I love you!!!ReplyCancel

  • Sharon McCarter-Herndon - July 12, 2012 - 10:42 am

    So happy to hear that you have beat the big “C”. You are very brave, more so than many people twice your age. Thank you for bearing your soul and sharing your story . . . ((hugs))ReplyCancel

  • Kandise - July 12, 2012 - 11:18 am

    Wow. Much love to you!ReplyCancel

  • Briana Shuman - July 12, 2012 - 11:22 am

    What an amazing post!! I am so glad to hear that you are cancer free!! You are such a strong and amazing woman and thank you for sharing your strength with all of us. You amaze me!!ReplyCancel

  • KrisD Mauga - July 12, 2012 - 11:25 am

    F CANCER! I luv you finally shared this! You are such an amazing, strong beauty in this world! Thanks for being my vino sista and shoving a bottle right up cancer’s ars!
    LUV YA!!!!!ReplyCancel

  • Angel - July 12, 2012 - 11:59 am

    Going through treatment now. Thank you for the encouraging post!ReplyCancel

  • Christy Cropper - July 12, 2012 - 12:19 pm

    Thank you for sharing this! Absolutely inspiring.
    Sometimes I think I’m alone in my fears so it’s great to know others are facing the same fears… and that we don’t need to hold on to them. I’m letting go!
    Congrats and best of luck to you!ReplyCancel

  • Natalie - July 12, 2012 - 12:23 pm

    How inspiring! You are one beautiful lady – inside and out!ReplyCancel

  • Katie Jane - July 12, 2012 - 12:26 pm

    Wow – you are amazing. Thank you so much for sharing your story.ReplyCancel

  • Ashley Brokop - July 12, 2012 - 12:26 pm

    Lauren, I am so happy for you. I don’t know you, but loved reading your story and am so honored you shared all of this. My mother had cancer at 38, so cringe in fear every time I have mammogram…
    One of my close friends found out she was cancer free yesterday for the first time in about 7 years after rounds and rounds of surgery, so with you and with her I celebrate today. You are beautiful. God Bless you more and moreReplyCancel

  • Cara - July 12, 2012 - 12:48 pm

    Lauren, this is an amazing post. Since I have connected with you i have been reading your blog and always have found such joy and inspiration in what you write. Now i have to say you have inspired me on a whole other level. Congratulations of winning your battle with cancer and being an inspiration to others. Paul and I are so excited to be able to get the chance to work with you next week…will def. need to get a few cheers in for the fight you have faced and the wonderful road ahead.ReplyCancel

  • Michelle - July 12, 2012 - 12:51 pm

    You go girl! Your attitude, strength and courage is contagious. I am SO happy that you came out on top, because you wanted to and you didn’t let any other option get in your way. You are truly an inspiring woman. Cheers to your recovery and many more celebrations. xoxo.ReplyCancel

  • Maureen - July 12, 2012 - 12:56 pm

    Wa-hoo!!!!!

    Hooray!!!!!!

    Yay!!!!!!!

    Yip! Yip! Yip!

    You are awesome and such an inspiration!!ReplyCancel

  • Shana Peconga - July 12, 2012 - 1:40 pm

    Lauren,

    I am thinking of you today! I just read your blog!! How courageous you are! I will continue to think of you and your family and hope for continued remission.

    ShanaReplyCancel

  • Dolphin - July 12, 2012 - 3:16 pm

    Love you girl!! So glad you’re a survivor… just like Destiny’s Child. ;-) ReplyCancel

  • Diana Hirsch - July 12, 2012 - 4:02 pm

    Lauren,
    I have always been sooo very proud of you. You have forged ahead – and indeed, never looked back. You are a vibrant, beautiful young woman who has a LOT to offer this ole’ world.
    You are succeeding in your business, and your health, as well as your personal life. I love you with all my heart, and consider you my third daughter. I am privileged to know your strong, courageous mother – and she is someone I admire very much as well. YOU are MY hero, Lauren. You just keep charging straight ahead girl. You have my love, prayers and all the wishes I can gather up for nothing but happiness in your whole big long-lived future!!!
    DianaReplyCancel

  • Matt - July 12, 2012 - 4:13 pm

    Lauren-

    You are such an inspiring person, and Erin and I are so thankful to call you a friend. Lots of love, a humungo congrats and a big toast to a very bright future ahead for you. You Rock!!

    PS- You are also a kick A$$ photographer and deserve all the successes your business will bring.

    MattReplyCancel

  • Julie Clifton - July 12, 2012 - 4:45 pm

    Lauren, you had our prayers the whole way through your journey and we just knew you’d come out a winner. So proud of who you are and the bright future you’re facing. Love to you and that oh so cute boyfriend of yours!!ReplyCancel

  • Alyssa Turner - July 12, 2012 - 7:22 pm

    What an amazing and encouraging story! Thanks for sharing! I can’t wait to see what’s in store for you!ReplyCancel

  • Jen Sexton - July 12, 2012 - 8:16 pm

    Lauren, you are truly one of the strongest, most inspiring women I have ever met. You have proven to me & so many others to never let fear get the best of you and to always push forward towards your dreams. You’re an amazing photographer, an incredible person, and most of all a true role model. XoxoReplyCancel

  • Sally McGraw - July 12, 2012 - 8:29 pm

    Lauren, once again you’ve amazed me…never, in a million years, would I have guessed you were in the midst of this battle when I met you at Erin and Nick’s wedding. You already had my heart from the engagement shoot you did for them, and then the wedding pictures arrived and I was blown away all over again by your pure ability to capture peoples raw emotion. And then Erin told me about your blog post today and I had to read it to believe it. NO WAY!!! You are an inspiration to every single person who reads this and faces ANY kind of struggle in their life – you have certainly inspired me and I just wanted to tell you that you are one amazing human being, and it’s a privelage to know you. Keep up the battle and I want to read this blog 50 years from now that you’re accomplishing everything you set out to do – you are strong, you are WOMAN (that song is a little before your time, but you LIVE that song)!!! Congrats on the fantastic news you shared with us today.ReplyCancel

  • Ebony - July 12, 2012 - 8:50 pm

    Courageous post. Thank you for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • Amy Paulson - July 12, 2012 - 9:02 pm

    Oh sweet Lauren…grateful tears in my eyes. Thank you. For LIVING. For living into it all.ReplyCancel

  • Peggy - July 12, 2012 - 10:14 pm

    Lauren, I am Eric’s Mom and I wanted to tell you what amazing photography you did of Eric’s & Lisa’s wedding. Then I read your story and I find you even more amazing. What strength, wisdom and courage you have. I am twice your age and wonder if I would have the strength you have shown. Keep following your dreams. And thank you for the wondeful memories we will have of Eric’s & Lisa’s wedding.ReplyCancel

  • [...] and far more important imparting of wisdom, she  has inspired me to really let go of the fear and never look back! So, today…white jeans. Tomorrow, I take on the world and never look [...]ReplyCancel

  • LeolaK - July 13, 2012 - 1:28 am

    Wow, I am blown away by this news, and in awe of your spirit through your battle. Thank you for sharing your story. Congrats for kicking cancer in the rear! Many more blessings to you in your recovery and very bright future!ReplyCancel

  • Janet Wakefield - July 13, 2012 - 7:14 am

    To my beautiful (in every way) daughter. If I could have in my wildest dreams designed the perfect daughter I wanted, it wouldn’t have come close to the perfect daughter I have!
    I love you so much!

    And Gary how our family got so lucky to have you I will never know but I am so grateful that you are one that holds my daughter’s heart and soul in such a loving way! (Ok maybe we will get you a Christmas stocking for the mantle next year)ReplyCancel

  • Jenissa - July 13, 2012 - 9:18 am

    Inspiring…thanks for sharing your story and encouraging all of us to dream big! Best wishes to you and much success…ReplyCancel

  • Nicole - July 13, 2012 - 10:40 am

    WOW, I have goosebumps. Thank you for sharing your story. You are so INSPIRING.

    CHEERSReplyCancel

  • Ravyn - July 13, 2012 - 2:49 pm

    LOVE YOU SO MUCH!! Your courage is so inspiring … and duh, you’re super freaking talented! :) Realizing I’ve known you for over 1/2 of my life, and I am so very grateful you’re in it. So many amazing things ahead of you … Love you and Gary & hope to see you both soon.ReplyCancel

  • Jan Stanton - July 13, 2012 - 10:32 pm

    I read your blog early this morning that was attached to your Mom’s posting on Facebook. I’ve know your Mom for a number of years – served on BOD, spoke with Journey folks and belonged to her book club. Have met you a couple of times over the years and of course get updates from your Mom. Just wanted you to know that your words touched my heart. You are truly a gift to this world of ours. You have had an unusual and painful journey these past months but you now know what it takes to rise above and move ahead. I wish you all the best.ReplyCancel

  • sarah - July 14, 2012 - 7:48 am

    Something drew me to you Lauren. As I’m in tears reading this post because it is so honest and beautiful, I realized why I feel so lucky to have met you. At first I was so happy because of the fact that you take really good pictures. Then, I was happy because you have been so helpful during my wedding planning. But now I know what it really is… you are what every person should strive to be. You have an imediate “likeable” quality to you, yes, but there is so much more. You are incredibly unselfish, strong, warm, optomistic and every meaning of the word beautiful. I am so happy for your victory! The world is very lucky to have you!ReplyCancel

  • Zipporahk - July 16, 2012 - 2:09 pm

    You are soo amazing girl!! So amazing and such a strong woman. So glad to know you!!ReplyCancel

  • Kathleen Stott - July 18, 2012 - 10:43 am

    Lauren, Hello:)
    Your blog, that I clicked on because my son (Isaac Stott) liked it, has so changed my life!
    The change came when I read paragraph four, which started…”Since the day I started my business I’ve been scared.” That entire paragraph identified my exact problem; and thanks to you and your very humble courage which has so inspired me, I now know, ” I too can come out on top!”
    Thank you for being so brave and so transparent!!
    I will keep you in my prayers for many reasons and many seasons:)ReplyCancel

  • [...] I wrote the post.  I blogged about my battle with cancer.  I told the world about how at 26, I beat breast [...]ReplyCancel

  • [...] same month I had posted a blog about my cancer journey.  Just an honest post about everything I had been through and later that day I got an email. [...]ReplyCancel

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