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There is so much to say about my family photoshoot evening with Marisa and Drew at Max Patch. First off, these are clients from my hometown in Michigan. I photographed their wedding years ago when I first set out on my photo journey and my business was still new. Shortly after I moved to Asheville, Marisa found out she was pregnant. She wrote me and told me she would like for me to photograph her maternity photos. Of course, I was honored to be a part of this. Marisa and Drew drove down to Asheville last year to have their maternity photos with me. We went to a waterfall and then hiked up one of my favorite mountains off of the Blue Ridge Parkway. This year they came all the way from Michigan once again for their first family photoshoot with their son, Abraham.

This family holds a special place in my heart always and forever. They are not only the most laid back people but also radiate love and kindness. We had so much fun hanging in the mountains, listening to music, sharing laughs, and playing with Abraham. This photoshoot was effortless and dreamlike.

Marisa asked me to take some breastfeeding photos of her. I was more than happy to do this. I later found out Marisa is going to have to have a mastectomy once Abraham is done breastfeeding. Having photos of her feeding him was really important to her because of this.

Marisa asked that I share a little excerpt of something she wrote to bring awareness:

“In April, my OB suggested the BRCA gene test because of how strong breast cancer runs in my family. About 12% of women in the general population will develop breast cancer in their lifetime and 1.3% will develop ovarian cancer. My test came back positive. In short, my percentage is now 72% for breast cancer and 44% for ovarian cancer before the age of 80.

I will be having a bilateral mastectomy to reduce my risk of developing breast cancer once my body or Abraham decides to no longer wants to breastfeed. I haven’t scheduled my appointments with a specialist yet because honestly, I’m not emotionally ready and my OB is supportive of my decision to wait. I have also been put on a birth control to reduce the percentage of ovarian cancer until my mid 30’s and then the suggestion is having my ovaries removed.

I am aware of the 6 month “checks” but that is not what I am choosing for myself. I can’t risk it. While I am heartbroken that this is what I am going to have to go through, I am grateful that I am able to take a bit of control over this before anything truly awful could happen.

I’m hoping by sharing this, someone will do their research and consider the BRCA genetic test. I didn’t know about it and it could have possibly extended my life or even saved my life entirely. This is all very new to me and I am learning and researching about my genetic mutation. If you are knowledgeable, please reach out to me or comment below.”

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