In 2013 I was diagnosed with stage four HER2-positive breast cancer. The news came just six weeks before our second baby was due to be born. The road ahead was long, involving a two-year cardio-toxic treatment plan, further complicated by a pre-existing heart condition (postpartum cardiomyopathy) I had developed while giving birth to our first child, Griffin.
Luckily, our unborn baby was safely tucked away in another woman’s womb, being gestated for us with love and care. At the time of his birth, I had completed 2 of 18 planned chemotherapy treatment cycles. As a result, my frail body was going through medically induced menopause, and yet... there I was having phantom breastmilk letdowns whenever he cried for milk.
Looking at it now, from an ‘all clear’ standpoint, I felt a burning need to create something tangible of it, to lay it all down in story form so I could begin to understand and process what my family and I went through.
I began to trawl the archives for visual memories to draw from when I discovered my five-year-old’s album.
Looking back, I remember encouraging him to photograph me at key moments throughout my treatment plan. I think I felt seeing me through a camera might help him process what was happening to his mother. So, in part, these photos are his memories.
Composed of recreated archival photographs originally taken by my five-year-old son, Griffin, paired with my own current reflections of the time, ‘Through My Child’s Eyes’ chronicles a chapter of time when new life and near death momentarily sat side by side. The series seeks to provide a balanced view between the past and the present, through child-adult perspectives, in sickness and in health.