Beautiful YOU 2014 | Laura Gordillo Photography| Phoenix Arizona Photographer

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Meet BEAUTIFUL Amelia! This lady is truly amazing! Our fabulous hairstylists had suggest to her to take some pics without her wig. To embrace the length she had her hair at the moment. She was VERY hesitant. She did not feel comfortable at all doing that. She absolutely LOVES her wig! But somehow we all persuaded her to just try it out for a few shots. She was a great sport and did it for us. I am soooo happy she did! She looked fabulous! Both wig and without definitely suited her so well! This lady has been through so much in her short 27 years of life! She brought along her two wonderful boys! I was so happy to meet them! You could tell they absolutely LOVE their mommy!  I commend this amazing woman for being such a strong fighter! Please read her story below!

AZ, Beautiful YOU!, Breast Cancer Awareness, Buckeye, Buckeye, cancer, El Beautiful YOU 2014, phoenix, AZ, photographer, cancer survivor

AZ, Beautiful YOU!, Breast Cancer Awareness, Buckeye, Buckeye, cancer, El Beautiful YOU 2014, phoenix, AZ, photographer, cancer survivor

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When you go through so much in life you become “numb” to certain things, my diagnosis was definitely one of those times where I didn’t know what, let alone how to feel, or accept what was going on. I had just gotten back from Tennessee, where my now, 11 year old son was treated at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for a brain tumor. I had been back at work only 3 months, still working on getting back to “normal”. Now I was being told I too had that disease that threatened to take my son only 6 months prior. Within a week of my wellness checkup, I had already had an ultrasound, a mammogram, a biopsy, was diagnosed and a mastectomy in that order. After my surgery is when it all hit me, I was not ME anymore! No breast, a huge scar, I would have 4 more surgeries besides the mastectomy, I would need a port for the chemo, I would be starting chemo, I would be losing my hair, so many changes and I was only 26!

The worst thing in my life was not my diagnosis; it was having to see my son go through 2 brain surgeries and radiation. Having to be apart from my other son, those were the worst 6 months of my life. Being a single mother isn’t easy, I’ve never been one to complain about that, but add work, treatment and worrying for your kid’s health and it becomes sometimes unbearable. From Juan’s diagnosis, to being in Tennessee away from Javier, I thought I couldn’t handle anything else. Little did I know I had a long, frustrating fight of my own coming my way. Not only did I have cancer; I was fired from my job that I had been at for almost 6 years. They no longer needed someone that was taking as much time off as I was, due to my sons and my treatment. Harsh being that I worked with all doctors, you would think they would understand a little more than any other employer. Even with that I managed to get by, yes I cried, I was mad, I was sad, frustrated, but I was also happy that I was getting to enjoy moments with my boys that became much much more precious and priceless then before. My boys are my motivation, my strength, what get me through my darkest days.

Funny how throughout all of this, I never feared death, but what did terrify me was the thought of my kids having to grow up without me. That’s when I decided I would FIGHT! This was not going to take me away from them. Yeah I had my moments of weakness, of being on the verge of giving up, but looking back now I’m proud of myself for getting through it all. I am now 8 months post chemo, a week post radiation, on my 8th month of Herceptin (5 more months to go), on my 2nd month at my new job, and looking forward to my future. I’m not your average 27 year old, I never have been, but I can now say I accept and am happy with the new me… scars and all!
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Amelia

http://www.tg.stjude.org/juan

Beautiful YOU 2014 | Laura Gordillo Photography| Phoenix Arizona Photographer

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Meet beautiful Amber! This lady had such a wonderful personality!! She brought her mom along and they were both such a delight to have around! They actually stayed about 2 hrs after the event and we all just hung out and chatted! Amber opened up and shared with us her story, her struggles, and about her amazing family the support system God has blessed her with! She is a beautiful person, inside and out! Please scroll down to read her story!

 AZ, Beautiful YOU!, Breast Cancer Awareness, Buckeye, Buckeye, cancer, El Beautiful YOU 2014, phoenix, AZ, photographer, cancer survivor

AZ, Beautiful YOU!, Breast Cancer Awareness, Buckeye, Buckeye, cancer, El Beautiful YOU 2014, phoenix, AZ, photographer, cancer survivor

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Amber Childers : Courage is my strength and I believe living is something very special to be thankful for

I live and grew up in Mesa, Arizona. In my short life of 33 years I have a 16 year old son and had breast cancer twice. Although my Grandfather passed away of cancer a few years back, I’ve never known anyone to have breast cancer and thought it only happened to older woman. I led a normal busy life of work, a mother, a daughter, a sister and took pretty good care of myself. Never in a million years would I think I would be telling you this story.

The First Year
It was the summer of 2010 taking a cold shower I felt a lump in my right breast. Not a large lump but large enough to make me pay attention. Days & months past it continued to grow as did my worries. Not having health benefits or knowing there’s organizations that educate and help fund mammograms I waited. Finally in June of 2011 I was approved for health insurance through my employer. The very next day appointments were made and physical exam scheduled. During my physical exam the doctor immediately scheduled right breast coral biopsy and then advised my specialist would be in contact with me. Three long days later the breast specialist called me while I was at work and momembaled “you have breast cancer” and he needed to see me later that day. I was blind sided, devastated, and hoping this was a mistake. It all happened so fast, next I remember laying in a PET scanner having no idea what its for, just going through the motions and doing as doctors said. Its like the world exploded and I was in space being pulled, pushed in every way with no time for clarity.
Through the blur of the following months chemo started July 22, 2011. At stage 3 my team of doctors set me up with chemo every 3 weeks first to shrink the tumors than surgery. My hair thinned out after the first treatment so I had one of my good friends a hair stylist shave it off. I didn’t want to cry over hair falling out daily when I could go shopping for hats, wigs, and scarvs. Always looking to find the positive. My last chemo treatment was November 4, 2011 and I celebrated gaining life back, at least my reality and being okay it. Not showing the buckets of tears shed but the courage and strength to continue on. About a month later on Dec 18, 2011 had my double mastectomy followed with weekly radiation ending March 3, 2012. Woo I was cancer free and seeing the light at the end of this dark tunnel I continued to work. Months passed and reconstructive surgery begun.
Headed in the path of remission hair flowing and growing, skin bright and shining and andromison the meds in the past. Things continued to get better not only for me but for my son as well. Chemo, radiation or cancer wasn’t going to stop me from cheering him on in school sports but now I was able to play basketball, racquetball, catch and ride a bike with him. I could go shopping, be in public, have real conversations that didn’t include doctors, meds, or cancer. Take a long drive see earth, listen to music blaring and best of all feel the wind in my hair.

Round 2
June 13, 2013 my worst nightmare returned. I had a surgical biopsy and re diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. Not till October of the same year did treatment begin. My Oncologist said I will be on chemo for the rest of my life but I pray that it will end soon. This time it took a tole on my family especially my son “Michael”. He was starting football his sophomore year and his coaches wanted him to play on the varsity team. He didn’t want to hear the bad news from me so he found out on Facebook. The minute I seen he “liked” my comment I felt he was ready and we were able to have the conversation. A week passed and he told me he quit football, said he just was not into it and all he can think about is losing his mommy. I didn’t like his decision and wanted to ensure he knew what he was doing; giving up his first year of High School football. He reassured me he wanted to be there for me and make sure I get through this tough battle. It broke my heart, all I can do is cry. I didn’t expect anything like that from him. He’s still a kid and wished he could’ve enjoyed his childhood. It has brought me and my son closer than ever. Experiencingthe stages of breast cancer and everything that comes along with it.. being sick, having no appetite, losing my hair, and losing my breasts. Then being put back together with wigs, fake ones to feel like a lady, the out pour of encouragement, love and support from family, friends, and organizations. We both learned a lot together. Michael is so happy he sees me getting better day by day, and just seeing him makes me stronger and wants to fight more. My PET scans keep getting better, so far I have my hair and going to the center 3 times a month is helping. I will not give up!
With the removal of 17 lymph nodes on my right side I developed lymphedema and my right arm is hard to move so I have to see a therapist to help the fluids flow to the right spot so my arm doesn’t swell up any more. It is so painful that it’s hard to sleep or even go out to have a good time. Another challenge, but with the grace of God I power through the pain and get through the day the best I can.

Courage is my strength and I believe living is something very special to be thankful for. As a younger woman being diagnosed with Breast Cancer has been overwhelming but over all able to impact others in a positive way. Struggling with any type of cancer is shattering and with all I’ve been through I find ways to be a good supportive friend, able make others feel good inside as well the outside, and have a happy heart when I see them smile. I have strong faith and love for God he has truly been really good to me and has helped me get out of my tough times. “Romans 10:13”

I want to thank my dad Kelly, mom Maria, brother Jason, sister Jasie, and son Michael for all their help and support without them I would be lost in the wild. Also my awesome Brother for buying a bigger house so we can be together. Will never forget Singleton Moms for being a part of my family and my sister girls for their support and friendship I can not ask for anything more, you all are there when we need a shoulder to relief stress, or just cry. You all make me smile when it hurts, thank you for being you.

Beautiful YOU 2014 | Laura Gordillo Photography| Phoenix Arizona Photographer

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Meet beautiful Tiffany! I was so glad she was able to attend our Beautiful YOU event because she was hurting pretty bad ! You see she suffers from stage 4 breast cancer and poor thing was not feeling well at all! But she made it and enjoyed the event very much! She was so grateful and appreciated everyone who participated in the event! I had the pleasure to meet her daughter Ezri. She is as beautiful as her mama! She made her mom a beautiful heart necklace and Tiffany wore it for a few of the images I took! We also took a few mother & daughter pics and I LOVE how they turned out! Please scroll down to read more of this gorgeous lady’s story! The true definition of a WARRIOR!

Hair by: TheBoyz DoHair

Makeup by : Adriana Garcia

Beautiful YOU 2014, phoenix, AZ, photographer, cancer survivor,

Beautiful YOU 2014, phoenix, AZ, photographer, cancer survivor,

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Tiffany was first diagnosed with breast cancer in May 2004, at the age of 37, after a routine doctor’s visit found a lump. She was scheduled for surgery on July 5th 2004 and discovered the week before her scheduled surgery that she was pregnant with her daughter Ezri. She had to proceed with the surgery to remove the cancer for her own health, but the doctors were very concerned about doing surgery while she was so newly pregnant. She opted not to go through Chemotherapy during her pregnancy because she did not want to risk exposure to her unborn daughter. Doctors told her chemo can be done in the second trimester safely, but it wasn’t worth the risk in Tiffany’s mind. She and her partner had been trying for several years to get pregnant and Tiffany was just told a week before she found out she was pregnant that she would never be able to have a child due to the cancer’s dependence on estrogen and progesterone to survive.

Ezri was born in February 2005 and was a healthy baby! Ezri has had no health issues!! Tiffany was able to breast feed for 3 months and then had to take an estrogen blocking medication for 5 years to help prevent the cancer from re-occurring.

Tiffany celebrated her 5 year “cancer free” mark in July 2009 when she was told by her doctor that after 5 years with no signs of cancer that she was considered “cured”. Little did she or her family know that the cancer was likely already making a home in her bones. Her oncologist at the time failed to mention to her that the tumor markers, which were still technically in a “normal” range, had increased from the previous year.

In the fall of 2010, she saw her oncologist and got a clean bill of health, even though the oncologist did not run any tests at that appointment. Tiffany had also learned in the fall that her partner of 10 years had been cheating on her. He left her for the other woman after a few months of appearing to try to work things out. Tiffany scheduled an appointment with her PCP for check-up due to all the stress she had been under. She asked her PCP to run the cancer marker blood tests since her oncologist had not done them. The news was not good. Her cancer markers were very elevated. She was scheduled for a PET/CT scan in February 2011 only to find out the cancer was back and was in multiple locations throughout her bones. Her oncologist gave her a very poor prognosis after seeing the PET scan results. She fired her oncologist and turned to her family to help her find another oncologist. Tiffany’s brother, Tom, located the Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) and her parents immediately rushed over to talk about her cancer care. Tiffany started a very aggressive chemotherapy regimen with her doctor’s at CTCA to try to put the metastatic breast cancer into remission. The doctors say there is no such thing as a “cure” when talking about stage 4 cancer, only remission. Her bones are more brittle from the cancer & chemotherapy’s, so Tiffany has to limit her physical activities and be cautious with even normal activities. She almost reached complete remission, but then the mediations stopped working and she tried a new medication in October 2013. She had radiation in November of 2013 as well. As of her last scan, these medications are not working and she will have to try another medication regimen and perhaps more radiation. The medications and treatments cause fatigue, extreme joint pain, and other symptoms which have limited her ability to care for herself, her home, and her daughter. She has been unable to work since her diagnosis in 2011. Her family & Singleton Mom’s have been there the whole time to support her and help with her needs.

Premier Phoenix Arizona Wedding Photographer| Laura Gordillo Photography| *A* & *I* Engagement Session

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I had the honor of photographing this gorgeous couple’s engagement pictures recently and I absolutely LOVE how they turned out! They have such great chemistry! Their connection is like no other! Throughout the session I kept showing them pictures from the back of the camera and they kept telling each other “I can’t believe that’s US!” It was adorable! They totally rocked their engagement session and I am so excited to capture their wedding in Tempe next month :)

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With LOVE, to my Daughter on your 4th Birthday!

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As I am sitting here looking through pictures of you as I have done each and every year. I can’t help but think about the day you were born and feeling so worried and wondering if I was going to be a good mom? I remember driving to the hospital and holding your daddy’s hand, I was so nervous/scared! I recall being in the delivery room and trembling so much because it was so cold in there, or was it nerves? The doctors and nurses kept telling me to relax because today was the big day; I was going to be a MOMMY!!

Your daddy wanted to play it cool but I knew he was freaking out as well! Daddy tends to do that because he wants to keep me calm, he knows I tend to panic! :) I had to have a C-section because the doctor mentioned since I was about 5 months along that you were weighing above the average weight! Your daddy and I were in denial! We kept thinking there is NO way little me 4 ” 11, 104 lbs. me would be able to have a huge baby! But at 7 months along the doctor insisted we definitely do a C-section because you were already weighing 7 lbs.! I am SO glad we listened to him, because you came out weighing 9 lbs. 10.5 oz.!! No wonder mommy was soooo big! LOL!

The clock strikes 8:30 a.m. and God blessed us with the most perfect, beautiful, BIG girl! The moment I laid eyes on you I learned the true meaning of love at first site! It was a feeling like no other, it was indescribable, you were only in this world for a few seconds and already I felt like I had loved you my entire 27 years of life! How could that be possible?

Tomorrow we will celebrate your 4th birthday! Four years does not seem like a long time but I need to let you know that in these short 4 years of you have been in this world you have made the GREATEST impact in my life! It is because of I am the woman that I am today. THANK YOU for being YOU my vivacious, outgoing, talkative, hyper, crazy, polite, kind hearted, free spirited, happy, moody at times, outspoken, clumsy, adventurous little girl! You have kept me on my toes for 4 years but I wouldn’t change them for anything in this world! We have both learned A LOT from each other and our relationship, as mother and daughter will continue to evolve through the years. I know some won’t be pretty but I am ready to embark in our journey together! No matter what happens you must know I will LOVE you unconditionally no matter what!

Here are a few images of the passed 4 years of your life :) Enjoy <3 FYI My photography skills weren’t as great at the beginning! Keep scrolling down, you’ll see the difference! LOL :) THANK YOU for being my inspiration and my little model!

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Your first pictures! You were quite the model, even inside mommy’s tummy!

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This is mommy at only 7 months! People thought mommy had a basketball under her shirt! :)

Photo credit Stacia Lynn Photography

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The moment I laid eyes on you I fell in love!  Our beautiful little family we were not complete!

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Newborn pics 2 weeks old look at you! So perfect! :) Photo credit Stacia Lynn Photography

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2 & 3 months old :) We skipped 1 month pics cause mommy was very scared to pose you!

2014-05-06_00084 months :) My little fatty! ALL smiles! Starting to have a little personality here!

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5 months old :) YES mommy put you in a well! Sorry don’t know what I was thinking! ;) BUT you didn’t seem to mind!

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Had some fun shoots in between! You got some new boots here so thought we’d take some pics of you wearing them :)

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7 months here :) These were for daddy! GO LAKERS!

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Christmas pics @7 months!

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9 & 10 months here :) Already trying to stand :) Happy baby! :) YOU LOVED being outside looking at the sky and birds!

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Your baptism @ 10 months! Nani & nino bought you the prettiest dress!

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Your first Easter at 11 months! Nani made you your very first basket!

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Aunt mickie (as you call her ) sent you a cute swim suit! So we took your 11 month pics with it! YOU LOVED it! Didn’t want to take it off!

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Boy where has time gone! You are already 1! My little diva! Your tia Gabby cousins and nani had to go crazy behind me to make you smile and laugh!

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Your first time at the pumpkin patch! YOU LOvED it and I think you love it even more every year we’ve taken you! You love to pick out your own pumpkin!

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Photo credit Serene Images by Stephani Morss       Our first family pics since you were born! LOVE them!

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Your first Valentine’s,  Nani and I decided to take you out to a field to take your pics! Your tio Luis made you a cute kissing booth! You were ready for some smooches!!

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Second Easter! Nani and I took you out again for some fun pics!

2014-05-06_0004Your great grandma Elena brought you this cute outfit from Guadalajara, Jalisco so we thought we’d incorporate it with you Easter pics :)

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Now you are 2!! You were obsessed with Yo Gabba Gabba! You would dream about them and even sing their songs while you slept! haha! So That was your theme! Nani and I blew up balloons forever! But it was so worth it ! You were soooo happy and your pics turned out so cute!

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We were home and you were there just being you! Crazy hair messy and all so I decided to snap some shots!

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Having fun at the park! LOVE this pic! Swings are your favorite! You always tell daddy to swing you higher!

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Took some father’s day pics for daddy 2013 :) Nani took these pics and you made her work for these shots! haha! She was so tired after the shoot!

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You modeling some headbands and coat for some vendors in 2013 :)

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You and I were in El Paso for daddy’s b day in 2013 but before we left Nani and I took you to a basketball court to take some cool shots of you with Laker gear! My friend Jackie then delivered a canvas and cookies to his office :) He LOVED it! He says you are a future basketball star!

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Like Mother like daughter! You are such a GREAT assistant :)

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Father daughter dance 2013

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2014- You and daddy have a date night and he takes you to a father daughter dance! You have gone two years in a row! He says you LOVE it but you don’t dance with him cause you ditch him for your friends! haha ! So it begins!

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We went to visit family in the bay in July 2013! We had been to a beach before but we didn’t really go down to the sand water area. This was one of your first encounters with the beach! You LOVED it! You kept saying you wanted to go back after we came home to AZ! Grandpa Art took these awesome pics of us! He did a GREAT job :)

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Boy have you grown! Look at the difference!

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We took the one the purple outfit the day you turned 3! The one in blue we took back in March 2014 and the Doc Mcstuffins we took in April 2014 :)

Here are 4 years of your beautiful life, documented in pictures! What a incredible 4 years we’ve had!

Happy Birthday my princess Solei! Words cannot express the joy you have not only brought into daddy and mommy’s life but the lives of others! You brighten the room with your smile and you have a personality like no other! I love you with all of my heart (and right now you respond by saying  “I love you with all of my diamonds” OR the other day you responded by “I love you with all of my birthday parties” Crazy girl!) May God bless you with many many more my love!

Love you always and forever,

Mommy

 

 

Beautiful YOU 2014 | Laura Gordillo Photography| Phoenix Arizona Photographer

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Meet ANGELA! A truly amazing lady! She had been emailing Desiree before the session telling her how nervous she was and she didn’t know what to wear! Desiree told her not to worry about anything that we would take care of it! Desiree knew Angela had had a tough year and just wanted her to feel comfortable! I remember her coming in very shy and timid! I have to give a HUGE shout out to TheBoyz DoHair  and Chik A’la Mode for giving her a new do’ and look! She became an absolutely different person when they cut and styled her hair. She seemed so much more confident and brightened up so much! I was delighted to see her so happy and smiling away! Please scroll down and read her story below :)

 

Beautiful YOU, Phoenix, AZ, Cancer, Warriors

Beautiful YOU, Phoenix, AZ, Cancer, Warriors

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My name is Angela Harris, and I was diagnosed with Triple Negative breast cancer on September 14, 2012 while I was pregnant with my third child. I was 38 years old at the time of diagnosis and my daughter, Courtney, was 4 years old, and my son, Rocky, Jr. (we call him Li’l Rock), was 19 months old at the time.

The first of several surgeries was performed on September 28, 2012. I was pregnant at the time of diagnosis, so they could not perform a sentinel node biopsy, so we didn’t really know exactly what stage my cancer was in until after the birth of my son on November 9, 2012. The lump when found on September 14, 2012 was 2.4 cm. When the lump was removed on September 27, 2012 it was 2.9 cm.

I started my chemotherapy treatments on October 23, 2012 while I was pregnant. I gave birth to a happy, healthy beautiful baby boy, Mason on November 9, 2012. The doctors induced me a month early so that I would not be so weak for my second chemo treatment on November 27, 2012 or for the upcoming surgeries. On November 19, 2012, I had my second surgery to perform the sentinel node biopsy and remove any suspicious lymph nodes, install the chemo port above my left breast and to remove more tissue from my right breast. As it turns out, 2 lymph nodes were found enlarged and positive for cancer. At this point, the oncologist had informed me that I was Stage 2b, but closer to a Stage 3.

A few months prior to my diagnosis, I had started a new job which I lost as a result of having cancer. I had just bought a new car two weeks prior, which I also lost since I was no longer employed. To add insult to injury, not only were we evicted from our apartment, but the father of my 3 children decided to go a separate way, so the kids and I moved in to my parent’s house, where my caregiver is my 70 year old mother.

I have a really high chance of recurrence within the first 3 years. I still have debilitating bone pain and neuropathy in both arms and legs that prevent me from being able to maintain employment. I have already made it past 1 year, so if I can make it past the next 2 years, then there’s a good chance that the cancer will not recur. I have everything to live for – I have 3 beautiful Angels to enjoy life with and I intend to do so. Thank you for taking time to read my story.

Beautiful YOU 2014 | Laura Gordillo Photography| Phoenix Arizona Photographer

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What can I say about this lovely lady, other than she is truly UH-MAZING! I consider her a great friend who holds a special place in my heart. I have seen her endure so much, and through it all she always has a positive outlook! I admire her and her strength! Her sister is a good friend of mine. She is actually the one who hosts Beautiful YOU with me :)

When I first started my photography venture I found out about her sister suffering from cancer. I remember thinking about my sisters and how I would feel if something like this ever happened to them. I couldn’t find the words to comfort my friend. I remember texting her and telling her I’d like to gift her and her family a session. I remember Netis was not feeling very well during the shoot because had chemo that week. But the images turned out beautiful :) It was the most rewarding feeling to do that for them, and that is inspired Beautiful YOU! I heard about Singleton Moms because of these two wonderful sisters. Desiree had mentioned how amazing this organization was  and how much they had helped her sister.  I wanted nothing more but to give back in some way, since they do so much for single parents battling cancer.

Read more of Netis’s story below:

Beautiful YOU, Phoenix, AZ, Cancer, Warriors

Beautiful YOU, Phoenix, AZ, Cancer, Warriors

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Make up by Chik A’la Mode

Hair by TheBoys DoHair

Just 6 months after getting breast implants I was diagnosed with breast cancer. A few months before I got diagnosed I went to the doctors for my annual lady check, at this point it had just been 3 months since getting my implants. I had noticed a lump on my breast and it seemed to be getting bigger. I asked my Dr about it at my check up, but he said it was nothing. I explained that my dad’s sister had died from breast cancer. He said because it was my aunt from my dad’s side and not my mom’s I didn’t have anything to worry about. About 2 months later I ended up sick for a few weeks and just couldn’t kick my cold. I finally went to the Dr. they ran some blood tests and thought I might have lupus. When it turned out that’s not what it was they wanted to run some more tests. At this point I told the Dr. while you’re running more tests can you also look into this lump on my breast. She then sent me to get it biopsied and it showed I had breast cancer. The Dr. later told me that the moment she touched the lump she knew that what it was. I was devastated, I was only 29 and felt like someone had just sentenced me to death. I later called the Dr. who had done my annual check up and let him know. He then said that I couldn’t have breast cancer because I was too young. I was so angry. I know how old I am and apparently I’m not because I had it. I went on to have both my breast removed, followed by reconstruction. I think I had like 6-7 surgeries on my breasts including the first implants. I also did a year of chemo. After my treatment I was on remission for almost 3yrs. Just when everything was normal, my hair back to the length it was before I lost it and the cloud of cancer finally no longer hanging over my head…so I thought. January 2011 I went to the ER with severe chest pains. Drs thought it was my heart, and anybody who knows me knows my eating habits…fried, fried and fried some more, nothing healthy. Chemo meds can affect your heart as well. Then they said my heart was just fine. That’s when I became worried that it could be cancer again. After all my scans and test came back, the Dr told me that the cancer was back. Not only was the cancer back but it was in my bones and had spread to my sternum and spine. Devastated cannot even begin to describe how I felt. I got through it once how was I going to do it as again. Can I do it, can my kids and family go through it again? Well I am happy to say that 3 years later I still am here…we are still here fighting! Everyday is hard but one so worth fighting for. Mind over matter. I know it all may sound bad, but my cancer has not been all bad. Due to cancer I have a new outlook on life, I appreciate people, time and things a lot more and value every moment! It has also brought some amazing people into my life. I live everyday to the fullest because it’s a blessing. I will continue to fight with all I have for my 3 boys and with all the support from my family and friends.

Live, love and laugh

Netis

Beautiful YOU 2014 | Behind the Scenes |Laura Gordillo Photography | Phoenix Arizona Photographer

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We hosted our Beautiful YOU event once again this year, our second year in a row!! It was truly amazing! It warms my heart to know that so many people were so giving and were more than willing to help out which ever way they could to make this event a success! The ladies’ whose pictures were taken are a part of a non- profit organization called Singleton Moms, it is a GREAT organization that helps single parents suffering from cancer. I had the absolute pleasure of working with some fabulous make-up artists and hair stylists who were nice enough to donate their time to glam up these ladies. I, then took some beautiful glamour shots of each of them! I will be posting photos of the ladies that participated, and sharing their bios they have personally written, so you can get to know them as the strong, beautiful women that they truly are!

I cannot say it enough, how amazing and humbling this whole experience was! But we couldn’t have done this alone. It took a wonderful team of people and vendors who volunteered their time, and donated items to help make this event so successful! I’d like to thank the following people/businesses!

Special thanks to my friend Desiree, you are truly amazing! It is because of you that I learned about this wonderful organization. Thank you for all your time and dedication to make this day a memorable one for these deserving mothers!

I cannot thank my twin sister and her hubby enough for opening the doors to their home so we can host the event there. We were pretty stressed not being able to find a location and you were lifesavers to offer your home! We GREATLY appreciate it! :)

TheBoyz DoHair

Sugar N’ Spice Coffee & Tea

The Cookie Corner AZ 

Creations by Lore

Chik A’ La Mode

Adriana Garcia/ Makeup & Hair

Sun Valley Masonry for tables and chairs

Connie Benavidez for donation (Bath & Body Works)

Kim & Rick Colburn donated our delicious lunch

Monetary Donors: Melinda Barned, Ofelia Rojas

Juan & Lorena Figueroa for allowing us to host the event in their beautiful home

Beautiful YOU, Phoenix, Arizona, Cancer Warriors,

Beautiful YOU, Phoenix, Arizona, Cancer Warriors,

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Beautiful YOU 2014 | Laura Gordillo Photography| Phoenix Arizona Photographer

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Meet Colleen! This woman is beyond amazing! Single mother of 4 and she talked beautifully about her kids! She is a proud mother and I could tell by the little time I spent with her, her kiddos are her pride and joy!

I remember her mentioning during the shoot that she hated wearing wigs! Her father bought her a very expensive wig and she didn’t like wearing them because they are so uncomfortable and make you sweat. But she decided to wear one just to see how it looked :) We were able to take a few shots with just her bandana, that she wears most of the time :) Please scroll down to read Colleen’s story!

Make up by Adriana Garcia

Hair by TheBoyz DoHair

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Here is Colleen’s story:

When I first found out that I had Cancer I cried (like we all do). The first thing that popped into my head was “Oh NO what about my kids” I am a single Mom with 4 kids, I can’t have Cancer. The very second thing was “Oh God what have I passed onto my kids” I am defective with this cancer and now I have passed this horrible disease on to my 4 babies. So immediately asked was there a way to know if I had passed this onto my kids. There was a test to see if you carried the gene and thank God I did not have the gene. I then thought “Oh my gosh what is my boyfriend going to think of my breast getting all cut up”. WILL I EVER BE THE SAME!!!

I found out that I had Cancer on October 29, 2008 (my second daughter’s birthday). I went into survival mode and started reading EVERYTHING I could along with my then boyfriend and family. I was immediately rushed from place to place getting tons of test done to see if my body was strong enough to withstand the Chemo. After I was cleared that I was strong enough to have Chemo I had to go into surgery to have a Port put in. Nobody really ever talks about these but I was NOT happy that I had to have the “foreign thing” in my body! The Port is where they administer the Chemo.

So I started Chemo…………..I was told that I had to cut my hair (it was very long) because when it started falling out you did not want to have long pieces of hair all over, you will get mouth sores, you will be sick (tons of other things but I will save everyone from that). I know it sounds silly but this was all very shocking hearing ALL of the things that were going to be happening to you & you body.

I had Chemo for six months every other Monday, each session would last for 6-7 hours, then the next day I would have to go back and get a shot to boost my white blood count, to even get in the car to get this shot was so hard (I had to be driven because I could not drive). After I was done with the Chemo I then had to go and have my Breast removed and also the Lymph Nodes in my left armpit. I requested that they remove both of my breast. While I was having Chemo each week I would hear all these women in the waiting room talking about how they had only had 1 breast removed and now it is in the other side and I knew I did not want to go through this Chemo again. I elected to have reconstruction done at the same time. The surgery was about 8 hours and I was in the hospital about a week due to complications. So about a month’s time goes by and I have to start radiation. I had radiation 5 days a week for two and a half months. This was defiantly way easier than Chemo but you do get very tired and your skin takes a beating. Imagine getting the worst sunburn of your life and then going back out in the sun everyday for two and a half months.

After my Chemo and Radiation was done I was blessed enough to have my boyfriend (he was German) take me to Germany for a month to recovery.

After I was all healed the reconstruction process began (I am still doing it), this has taken a lot longer than I ever imagined, nobody tells you what the Radiation does to your body and how BAD it will affect the outcome of your reconstruction process. I have been through multiply breast surgeries, one of which put me in the hospital where I almost died due to my body going septic from the implant.

So I was just starting to get back into the grove of my life when my doctors office called and said “Colleen you have not had a Pet Scan in a year and a half we need to get you in for one”. I questioned why I would need a Pet Scan when I had both of my Breast & Lymph Nodes; I was told it was just routine. This was February 2011…………….My cell phone rings and I hear my doctors voice (I immediately know this is NOT good) he goes on to tell me that they found a spot on my spine that he is pretty sure is cancer and one on my liver that may be cancer. WHAT I think I can’t have cancer again………..YOU took my breast how the heck would I get cancer AGAIN!!!! I asked him just that and he went on to say that if just 1 cell is left behind that you will get cancer again. He said “Just calm down we need to get a biopsy of the spot on your spine & do another test on your liver” The thought of them doing a biopsy of my spine was NOT a pleasant thought to me, what if they slipped and I was paralyzed. Well I go into the hospital and have the biopsy done. I have to go see the doctor to find out the results, he tells me my liver is fine but I do have cancer again and it is in my spine. I was in shock!!!!!

I said, “You did not tell me what stage I was”.

He said “Well you are stage 4″

I said, “Does this mean I am going to die?”

And he said, “YES……YOU are going to die….you will not die this year (2011) and probably not the next year (2012) but you will defiantly die the following year (2013)”

I was speechless!!!!!!!

Again we all went into survival mode, he wanted me to have Radiation but if I opted for Radiation I would not be able to have surgery. I did NOT want this cancer in my body. So we did some research and found a GREAT doctor at Mayo that removed the tumor but I had to have one of my vertebras removed and a cage put in my back. This was a VERY LONG process. The operation took 10.5 hours and I was in ICU for a week then in the hospital for an additional two weeks then I was transported via ambulance to a rehabilitation hospital where I was there for two more weeks and I still left in a wheelchair. I had to learn how to walk all over again.

Then in a routine Pet Scan (September 2011) they found another spot on my spine. When I went in to get the results of the Pet Scan my doctor said “I do NOT want you to have the operation but to go into a Chemo study” when I asked him “How long I would have to have Chemo for?” he replied “For the rest of your life” I once again went under the knife and had it removed, this was not as bad as the first operation it was only an outpatient procedure. He is no longer my doctor.

I have Pet Scans every three months. So once again during a routine Pet Scan they find 3 tumors in my liver (February 2013) so I discussed my options with my new doctor and she gave me 3 different ways we could treat it. She did strongly recommend Cyber Knife (pin point radiation). So I went and had the Cyber Knife done and after three months I had a follow up MRI and there was no trace of the cancer.

Well during yet another routine Pet Scan (October 2013) the found several 10 to be exact tumors…… 1 in my Femur, 1 in my left Rib, 1 on my spine, 1 on my Iliac Joint & 6 in my liver. Well now I have to have Chemo again, so I have to go into the hospital and have a Port put back in. I had to have the Iliac Joint & Spine tumors treated by Cyber Knife due to the pain and restriction in my mobility. I have to say that Chemo has come a very long ways because this Chemo is not as hard as the first time.

On March 4, 2014 I just got the results of my Pet Scan and EVERYTHING looks GREAT, they did find a spot on my lung that she is going to have the Cyber Knife doctor take a look at and see if he wants to zap it otherwise my doctor says that I can have a break from the Chemo.

So when you tell people that you have had cancer 6 times……………….they say “WOW how do you do that” and my response EVERYTIME IS……………………”HOW DO YOU NOT???”

I have 4 AMAZING children that sill want, need, desire their Mother to be around!!! I WILL NEVER STOP FIGHTING!!

Remember Cancer is what you have….. It is a part of you…… it is NOT the whole YOU…… it does NOT define YOU………it does NOT make YOU……SO GO LIVE YOUR LIFE……..THANKS BE TO GOD!!!!

I would also like to Thank Singleton Mom’s and all the wonderful ladies I have met over the years!! With a big Thanks to Laura & Desiree for putting together the Beautiful YOU Event!!! Xxx ooo

Premier Phoenix Arizona Baby Photographer | Laura Gordillo Photography | Baby *M* 1 Year Milestone Session

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I cannot believe this little guy is 1!! I remember his newborn shoot as it it was yesterday! Mom came in with some adorable props! A froggy hat, grandpa’s Super Bowl ring, and a little couch which had his name stitched on it! After that, I had the pleasure of taking his milestone sessions every 3 months! It has been wonderful to watch him grow! He was an early walker! He was walking a little before his 9 month shoot! He’s such an incredible little guy, and I am so honored to be his photographer ♥

For session information please visit http://www.lgordillophoto.com/

1 yr, session, milestone, baby, photography, phoenix, az

1 yr, session, milestone, baby, photography, phoenix, az

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