On Friday, December 14, 2012 Rita began her first chemotherapy treatment. It is the first of four chemo treatments using a medicine that is called the Red Devil. It’s reputation is derived not just from its color but from the side effects that it can cause. All of those who know and love Rita prayed that it wouldn’t be terrible for her. So far it appears that our prayers have been answered.
I went to see her the day after her first treatment just to keep her company. She was tired and a little nauseated but she was cheerful and ready to go try on wigs before she loses her beautiful hair. I couldn’t believe she was up to leaving the house. Off we went to a very special store in Lewisville that caters to those who are going to lose their hair due to cancer or other illness. It was a place where she could become a redhead, a goth, someone with short spikey hair or someone with longer curls than she normally has. There was plenty of laughter as she changed looks and personalities to match whatever she donned on her head. When we left, we planned to return in two weeks for a wig but before long, Rita decided to skip the wig idea and wear hats and scarves instead. As you look at these photographs, you can see she has a great sense of style. I have no doubt that her hats and scarves will be striking, stylish and beautiful on her.
Rita went back to work a few days later but was very tired. Unfortunately, she began running a fever and her white cell count dropped so drastically that she ended up in the hospital and spent Christmas there with round the clock antibiotics and shots to bring up the white cells. Her room was decorated with a pink Christmas tree and lights thanks to her loving and thoughtful husband. Her white cell count did improve but it took several days.
Rita never ceases to amaze me. She is out of the hospital and doing very well. Her faith and trust in God is sustaining her and touching many who are following her journey. She is using it to help others who are going through cancer right now or who will have to go through it in the future. I am in awe of her strength and in how she is dealing with each new phase of this. Her hair began to fall out earlier than expected so on Saturday I went to her house to photograph her hair stylist cut her hair off in stages and finally shave it all off. True to form, Rita managed each stage with strength and a sense of humor. We were amazed at how lovely she looked even when the hair was all gone. Of course, we all laughed at the mohawk stage as I snapped photographs.
The next blog is going to introduce the new Rita with her cool hats and scarves. I have a glamour portrait session planned with Molly once again doing her makeup within the next two weeks. You will be ready to shave your head when you see the images of beautiful and stylish Rita.
The images in this blog post are from the Rita’s Journey shoot we did at the train station. What a difference a couple of weeks makes in the weather. The next session may have to be shot in winter coats!