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Feel Beautiful - Feel Empowered...

Through Your Emotional Healing

by Lorie Dudley

Monica is a beautiful, thirty-eight year-old mother and breast cancer survivor. Five years after being diagnosed, she is a different person inside and out, but it has been a very long and painful journey. Her physicians initially tried to preserve her right breast by performing a Lumpectomy; a surgical procedure where only the tumor is removed. When a clear margin was not achieved and doctors wanted to remove the breast, she elected to have a double Mastectomy instead. A twelve-hour reconstructive surgery, called the Tram Flap, where fat tissue is removed from the stomach to make two new breasts, was later performed, but was unsuccessful and her right breast was removed. Monica lived then with just one breast for a year, using a temporary prosthesis until she decided to have the left breast removed entirely and doctors inserted implants.

Following the first two surgeries, her doctors informed her that she would require eight chemotherapy treatments; which turned into ten. During treatment she lost her hair and nails and adding insult to injury, her job and insurance.

Monica now has long, beautiful, black, shiny hair and she is free of cancer, but she still looks at and thinks about her scars every day. So when an acquaintance suggested she allow Maureen Benoit to photograph her, her initial reaction was – “No way! I’m a cancer survivor! I have scars!” The woman insisted that Maureen, who has photographed many breast cancer survivors, would photograph her so that the scars would not be visible.

Maureen knew that Monica was concerned about the physical scars when she met her but Maureen hoped that by capturing her sensual essence through her eyes and soul Monica would find some emotional healing through this boudoir photo experience and view her physical scars a little differently. When she returned to Maureen’s studio to look at the photos she could hardly believe that the beautiful woman in the photographs was her. Today, she tells her story with pride and dignity and hopes that her pictures and her story will inspire other cancer survivors and give them hope. For information about breast cancer, support groups, and information about how you can volunteer to help, visit the American Cancer Society on the web at HYPERLINK

Maureen Benoit • 661.476.9772 CELL or TEXT • 818.701.5001 Studio