More Than Our Scars: Martha Zuniga

More Than Our Scars

Earlier this year, Michael Rosenberg Photography partnered with Susan G Komen Puget Sound to create the portrait series, More Than Our Scars, which aimed to redefine breast cancer and its survivors. During this portrait series we met eleven incredible women and heard parts of their stories through interview. Read along and learn about these strong, beautiful women and their journey thus far.

We will be releasing a new story every Sunday with images from their sessions and behind the scenes images. Also, we will be releasing more behind the scenes videos as we complete them. So keep an eye out on our facebook and instagram pages for more!

 

Interview with Martha Zuniga

Martha Zuniga: More Than Our Scars Portrait Session with Michael Rosenberg Photography

Our First More Than Our Scars Portrait Session

My name is Martha Zuniga.

Cancer for me was a shock because I‘ve worked in prevention for many years in my community. Finding out I had been diagnosed with breast cancer was like, why me? Why me? I’m aware of this, but why? It’s something I didn’t understand at that point. I also found out later that my sister got it too, and later that my mother, got it too. It’s was like, hmm. Okay, let’s do it.

Why did you join this portrait project, More Than Our Scars, with Michael Rosenberg Photography?

I said yes to this project because I think my Latino community, my lesbian Latino community, and my butch Latino community also, is a minority. We don’t talk too much about this, about health issues and about sexuality, about these kinds of high topics in my community. And I think it’s time, that we need to start talking about it. Because the way it happened to me can happen to anybody – to anyone. It doesn’t matter, because cancer is something that can show up at any stage of your life, to anyone. It doesn’t matter whether it’s someone who’s aware, like me, or if you don’t know anything about it. So it’s time to talk about cancer prevention.

What message do you have for those newly diagnosed with breast cancer?

My message for people who already have a cancer diagnosis is don’t be afraid. There are a lot of things you can do, it’s your decision, it’s your body. You can take the decision whatever it is. If you decide you don’t want to fight the cancer in the usual way or you don’t want to follow the protocols, like many people do, if you can handle the double  mastectomy or mastectomies, do it. If you want to go through the whole treatment, do it.

If you need support, there’s a lot of support out there. You know, there’s a lot of groups, Susan G. Komen is doing a great job around this county, around this state, and around the nation. So, just look for information, look for resources, it doesn’t matter if you are recommended or not, there are resources out there for you. The only thing that is important is your health, is your life. So, get out!

Who would you say was your biggest support through all of this? Were there any surprises, people you weren’t expecting to help or?

I have had the support of many people around me, especially my friend. She was at the time the director of the YWCA and in charge of the Susan G. Komen project. Actually, she was the one who taught me about how to do outreach in the community. She was with me during that whole process. I have very good friends who helped me a lot. But, I think the support of Susan G. Komen and the BCCHP program was a lot for me because at the time my income wasn’t enough. I doubt I could have done anything without that support; it was important to me.

So, that’s how I’ve been doing this year, and I can say I’m a winner because I’m alive. I’m trying to create awareness in my community but at the same time I’m celebrating my life, my sister’s life, my mother’s life, and saying it can be possible. It can be possible.

Is there anything else you would like to share about your journey?

My mother doesn’t know about my sister. Maybe in the future we can talk about it. We are just waiting until my mother is all way through. My sister’s already done with chemo and radiation. She’s just going to go through 5 years treatment. I decided even when my cancer was the same stage as my sister’s I decided the double mastectomy, because I don’t want to live with that thing inside of me, especially after I found out about my mother’s too. It’s weird; three in the same family in the same year with no history of breast cancer in the family. So this was my decision; and I don’t want reconstructive surgery because this is me, with or without breasts, this is me.

Why do you support Komen Puget Sound?

I want to say think you to the Susan G. Komen organization. I just want to say you can do it, if I can do it you can do it. Just go outside; ask. Don’t stay inside of your home. Don’t feel sorry for you. This is not the time to feel sorry. It’s time to go and look for your health and fight for your health.  Doesn’t matter anything around you.

Last Question, how did you feel about your session today for the More Than Our Scars project with Michael Rosenberg Photography?

Today I had a very good time; it was fun. Actually it is my first time doing a photo session. Michael and Amanda were awesome and thank you so much!

 

Martha Zuniga: More Than Our Scars Portrait Session with Michael Rosenberg Photography and Komen Puget Sound

Martha Zuniga in her full aztec outfit

Martha Zuniga: More Than Our Scars Portrait Session with Michael Rosenberg Photography and Komen Puget Sound

Such an amazing woman.

Martha Zuniga: More Than Our Scars Portrait Session with Michael Rosenberg Photography and Komen Puget Sound

We thoroughly enjoyed meeting Martha for our first breast cancer portrait in the series.

Learn more about Michael Rosenberg Photography and our projects by exploring our website! We are a fine art portrait studio focusing on family portraits, senior portraits, and more. Meet the stylists who were a big part of More Than Our Scars and another of our projects, Our Generation, by clicking here.

Reach out to us with any of your questions or comments, we’re always happy to hear from you!

 

Other More Than Our Scars Participants from Komen Puget Sound

Next Post: Kathleen Sutton

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