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 Megan Monterrosa
Why did you join this portrait project, More Than Our Scars, with Michael Rosenberg Photography?
I said yes to the portrait project because I think it’s important to encourage other people, especially people who are about to walk through what I just walked through. I also thought it would be a really special thing to do after all my treatment and everything. Now that I’m starting to feel better and I’ve had reconstructive surgery and it would be really special.
In November 2015 I was diagnosed with stage 2B invasive lobular breast cancer on the left side. I was treated with a mastectomy on the left side, had some lymph nodes removed, couple months of chemotherapy, then radiation after that, and now I’m on estrogen blocking medication.
The message I would want to convey to anyone who sees this, is strength and hope. There is always hope. And what may seem terrifying one day, before you know it, you will walk through it and you will be okay. You can cope through a lot more than you think you’re capable of.
What message do you have for those newly diagnosed with breast cancer?
This is a loaded question, it’s going to make me cry. If you’re newly diagnosed, you need to know that you’re not alone. You need to know that there is hope for you. You need to know there are going to be some amazing discoveries you will make on this journey. It will be difficult, it won’t be the same as what those around you are walking through, but it will be your journey. It will be special and unique to you and I think there will be pleasant surprises, there will be things that will really lift you up in surprising ways that you did not expect. You are going to find strength in yourself that you did not know was there. So even when it gets really difficult and scary, you need to remember there are others around you that care, and that you can do this.
Who would you say was your biggest support through all of this? Were there any surprises, people you weren’t expecting to help or?
The only answer for that is my faith. So, I’m a christian and that has been the most helpful thing. Obviously my faith in god and just knowing that he prepared me of this before it ever happened. That I knew it was going to be a journey and I did feel alone a lot of times but I wasn’t. He carried me through everything that I went through so that was my most helpful thing.
Is there anything else you would like to share about your journey?
So, with my experience, of course when I was first diagnosed I was really surprised and really terrified because I was really young. And it wasn’t like it was a stage 0 or 1, it was stage 2B so I was scared. It was a really hard first week after I was diagnosed. But then I started to realize that I was still here because I was supposed to still be here and I was ok. I was getting up in the morning and I was still here and I didn’t even feel sick. I wasn’t really afraid of surgery because I was ok with the fact that they could take it out of me and I was ok with that. They’re so good with what they can do these days, they can reconstruct you and give you anything you want as a replacement.
It was really difficult to head in to chemotherapy, I was very afraid. I didn’t know I was going to do so well with it. It’s not easy, it’s very difficult to lose your hair. That, for me, was more of an emotional challenge than losing my breast, but even with that I learned to wear the wigs and my hair is growing back now. I’m on the other side of it. So it’s okI was supported and loved by everyone around me so I didn’t have to feel awkward. If anything, you just have a good hair day everyday because you don’t have to worry about styling it cuz it’s already styled!
You have something else to say to those newly diagnosed or other survivors?
I just want to get the message out there that even if you are afraid, it’s ok. And that it’s ok to feel that way and you will be ok. Everyone has a different experience with the treatment, but I was still me. It didn’t take away who I was, I was still able to function and be who I am. If anything, it makes you think more about who you really are and it can be a blessing in that way that you can realize what maybe should be removed from your life. So that you can have a better life afterwards. And so that you can really do the things that really matter, spend time where you want to, do what you need to do to be you. It’s a good lesson for that.
I just want to get the message out there, to have hope. Always have hope.
Why do you support Komen Puget Sound?
I have benefited from Komen Puget Sound in many different ways. The first is just as a patient, the way that they help you. I received something from the patient assistance fund which was really wonderful, but aside from that, knowing what they do for research and what they do for this local community really means a lot to me. So I know that I have benefited from technology that came from those research dollars, from the raising of the money and everything they do. I was impacted by that. And that people around me have had the chance to get treatment or even find out that they were sick in the first place.
I’ve also been really impacted by the people at Komen, they’re really wonderful and they really care about saving women’s lives. It’s something they do everyday, they’re very passionate and they, themselves, have been a huge support. They really have a heart for what they’re doing, they care and they’re serious and they’re making an impact. It’s wonderful.
Last Question, how did you feel about your session today for the More Than Our Scars project with Michael Rosenberg Photography?
I was super excited, not nervous, but excited and thought it would be super fun. I really enjoyed working with the wardrobe person, Jacqui, who came over. I’m not always great at that. So it was wonderful that she helped me pick things that work well for these portraits, looked good, and even the jewelry that went with it. It was really fun to just ask her some style questions and makes you feel more special. And for Jose, too! So he knew what he should wear and everything and it was really fun to have her over.
And then coming here, to Michael Rosenberg Photography’s studio, I think everyone has been really wonderful. I loved your welcome sign on the door, it made us feel special and then you guys were very friendly and easy going! I loved working with Stacie, I think she did a lot of beautiful things and the makeup looks really great. It was very special, I recommend anyone who has the chance to get their makeup done, it’s wonderful and you feel special and you’re worth doing that.
I just had a great experience, it was really fun to laugh and smile for the camera. Michael is very fun, he’s vibrant and a joy to be around, and he puts you at ease. Oh, and so is Amanda! Amanda is there to help you with all the little things so you don’t have to worry about anything that needs to be adjusted on you or the props. But yeah, it was a great experience!
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!