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 Tania Lozada
My name is Tania Lozada.
Why did you join this portrait project, More Than Our Scars, with Michael Rosenberg Photography?
I said yes to the portrait project because I wanted to have a nice professional picture of this part of my life with the people who helped me with my fight. I wanted to remember that I didn’t come this far to only come this far. And I want to help somebody who has been struggling with cancer and help them in any way that I can.
What message do you have for those newly diagnosed with breast cancer?
One of the things I do is I listen to music when I feel like I’m about to give up. To someone who has just been diagnosed, the message I would like to give them is that they will be okay. Personally, there is a song called ‘you will be okay,’ and whenever I felt like giving up, I would listen to that song and it really helped me a lot. They’re going to fight the biggest fight of their lives and there will be good days, sad days, crazy days, every kind of days. But in the end, when they win the fight, they will understand. They will turn to a new chapter of their life.
Most of all, they need to listen to their doctor and follow the directions.
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 so much support from everybody! Like people that I know and people I didn’t know. It was really crazy! A lot of people came together to help me, and it was people that I didn’t even know. I had talked to them maybe three years before this. I had messages from people who I had never seen.
The people who have helped me most were my patient navigator, my parents and my sister, who was there for me the whole time. She went with me to chemo, and she actually shaved her head for me. When she was talking about it I told her no, don’t do it, but she did it. And for me, it was more than happiness because she wanted to do it and it was really hard. I know because for me the worst part of cancer wasn’t losing my boobs or being in the bed. Losing my hair was the worst part for me. That was very painful.
I know a little bit about your story, but can you tell me how you found out you had breast cancer? What was going on at the time?
In 2015, I had my baby, my daughter who was 3 months and my son who at the time was four years old. We had to move out of the house where we were living. Everything just happened so fast, I wasn’t working, then I had to look for a job and in that space, a lump was in my breast. I saw it, and I just ignored it. I did this for a lot of reasons, my daughter was really sick and we didn’t know what it was, we were in the doctors everyday. They thought she had whooping cough, but she actually had pneumonia for 5 months. She had to have surgery, so I just let it go.
One day, I was changing my clothes and I tried to ignore so much my lump, that I would never look in the mirror with my clothes. It was like, I knew I had it, but I didn’t want to look at it. So that day, I was in front of the mirror and I changed my clothes and I saw it, and I knew, I had cancer. I knew, but I didn’t know what to do.
And then what happened?
Years ago I had the mammogram, the doctor felt some lumps and that was in 2011. So I started looking for help and I found my navigator and she’s the one who helped me. She said we need to do doctor’s appointments and get a referral for a mammogram. They had to do a double mammogram and the doctor came and said she remembered me from 2011. She remembered telling me then that it was nothing, but this time it’s something, something really bad.
We did my biopsy a few days later and I was with my mom, I told her ‘I know you’re waiting for them to tell you that it’s not cancer, but it is cancer and I don’t want you to be surprised when we get there. I’m going to do everything, I’d going to fight for my life and we’re going to be okay.’
What can you take away from your journey so far?
It was so hard, but it was so fast. I had necrosis after my mastectomy but I don’t really remember it, I don’t really remember my chemotherapy now. It was hard to lose my friends, it was hard to see my friends and family suffering. I think they suffered more than I did, because there is one thing that I am. You can not tell me I can’t do something.
So, I knew, I told myself this is not going to be anything and next year I’m going to be ok. It’s just going to be a chapter of my life. But it showed me a lot of stuff. It showed me not to get upset over petty stuff. Everyday I wake up happy, I know it’s a blessing to see my kids and my family, and I forgive a lot. I’m trying to do the right thing for my kids because we don’t know where I’m going to finish so we’re trying to have a better life. It’s been a struggle.
Why do you support Komen Puget Sound?
I support Komen because if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be here right now. These are the people who raise money for free mammograms, to have the chance to learn and support, and get more information about breast cancer. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t have a navigator either. Because I know they raise money, that’s how they get paid. The navigators are basically volunteers working there, and without mine I’d be clueless. It’s really important to have the support of Susan G. Komen.
Last Question, how did you feel about your session today for the More Than Our Scars project with Michael Rosenberg Photography?
I wasn’t stressed this morning because, of course, you want to look good, right? I facetimed with the wardrobe stylist Claudia a few days ago. And a lot of the time, I don’t remember how I look, don’t remember that I don’t have breasts, and I don’t have hair. Then I go look in the mirror and am like ‘Ah! This is what I look like.’ So it was stressful, but not like uncomfortable. I was excited because I was going to get my makeup done and I love it too. I really, really liked it, I might look awkward but I wasn’t uncomfortable.
It’s really weird for me to take pictures, most of the time you take the pictures, the selfie one, it’s funny. Michael Rosenberg made me feel so good taking my pictures. I felt really comfortable, I love the makeup, I love the studio, I love you, you helped me a lot, Amanda. Thank you.
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!