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"Learning to Appreciate Life." Natalie's Story

Back in December of 2018, Natalie found out some difficult news: she had breast cancer. It all started when she found a lump under her armpit. She honestly didn't think much of it but decided to get it checked out anyway. After a few tests it was shown to be pre-cancerous. To take extra precautions she saw a specialist at the U of M. This began the long process of taking every test and scan in the book leaving Natalie feeling nothing more than a "cut dummy."

Eventually she was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer and has started chemotherapy. During the process, Natalie has been trying to find peace and joy in the unknown of her situation. One of the most difficult questions she has been asked by friends, family and has been asking herself is, "How long do I have and am I really dying?".

During one of her appointments she was discussing things with her doctor some advice stuck in her mind,

"People with terminal illnesses learn to appreciate life and people much more than the rest of us."

So that is what she is trying to focus on, learning to appreciate whatever time she has left. To be honest, that's what all of us need to do regardless of known illnesses: appreciate what we have.

Natalie said, "I'm not afraid of dying but afraid for my 19 month old."

Natalie is a single mother and as scared as she is to leave her child alone, she finds strength in it. Natalie said she didn't know if she would fight as hard if it weren't for her child.

One of the things most women who find out they have cancer fear is losing their hair, this was true for Natalie as well. In the whirlwind of everything that she had going on she decided to schedule something with us at Sugar and Spice Photography.

Natalie talked about her thoughts leading to the photoshoot,

"I'm a single mom and I wanted to do a sexy photoshoot because in case I find a special person in the future I will have something for them to look back on to see me before I got very sick."

She also wanted the photos for herself to remember what it felt like to be healthy and beautiful. The thought of being pampered at the time was a huge plus of getting the photoshoot done as well.

"The photoshoot was one of the funnest things that I've done for myself. I loved all of my photos and am very happy with how they turned out. They made me feel really good about myself."

The entire process has changed Natalie into a different person and she is learning to take advantage of things that she would never do before. One of the last things that Natalie said to us after explaining her story was truly inspiring. She said,

"It's a blessing in disguise."

She is a true inspiration of how strong women can be. We were so blessed to be able to share such an intimate experience with her and show her how beautiful she is and always will be, despite what's going on in her body.


<3 Natalie Thacker

& the Sugar and Spice Girls

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