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Hodgkin Lymphoma Cancer Survivor
My namd is Cassandra Mitchell, I’m 33 years old. I was born in canon city, Colorado. I was diagnosed Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2011.
I was 26 years old when I felt a lump under my my right clavicle bone. I had just finished nursing school and been working in my first job for about 6 months. Although I was new to healthcare, I knew enough to know this was not a good sign and scheduled an appointment with my doctor. When I got the official diagnosis about a month later I remember thinking: “how am I ever going to have a normal life?” I had so many plans. I was going to travel, meet someone with as much energy as me for life, fall in love and have a family. Cancer was messing up my plans and I was angry! I also remember feeling extreme sadness at the thought that I would lose my hair. Such a minor thing I know, but for me it was such a source of sadness. My curly hair had always been such a huge part of my identity.
Underwater Healer About Face: I love the concept of transformation underwater. Water is healing both externally and internally. Water has a way of highlighting and amplifying beauty. I think sometimes in the healing process what we need is to be able to see a different aspect of ourselves, and to be reminded that we are beautiful because of what we have gone through. I feel strong after going through chemo and there is beauty in strength.
What do you want to do underwater?: For me there was no question. I will be a mermaid. From a young age I was fascinated with mermaids and how gracefully and beautifully they move through the water. A mermaid had always symbolized for me not only grace and strength but freedom. She can fly anywhere with just a flick of her tail. Her movements are never limited. I have always wanted to experience this lightness of being.
Before the shoot I was a little nervous. Not because I am not comfortable underwater; I learned to swim when I was three and have always been a strong swimmer. I was nervous because I am 7 months pregnant and have experienced bouts of shortness of breath and was unsure how long I could stay underwater.
After the shoot I felt very relaxed and at peace. Not simply because I had been in the water, and doing pictures underwater is more labor intensive than one might think, but because I felt so happy. I was and am very proud of myself for doing this. Not only because I have always wanted to wear a mermaid fin, but because I have conquered cancer and am stronger because of that battle. It is also a miracle that I was able to get pregnant after going through chemo.
Water cleanses, renews, and purifies. It is life. Nothing could live without water. There is so much more I could say, but to me this is the top of the list. As a cancer survivor and healthcare provider, I have witnessed the power of water in changing people’s lives. There is something so cleansing about being in water. The weightlessness and purity of being that one can feel. At the same time water is powerful. One has only to look in nature to see the effects of water’s destruction. Perhaps, however it is this duality that makes water so healing in our lives. It can destroy but it also cleanses, and this is why it has such a transformative power for all living things.
The night of the photo shoot I slept very well. My time in the water had tired me, but in a good way that made me appreciate my rest time so much more.
I would most definitely recommend underwater transformation to anyone. No matter how you feel going into it, you will gain so much from the experience. I have to say even though I haven’t seen the pictures yet, I think I enjoyed the experience so much more than I will enjoy the photos. (Although Erena is amazing so I know the photos will be so beautiful.) however I don’t think any other photo experience is as unique and challenging. I would tell anyone considering to do it. Even though not everyone is as comfortable in the water as I am, it does not matter. Erena will help you find your beauty and you will feel so relaxed and at peace by the end of the experience.
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