This post here is a little different than my normal session post. This one is a bit deeper, a life story. Julie and I have been friends since 2010. I met this beautiful lady while working at David’s Bridal. After I had left that job, Julie and I had stayed in contact with each other. I have learned so much from her and I know that anyone can agree with me when I say she truly leaves a impact on your life after meeting her. Julie has been fighting this fight for 10 years, so her story is not a short one.
In September of 2006, Julie was diagnosed with Stage 3 Breast Cancer. She had received 16 weeks of Chemo and 39 radiation treatments until the Cancer was gone. Over the years, she went in to get her checkups to make sure she had a clean bill of health. In October of 2013, she received the dreaded news. Cancer is back, but this time is was a very rare cancer caused by her previous radiation. It is called Radiation Induced AngioSarcoma. This cancer is so rare that only 100 cases have been diagnosed world wide. Not many doctors know much about it which is why Julie had to travel to Houston for her specialist at MD Anderson Cancer Hospital. This second battle was very difficult. It included week long stays in the hospital, more chemo, and surgery. She fought this battle with grace and still worried about how everyone else was handling it. My friend has such a big heart and she never lost that in the process. In January of 2015, she was given the all clear! She beat battle number two with strength and hope!
Fast forward to an evening in late November. I was sitting on my floor working on some photography stuff when I saw a missed call from Julie. I said, I will get her called back here when I get these last few photos edited. Next, a text message from her sister, Lainie appears asking about my Miche purses. Instantly I though, this is weird… so I called Julie and instantly I knew something was wrong. She told me the news that the Radiation Induced AngioSarcoma was back for the second time. A ton of questions and emotions had filled my mind, but I had a hard time putting words together.
Why is this happening again?
Julie, doesn’t deserve this.
What will the outcome be? What have the doctors said? Do you have to travel down to Texas again?
Did they miss something the first time?
I was so frustrated, angry, mad, and sad for Julie, but I had to keep it together.
I just kept thinking, stay strong, she needs her support system now more than ever. She will kick cancer’s butt once again.
Since November, Julie’s life has been tuned upside down again. She has been going through her chemo treatments and working with a team of doctors here in Nebraska. In November, we were all looking for some answers. The scary part about this cancer is that nobody has answers. It is so rare, that not many studies have taken place. The other strange part, is that Julie’s cancer is like a ghost. The only test that will pick it up are the biopsies. Julie had 6 biopsies taken, two of which came back positive. The doctors do not really know exactly where the cancer is located, so by doing this mapping technique, it helped located it to an area. They are hoping that this chemo treatment will help shrink the area. Julie has a chemo regimen of two weeks on, one week off. She has the week off because of this new chemo drug that is given during the second week, Julie’s body needs a week to recuperate from it. It is starting to take a toll on her body. I can positively say, from where we were at in Nov to yesterday’s treatment, the area looks 100 times better!! So we are all hopeful in thinking that this is working!!
We are documenting her journey on a blog, so if you want to keep see how she is doing each week, please check it out! The support and love that she is receiving is what keeps her thinking positive and keeps her fighting strong. The blog is: https://juliewilliamsen.wordpress.com. Julie had asked me to take so photos of her and Duke this year. I love how they turned out! Duke is her baby! He is so spoiled and so loved!! We had so much fun hanging out and laughing while doing this.
A few of these last photos of us girls at girls night. This specific night we went to Chevy’s. It was a few days before we had found out the bad news. We laughed so much this night and even “celebrated” Julie’s birthday! This is a night that I know, I will NEVER forget!!
These last two are a few of us at her Chemo treatments. Erin and I try to visit her as much as possible during the treatments. Even though Julie tells us, “it’s ok if you don’t come, I look forward to napping!” It is so inspiring to see the fight in her every day. You honestly don’t know what you are capable of, until you get put into a specific situation. She has taught me so much about life, and what is important, and also about myself that I don’t know how I can ever thank her. I am so blessed to call this beautiful lady one of my friends!
Now that you have read Julie’s journey, I want to reach out to each and everyone of you. We are putting on a benefit to help with Julie’s medical bills. It is Sunday, April 3 at Hidden Valley Golf Club from 1pm-5pm. We would love to see you all there. If you can’t make it to the event and still want to donate, Julie has gofundme page set up also at: https://www.gofundme.com/x943q95b. Julie is one of the most selfless people that I know. She would literally give you anything that she had just to make sure that you are ok. It is our turn to give back to Julie. We sincerely appreciate your love and support.