If it’s possible that there’s an upside to cancer, what else can it be but surviving it?
Photographer and musician Mark Cox‘s daughter Sarah was diagnosed with leukemia, and while she kicked it’s butt, it was a three-year battle. As it turns out, surviving it was, indeed, the best part. But the second best part just might have been how strong Sarah was throughout the process that left her in the hospital for well over 100 days in all.
Along the way, Cox photographed Sarah, from pre to post chemo, to show exactly how strong she can be — and, he thinks, how strong anyone with cancer can be.
“I wanted to show the beauty of Sarah, not the ugliness of cancer,” Cox told Yahoo! Shine.
Here are some of Cox’s photos of his girl’s successful battle against cancer, along with his own descriptions of each one:
Strong 1 of 10
Photos by Mark S. Cox
Just Hangin’ Around 2 of 10
"This is Sarah having fun (with her brother) on the trampoline at her grandmother's house," Cox told Babble. "She has A.L.L. (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia), but when this photo was taken, we didn't know it yet. Also, there are nine hairline fractures in her spine. She has been having back pains, but we hadn't been able to figure out why. I just happened to be taking pictures with my new camera body that day, trying to capture all the fun they were having."
Hope 3 of 10
"We are in the hospital for the first of many "visits," this one lasting 10 days. The doctors thought it was an endocrinological disorder, but couldn't find anything wrong that fit this. An oncologist team was called in, and eventually, after MRI's, X-rays, and a biopsy, she was diagnosed with ALL. As a big surprise to us, Sarah's first-grade teacher (also a cancer survivor) showed up and gave her the hat and several other fun gifts. The two of them colored in the hat with magic markers, helping to pass the time."
Rocking the Pain Away 4 of 10
"We are now in the middle of the intense chemotherapy. Sarah has had an anaphylactic reaction to a long-acting shot the week prior, which gave us another four-day stay in the hospital. Now she has to start taking short-acting shots. Two simultaneous shots in the muscles of her thighs, every other day. There are 24 of these shots (actually 48 shots, each leg gets one, but it is over 24 days) over the course of the next few weeks. She is sitting in a rocking chair dreading the pain that is to come."
Covered Head 5 of 10
"Her hair is gone, both on her scalp and eyebrows. Winter is coming and everything is getting colder. She does not want to wear a wig, because that is not who am I right now.' We were sitting at dinner and she was cold. I had just gotten a really soft, comfy bathrobe, so I gave it to her and she put it over her head. She looked so beautiful that I asked her if she minded me grabbing some shots. (This is my favorite picture. We are at the worst part, but she still looks beautiful, full of life. I know the worst is over...I hope... and things will get easier from here)."
Sarah to the Rescue 6 of 10
"The Peds Hem/Onc (Pediatric Hematology/Oncology) Annual Summer Picnic is here. Sarah has been waiting for months to go and play. She is not feeling well, so she has to wear a mask so she won't get sicker. You can see her 'turtle shell' (we named it that, though she picked out the design) that she had to wear to make sure her spine did not suffer any more damage in the early part of treatment. With nine fractures, the doctors are taking no chances. (This is Sarah's FAVORITE picture for several reasons. It shows all that is happening on the outside, but still captures what she's like on the inside. And as a budding photographer herself, she likes all the variations of greys in it)."
Rescuing Sarah 7 of 10
"There are a number therapy dogs who come to the hospital to help perk up the kids. During one of her many overnight stays, this golden retriever immediately took to Sarah (Sarah has a way with animals)."
Coming Around Full Circle 8 of 10
"Chemo is now done. Her skin color, complexion, and hair are all starting to return to normal. There are several hats that she has learned to love, this being one of the top three (as well as a pink one just like this and the hat that she colored with her teacher - seen in the second photo)."
Falls a Fallin’ 9 of 10
"Finally getting to act like a kid again, Sarah and her brother, Liam, are playing in the fall leaves under our giant Maple tree that stands in front of our house. (This is my wife's favorite picture)."
Just Hangin’ Around II 10 of 10
"Taken in late May of this year (2013), chemo has ended, her port is out, and she has been given the green light to do whatever she wants. She can't wait to get back on the trampoline at Grammy's. She and Liam are so excited, they don't even clean off the branches and leaves before they start jumping (if you look closely, you can see Liam's legs behind hers)."
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