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Inspirational Stories

Fiorella

Hodgkin lymphoma

North Hollywood, CA

In September 2017, I was diagnosed with stage 2 Hodgkin lymphoma (HL), which is cancer that starts in the lymphatic system. My oncologist went over my treatment protocol, which included six months of chemotherapy treatments with one of the side effects of that regimen being hair loss. I was set to start chemo the morning after Christmas.  

Christmas morning, I shaved my head (because it was going to all fall out at some point during my chemo treatment). My family had known for weeks that I was planning on doing that before we all met up, and so when the doorbell rang, I thought I was going to be the one surprising my family. The joke was on me! My papa shaved his head also and gave me the most beautiful Christmas gift I could ever ask for! 

I began documenting this journey through a series of self-portraits, shot on Kodak Portra 400 film. One of my favorite things about film is its graceful imperfections; it was a representation of how I felt at the time. 

My last chemo treatment was on June 22, 2018, and as of July 2020, I’ve been in remission for three years. Since the diagnosis, my life has changed in a way I would’ve never expected, and for the better. It was a journey of self-acceptance and learning to love even the hardest challenges in life.  

I titled the series “Temporary Reflection” because like everything in life, it will pass.

Fiorella