Jessica's Story, written by Jessica herself.
5 and a half years ago after years of chronic back pain I had a breast reduction. It took 8 months and weekly trip to nurses to heal after the stitches ripped open. I am now left with scars on both breasts, the largest scar measuring 5 cm long by 3 cm wide causing me to feel disfigured. For Christmas the next year I decided to do a photo shoot with lady luck for my fiancé at the time (husband now).
The amount of support Jennifer shows is beyond description. She left me feeling so good about myself that it started my love affair with her and the studio.
My son was born on March 5, 2015 via C-section after a very long stalled labour. At 7 weeks old he was hospitalized with a major bladder infection for 3 weeks requiring isolation for 2 of those weeks. I stayed with him for those 3 weeks.
My body really took a hit; hospital food is nonexistent when you are not a patient so I relied on my mother to bring me food, fast food being a staple. I gained back all of my pregnancy weight. I’ve spent all my time and energy with my son and my weight loss goals have taken a back seat.
I returned to work in December working midnight's at a hotel and I spend my days taking care of my son until my husband comes home to relieve me. I sleep about 4 hours a night and get up for work. I repeat the process 5 days a week leaving me exhausted.
I made the decision to do a photo shoot for my husband this year and as much as it was supposed to be a gift for him, it was a gift for me as well. I was in need of a reminder that I could be damn sexy no matter what my waist size was. That beauty comes in all shapes and sizes and if my son and my husband don’t care about my weight, why should I? It was time to embrace my belly and embrace my beauty.
Jennifer and Deanna helped me do both of those things and left me feeling amazing about myself. - Jessica
When I was 27 years old I was rushed to the emergency department at McMaster hospital having massive bleeding complications. They told my mom I may not make it. My hemoglobin was below 50 (when normal is over 120), my blood pressure was so low it was basically non existent. My dad cried when he saw me because I was so white I blended into my pillow. I was given 3 blood transfusions. They did an endoscopy & a colonoscopy. I was diagnosed with Crohns Disease. Over the next 7 years I was in & out of the hospital so often I felt like I lived there. Until finally they just did surgery to remove 7 inches of my small intestine. Despite the ugly scar on my belly ruining my cute innie belly button, I was in remission for the 1st time in 7 years I was well!
In March 2007 I became pregnant with my 2nd son. On October 29 2007 I was rushed to an emergency delivery of my son Kinley. My pregnancy had been filled with complications, so when they saw Kinley had an enlarged spleen & liver they said it was safer to do an emergency c-section to see why. He was rushed away from me & when I got to see him the next morning I was confronted with the news. They believed my son had a blood disorder. At 2 days old it was confirmed that my beautiful brand new baby had been born with Leukemia… The odds were one in 5 million. Despite their recommendations to enjoy what time we would be given, I asked them to proceed with treatment. Screw the odds! I mean the year before Kinley was born, my brother survived a gunshot to the throat in Afghanistan that should have killed him. He not only survived but was thriving despite his horrible prognosis.
Our family doesn't quit! So I prepared with my new son for the battle of our lives! He survived 6 rounds of chemotherapy, achieved remission against all odds, relapsed on his 6 month birthday & took his angel wings July 2, 2008. I watched as they removed the oxygen mask & NG tube from my 8 month old son’s body. His fight with Leukemia was ending. They sedated him to keep him comfortable. They lay his tiny body in my arms for the last time. For 3 minutes he continued to breathe. Slower & slower… He shuddered twice… Gone… I felt the life leave his body. I had always envisioned death as a grand horrific thing. Instead it is eerily calm. No more than a hiccup. More clear than my grief however, I sensed immediately that he had been released. That his beautiful spirit was all around me. Free… Healthy… Finally knowing complete comfort. In my arms was merely a vessel. One too weak to contain the incredible spirit that for a brief period it held captive. In my son’s death I felt his spirit soar… I know he goes on.
Experiencing death so intimately changed me. In an instant I was a completely different person. Since his passing I have become acutely aware of my surroundings. He surrounds me with moments of beauty. A glimpse of a dragonfly, a feather on the breeze. His death opened up a gentler side of me. One that had long been forgotten. The side of me that now walks through the rain & appreciates the smell in the air & the feel of it on my skin rather than running for cover… Kisses from heaven. He has given me a gift. His childlike soaring spirit lives in my heart & has opened my eyes to a world I had long taken for granted. He now lives in every beautiful thing I see.
I think that is what drove me to head to Lady Luck. To capture that beauty that I sometimes lose sight of in myself. My Crohns relapsed with Kinley's illness & I now have to have infusion therapy every 5 weeks to live with my disease. More times than not it is a struggle to feel beautiful. I wanted a reminder that I am vibrant & beautiful! A reminder that life is short & promised to no one! A reminder to look life ferociously in the eye & dare it to give you all its got! I promise you're so much stronger than you realize! You WILL survive! I know I did...
I am Portuguese born and raised, with French and Spanish family background. I moved to Canada when I was 20. I am an accountant by profession.
When I was twelve, I was involved in a serious car accident that nearly cost my life but at the same time it came as a blessing in disguise. After seven months in the hospital, I ended up having to get my left leg amputated below the knee.
The first few years were difficult. I got depressed, thought I was useless, my self-esteem was very low, became very sedentary and I started to put on weight. Having people telling me that my body and my performance would never be the same didn’t help either. One thing they were right though, I was never going to be the same… in fact I became better.
Due to my weight gain and my uneven walk, I started to have back problems. I took on swimming as means to low impact exercise to help lose weight and help with the back issues. I started to go through fitness magazines for exercises I could do, started to work with weights…and in 2000 I did my very first natural bodybuilding competition. It made me feel so good that I worked hard and aimed for the highest levels, and in 2006 I became the first Canadian woman to compete in Natural Bodybuilding with a so-called disability and won Overall and Pro-Card against fully-abled athletes. I was featured in a few fitness magazines, the CBC show “Moving On” and some motorcycle magazines.
Since then I have moved on from bodybuilding and been involved in x-treme sports like motorcycle racing, downhill mountain biking, snowboarding (I am a ski patroller) white water kayaking, recently into dirt biking and stand up jet skiing…. I take on activities as a challenge to myself, a test to the leg, and so far there have not been much disappointments. I found that sports made me a stronger person, not only physically but also mentally
The hardest of them all was accepting myself for who I am and what I have become, accept this so called ‘disability’…. I believe the only obstacles are the ones you put upon yourself, a person can do anything that puts their mind up to, just give it a try. I believe that if I can do it…so can anyone else.
Don’t give up… stay strong and keep smiling!
The message that every body is beautiful needs to be forever spoken. Out loud.
Thin, tall, short, small, big, fat, large, young and old.
You must celebrate your body.
You must enjoy everything you are.
Your body is a piece of art.
Sometimes we may look at our piece of art and not quite understand what it stands for. Other times we can look at our piece of art and be able to enjoy every curve, dip, color and shape. Sometimes you might want to tear down your piece of art and throw it away, where you can never see it again. Other times you may want to put your art on display for everyone to see.
What it all comes down to is, we need to embrace our piece of art. In good times and in bad, we must respect our important, expensive, one of a kind treasure.
Lady Luck is all about helping you celebrate who you are, what you are, and everything you are.
Some may look at this photo and maybe think of it as distasteful. But I feel most will look at it and enjoy everything about it and what it stands for.
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These stories belong to the beautiful people who have came in for a Lady Luck experience.