Trisha is a high school teacher, an activist, a yoga practitioner, and a cancer survivor. In October 2006, she was diagnosed with stage II breast cancer. She had just started a new teaching job and graduate school. She did not have time for cancer. She prepared herself to hear words like “lumpectomy” and “hormone therapy,” but instead she found her doctors saying “mastectomy” and “chemotherapy.”
For Trisha, it was almost more difficult to lose her waist-length hair, most often pictured in two long braids, than her breast. Her hair made her feel beautiful, free, and noticed. And yet, when she was bald, she was able to connect with a different part of what made her beautiful.
Today, the physical losses of cancer are more distant. Trisha got married in the summer of 2010 and is now hoping to have a baby. Cancer has been a tool in her life—unwanted, but useful. Cancer has asked her to listen more closely to her body. To dance, to practice yoga, to hike, to rest, to let go a little, and to say no. Trisha sees cancer as a road sign in her life that was telling her to slow down. Her yoga teacher at the time asked her this: “What would it look like to put yourself first? How can you nourish yourself in true balance to how you nurture others?” These questions have stayed with her.
Trisha is featured in the SCAR project, a series of large-scale portraits of young breast cancer survivors. Trisha currently balances a busy life of teaching and enjoying family time with her husband and young daughter.