Deconstructing Health: A Profile That Touched My Heart

A Cancer Patient's Profile That Touched My Heart

(photo credit: @thriveanyway, who captioned this image with, “I have been so blessed to love and be loved, to be transformed by love.”)


Frozen in My Seat.


I scrolled through my Instagram feed the other day, and stopped cold, frozen in my seat.


All around me, the world seemed to stand still, as I stared ahead, focused only on the photos on my Instagram feed.


They were published via the ‘multiple photo’ option – the kind where you get to upload more than one.


I didn’t know the profile owner personally, and yet felt at one with her, right away.




Have you considered the role of emotions in medicine? I think about it sometimes.

We have always been taught to be somewhat detached from our patients, because it serves, in a sense, to protect us. I wrote about their role in the medical setting here, in an article I called, ‘Emotions Aren’t Just Baggage, They’re Louis Vuitton Carry On.’


But this was a bit different.

I wasn’t in a clinical setting, for one.

And two, this wasn’t even my patient.


And still, emotion took over.


A Sherlock Holmes Look.


My eyes started welling up.


It was the nature of the post that really got to me, and it was powerful, to say the least.


Turning his attention my way, my husband threw one of those what’s-the-matter glances over in my direction, in a way that only Sherlock Holmes was likely to have been capable of throwing, judging on the intuitive nature of his character. Sherlock Holmes AND now my own intimate life-long partner (they always seem to read us like a book).


He sensed it without even seeing the tears.


“I’m touched,” I turned to him, with an explanation. “Inspired, actually.”


I wasn’t quite sure if my tears were those of sadness. When I think this story over, in hindsight, and what this brave person was going through, I may have been simply amazed at the beauty and meaningfulness of her art.


What I was sure of was that I was in true awe of her courage; her ability to say so much, with so little.


And then I showed him, and he, too, felt the tug of the tears.


What I was sure of was that I was in true awe of her #courage; her ability to say so much, with so little. (weighing in on the impact of an Instagram poster's photos.. and #words. #amwriting Click To Tweet



The Profile.



A Cancer Patient's Profile That Touched My Heart



@ThriveAnyway describes herself as:


Storyteller, educator, clinician, resilience, researcher, advocate, mom, wife. My life. My blog, living with metastatic cancer. All pics by me.


She kindly gave me permission – and excitedly, at that – to share her words and graphics with the world.

Here they are, along with the images that touched my heart:



The Post Itself.


“Deconstructing health – visual art.

How do your perceptions and assumptions of me change as you scroll through?

Do you increasingly perceive health shifting to “suffering”? Pity? Shock?

What is health?  Our own? The health of others?  How do we measure it in ourselves and others?

How might one’s identity change when the person looking back from the mirror is so altered?  When their body is altered and scarred?

My health was static throughout the 10 minutes of my photo shoot… nothing changed but my appearance.

What thoughts and questions arise for you?  I’d love to hear from you.

Love, Thrive Anyway

PS.  This is a good day.”





As I scrolled through each photo, @thriveanyway revealed every layer that lay beneath, until she was completely exposed in her beautiful raw self.


It’s not every day that a profile touches the heart like this.

But hers did; with only a few words. And 5 simple images. Thank you, @thriveanyway, for sharing your reality with us.



A cancer patient's profile: A Profile That Touched My Heart

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