It is said that love is blind. Friendship, on the other hand, is clairvoyant.

Philippe Soupault said that, back in 1897.

And yesterday, I received a text from one of my (i am so honored to say this next word) closest friends which said, “do you sleep?”

This text came from a woman who just LIVED through her battle with breast cancer, May Shelstad.


And the reason she had reason to send me this text is because i was peppering her with questions, at all hours of the night:

“What is the name of your oncologist and plastic surgeon?”

“Do you think your doctors would mind being photographed or named in a book?”

“Time period between your double mastectomy and half marathon was six weeks, correct?”

“Can you summaraize the quote from your plastic surgeon the day he found out you ran 13.1 miles that soon after surgery?”

“May i use one of your radiation photos on Instagram?”

“Have you got any favorite quotes or poems or sound bites that kept your faith up during last year, or continues to do so?”

“Are you in the Portland area tomorrow? I think we really need to capture the radiation photos.”

All these questions and so many more were the journey that May and I took together over a 10 month time period.  Her, being diagnosed with breast cancer on April 5th, and me, getting an e-mail from her on April 10th giving me the news and asking, humbly, for me to photograph her journey as she admitted to me that “losing my hair and getting cut up is causing me some anxiety.”

so we photographed everything.

Midway through her battle, I wrote this.

Yet from her diagnosis day to her days getting chemotherapy to her double mastectomy surgery to her radiation to her victory over cancer, after hearing the words from her surgical oncologist, “May, you are cancer free,” I felt her whole story needed to be told.

I have written about her before, but today I publish a book of 50 pages of photography of her journey.

It’s my first true publication, and quite hilarious, as i’m a total amateur photographer.  All of these photos were taken with my Canon Rebel XTi and edited in Adobe Lightroom 3.  No special lenses, no props to provide extra flash or reflection.  They were taken in my bathroom, against my white wall, on the Summit Steps, and most poignantly in the surgery ward of the Good Samaritan Hospital in Portland, OR.

This book is expensive, self publishing is not something easy to do.

So my ask is this:

If you have $79.95 that is merely a drop in the bucket, i guarantee you will see pixels that will bring you to tears… she is just that beautiful.

It is in TRUE disclosure that the $79.95 price tag covers the cost of publishing the book ($74.95) + $5.00 profit to go to a NON-PROFIT to which May will decide to donate. It’s that simple and that costly.

If you find that too much of a stretch (and to those of us experiencing self publishing for the first time… wow!  understood, it’s expensive!!!), my ask is to spread the word of this book.

here’s how:

Pull up this link, preview the entire book, and share it on your website, FB page, Twitter feed, google+, Path page, Linkedin, or Email to your friends.  hashtag it #comewhatmay and #cancersucks.  We want to spread the word of May’s journey to any woman, mother, sister, or daughter that has just been diagnosed.

Give her a ray of hope.

Send her the message that beauty can exist through all the stages of conquering this horrific diagnosis.

May had the foresight, let her story be told.


as always,



#cancersucks #comewhatmay

This entry was posted in breast cancer, chemotherapy effects, female African American bald, female bald, mastectomy, photography, radiation effects, self publishing and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to It is said that love is blind. Friendship, on the other hand, is clairvoyant.

  1. Deedee Corradini says:

    This is wonderful—wow! Looked at the book preview—great job—you are amazing!

    I love you,


  2. DB says:

    beauty through a horrific Battle – Conquered and documented through pure love.
    Wonderful expression of a day by day journey.

    Great work AC – You inspire us all May!

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