I've met Lisa a year or so ago in a local photography meet up. She was friend, smiley, beautiful and a little odd. I couldn't put my finger on why I thought she was odd, until one evening she revealed to me that she's been battling MS. She was very non-chalant about it too, like "that's what I do" kinda thing. I didn't exactly know what MS entailed at that point, but I've read up on that evening as soon as I got home.
Lisa asked me if I photograph the not so pretty side of having MS. I politely declined. I know there are photographers out there who could do that. I wanted to photograph Lisa how I saw her. Beautiful, friendly, smiley and a little odd. :)
Lisa was overweight her entire life, however that never stopped her from living her life to its fullest. She pursued education in Art and studied at NYC on full scholarship. When she was 19, she began to notice strange things, like the loss of saturated color vision. By 25 she's reached 330 lbs and experienced frequent double vision, inability to feel her feet and vertigo. At first doctors thought all these symptoms were just in her head, but then the diagnoses came in - multiple sclerosis.
Lisa was terrified of the struggle she'd have to endure with MS, especially given her heavy weight. She was determined to lose it, and underwent bariatric surgery. Her husband, whom she've met in college and gave an exit opportunity as soon as she learned on her diagnosis, supported her through it all. Lisa successfully lost 200 lbs, and maintained this loss for 11 years. With losing this much weight, came the dilemma of dealing with loose skin, and Lisa went through a tough cosmetic surgery shortly thereafter.
MS kept progressing and as Lisa experienced more and more pain, she did less and less art. Eventually she had to give it all up to dedicated all her strength to managing her decease.
In the past couple of years, Lisa was able to find her way to photography. She started taking pictures which ignited her passion for art yet again and now in business of photography. Her business name is Pictures of Whimsy and she loves photographing children.
Today Lisa is a 40 year old woman, who is married with children, and knows too much of a daily struggle with MS. In talking to her, I keep thinking how in spite of her struggle, she remains kind, open minded, brave and full of life. Many local photographers know Lisa and her story, and adore her for her vibrant personality. My two wishes for her are that the cure for MS can be found in Lisa's life time and that Pictures of Whimsy be filled with sounds of children's laughter and shutter clicks.
Visit Lisa's gallery and keep an eye for more images to be added to it.