Stefanie: I used to describe myself by my cancer. No longer: I’m a Yogini. Before cancer, I was an auditor. I met Geoff, my husband, six months before I left for Paris. He’s a musician with the Army and plays saxophone, clarinet and flute. I went to Paris for a job opportunity. It was in Paris that they found a large tumor near my heart and I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. I came back to the States for treatment. The day we moved into our first apartment was the day I had surgery for the port. I actually liked my life more when I was going through chemo. I could see daylight in the winter and spend time with my friends. I became more mindful in general. I could really slow down, appreciate life and make more healthy decisions in general.
It’s been hard figuring out who I’ve become after cancer. Yoga has helped me be okay with not knowing and heal mentally and physically. I still have days with flashes of anger from having had cancer at all. It’s like the veil has been lifted. But deep down I am grateful.
I feel vulnerable about being photographed, though I’m attracted to the idea. Other people see me as a very strong person and are inspired by me, but I wasn’t owning something I did to survive. I think being photographed will help me see what they see.
Geoff: You think you’re invincible and you take everything for granted – until you deal with a life event like cancer.
Stefanie: And you don’t know how you can help others
Geoff: All she has to do is open her mouth to a stranger. Everyone says the same thing. “You have such an amazing energy, calming presence, very centered.” People ask me: “How are you doing?” [Points to his pregnant wife] That’s how good I’m doing.