When Emily Helck began treatment for breast cancer, she decided to document each day with photos. At the end of a year, Helck put the images together in an emotional time-lapse video.
The video, which starts in September 2012, and ends a year later, manages to be both heartbreaking and life-affirming. The inevitable physical changes that come with cancer treatment appear early. But through it all, Helck's bravery and openness remain a constant.
In a blog that accompanies the video, Helck, 29, explains that it's odd to look back on the photos. "I feel, I don't know, separate from this person somehow, even though the last photos are from just a few days ago. I feel like the girl in the photos made it through pretty unscathed, though the look on her face sometimes makes me sad."
Speaking with Yahoo News over email, Helck said that she started taking the photos when she began chemo treatment.
"I'd had a double mastectomy a month before, and hadn't documented anything. I felt like I lost something by not having visual reminders of that process. I can't remember what it looked like when the surgeon removed my bandages for the first time ― in my memory, I'm watching myself from across the room. So with chemo, I wanted to make sure that didn't happen. It started out just being about the hair loss and regrowth,but my body continued to change drastically too. I kind of wear my heart on my sleeve, so what's going on emotionally is visible on my face. It became about how the process of cancer treatment affected my entire life."
Helck said her health is good. "I've finished with treatment, and am still dealing with the reconstruction, which will go into next year."
Helck told Yahoo News that she hopes the video makes the process less scary for others who may find themselves in a similar situation.
"A big part of the power that this disease has is that it makes people afraid. For me, the unknown is almost always worse than the reality. My hope is that by showing what it looks like to go through treatment, I can shine a light on a little bit of that unknown."
- Disease & Medical Conditions
- breast cancer