Photo exhibition “Small Breaths of Normalcy”

Small breaths of Normality

The photo exhibition “Small breaths of Normality” is edited by photographer Massimo Mastrorillo with WALCE (Women against Lung Cancer in Europe) and made possible thanks to the support of AstraZeneca Spa.

1. A look at the clouds in November, the lung cancer awareness month. The clouds remind us of people breathing in the cold winter air.

2. Daniela has just taken one of her daily medications.”At first I was scared and felt powerless. Then, slowly, I metabolized and became aware and determined to fight the illness. I want to continue to live, I will not give up”.

3. Daniela talks about her true friends and of how close they are in the difficult times of the illness.  Sergio is her “little brother”.  “The illness has helped me to understand who are the people on which I can rely. I have discovered real friends. There is, for example, the friend I jokingly name “Carrefour”, because every morning she sends me an sms asking what I need at the supermarket,  and there is the “Chemio taximan” a childhood friend who always insists on accompanying me to the hospital”.

4. Some of the flowers that adorn Daniela’s house. “Cancer has given me the opportunity to understand the priorities of life. I have rediscovered the little everyday normalities and the importance of living today without regretting the past  and never put off till  tomorrow what you can do today”.

5. Daniela together with her daughter Valentina. There is lots of love and understanding between them.  “At first my daughter was even more frightened than I was, she was 18 and told her friends that her mother had bronchitis”  Valentina is now able to live better with her mother’s illness and Daniela finds strength in her daughter to help her fight it.

6. The first signs of autumn on a bench near Daniela’s house. “I picked up the threads of my life. I believe in the importance of willpower and inner strength. Others may be close and helpful but they cannot help you if you do not help yourself. I want to continue to live, I will not give up.

7. Daniela is working on the computer. Once she was a workaholic, now that she is ill it is necessary to dose her energy and life has now different values. “I have worked all my life until two years ago when I was diagnosed with lung cancer”.

8. Denis wears a rosary around his neck. He has a collection. Not for religious reasons. He loves them as objects. “Cancer has increased the load we attach to specific moments of everyday life. I have learned to enjoy life and not get angry for small things that once would have irritated me”.

9. The chandelier in Denis’s dining room seems to blend in with the clouds of the sky. “I do not care to know the name of my cancer, or the drugs that I take.  I do not even want to know their reaction on my body. I just have to give my maximum in the life that I face everyday and live it normally, to be present to myself and transmit it to others”.

10. Denis’s mother in a young pic. Immigrated from Puglia she has never abandoned her origins.  “My mother is perhaps the person who suffers the most for my illness.  My family is my true haven”.

11. The script that Denis and a friend have to learn for a play. “I challenged the tumor and told it “I’ll break you……destroy you”  then I thought about many things, even death. I am an optimistic person but in front of a concrete wall I have learnt to deal with reality.  We must not give up and I continue to cultivate my passion for photography and watercolours”.

12. Denis goes out with his friends. “It is as if the illness has changed the way I relate with other people, today I want to deepen relationships and not waste time in superficial acquaintences”.

13. Denis’s great-grandmothers trunk, that he will soon be taking to his new home. “About a year ago I started a new therapy, it’s working.  My life has resumed like it was two years ago. In  January I went back to work and I started to do sports and returned to the gym. I also started to restore my great-grandparents house to go to live on my own.

 14. Barbara works as a secretary in a consulting firm and wants to meet ordinary people and be able to have a laugh. “Working for me is essential. Going to the office, to focus on my work, (albeit at a slower pace than in the past) makes me feel alive. It allows me not to think about the illness and to remind me that I can have a normal life”.

15. Barbara in her office. “I never thought I could become ill.  My first reaction was disbelief. I had difficulty in acquainting myself with the fact that I was ill. The anger took over, anger that I converted into strength and challenge.  I set myself a goal to heal or at least to learn to live  with my tumor.

16. The gardens at the back of Lingotto. The autumn leaves are gradually removed from the lawn behind Barbara’s office. “After the discovery of lung cancer all is a bit more precious.  It is not the present that frightens me, that must be lived, because it helps to dispel the fear of insecurity of the future.  The illness must be addressed every day. This minute. Now.

17. A passer by near Barbara’s house.  “It may seem paradox but the illness helps to enrich personal relationships. I do not want pity: we must give careful thought to this and at times it saddens me that my social status has changed from that of a healthy person to that of an who is ill”.

18. Barbara is married and has a nine year old son. Her husband and her son are passionate about Subbuteo. “Having the family nearby, especially my son, helps me deal with the day to day life challenges of the illness. It is for my son, as well as for myself, that I have to fight and “win” this illness.

19. A flower grew spontaneously on Barbara’s balcony. She likes to look at it and think it is a positive sign. “Cancer is too often associated with sadness. I am convinced that it is of great help to frequent normal  people or people who, despite their illness, face life positively, even managing to laugh.  I do not want to think of the illness, I want to laugh”.

20. Barbara at home. “What I would like is to live day to day and think of the illness as part of me, but not to feel, for this reason, an invalid”.

5 Responses to “Photo exhibition “Small Breaths of Normalcy””

  1. francesca says:

    Sono capitata per caso sul vostro sito…. ho appena perso mio marito per un tumore e leggere i vostri commenti mi ha fatto commuovere.
    Anche per me, mentre vivevo vicino a lui ogni istate era prezioso e osservavo tutto in modo diverso.
    Grazie per quello che fate
    Franca

    • Daniela says:

      Anche se stai vivendo un momento di grande dolore, fai tesoro di questa esperienza. Pensa a quante persone vivono senza assaporare la vita attimo dopo attimo. Io ero una di quelle. Ora è tutto cambiato… Ti abbraccio..
      Daniela

  2. tamara says:

    ..ritrovarsi nelle parole e nelle immagini. La diagnosi per mamma è arrivata ad agosto e all’inizio sì, è stato tutto molto, molto difficile. Ora va meglio. Dopo la rabbia e la paura è rimasta in piedi la nostra forza e una specie di ottimismo, che non è quello di prima ma è sicuramente amore per la vita. Un abbraccio.
    P.s. esiste un posto anche in rete dove “incontrarsi” ogni tanto?

  3. CARLA says:

    Ho scoperto la vostra mostra fotografica e il vostro sito su un giornale.
    sono stata operata 2 anni fà ed oggi sono in terapia, cancro alla mammella.

    grazie per informazioni e supporto, servo sempre e si fà fatica a parlarne ma servono a capire che solo la forza può aiutare a tirare avanti con serenità.

  4. Cristina says:

    Da un anno convivo con un tumore al polmone destro, scoperto per caso durante una radiografia del torace. Non ho mai fumato, ho solo respirato per decenni il fumo degli altri. Chissà!
    La chemioterapia si sta dimostrando efficace, ho incontrato un oncologo competente ed umano, sono circondata da amicizie ed affetti veri. Mi sento una donna fortunata e cerco di scovare tutte le energie necessarie per continuare a vivere la mia vita. Un sito come il vostro mi è molto utile, sono sempre a caccia di informazioni corrette. Conoscere mi aiuta (anche se non sempre…).
    Grazie per il vostro lavoro e un saluto amichevole :-)

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