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Her, Too

Jordan Rathkopf | New York, USA

Self-portrait by Anna, as she tries on different wigs.

HER, TOO is the autobiographical story of a woman in her late 30s recently diagnosed with breast cancer (Anna Rathkopf) as she and her husband (Jordan Rathkopf), along with their three-year-old son (Jesse) navigate their new reality. 

Through a combination of Anna’s self-portraits and her photographs of her family, this book redefines the breast cancer experience from the point of view of the patient. At the same time, Jordan documented his experience as a co-survivor and co-parent struggling with his own feelings of masculinity and the need to be a wall of strength while experiencing acute depression and anxiety from the trauma of the situation.

HER,TOO is a celebration of love and hope while authentically representing the hardships families face when dealing with crisis.

There are moments in your life that you cannot forget, like your baby's birth or when you get the call that you have cancer.

When I heard the word cancer for the first time, I was shocked. My world as I knew it disappeared beneath me feet.

I told myself: "I have cancer." And then I repeated the exact words in my native language, Czech. "Mám rakovinu." Two different languages, yet the feeling inside me was the same: darkness and fear, an all-encompassing fear.

I heard the word cancer, and I felt like my life ended. Yet there was the next morning, and then another one and another one.

I had my little son and my husband. There were hugs and kisses, holding my son Jesse’s tiny body tight and close like I never wanted to let go. There was pain and struggle, I watched my husband's mental health deteriorating under the weight of our circumstances.

They say your brain starts new every morning. Your synapses renew themselves, and you can start every day new. I try this every morning, but there is always a part of me that says: "cancer." The fear is there, lurking, hidden, dark, sometimes more bottomless, and sometimes on the surface. Acceptance is a new word I am learning.

- Anna Rathkopf

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