When I offered my mini sessions a while back, I had the chance to photograph the Crocco’s. Christina, the mom, had reached out earlier in the year for me to possibly photograph her for her 40th birthday, but life happened and garage doors needed replacing and all of the other things that occupy our time. That’s why I was so happy that she called and committed to a mini session with her family because she is someone who understands the phrase, “life is short so grab it by the horns!”.
She and Scott, her husband, are on their 21st year together, 13 years married. Three years ago, Christina was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, a terribly debilitating disease. She lost control of her body at a time when she needed it most. Her second child at the time was an infant who required nursing, holding and everything in between. She couldn’t function. She couldn’t walk into the baby’s room at night to nurse, release the car seat buckle or even open a jar of baby food. She couldn’t even get in or out of the bath on her own. She was completely debilitated. Her husband stepped in to take on the role of mother, father and care taker. During this difficult time she came to the realization that she was also an alcoholic, trying to mask the degeneration that was happening to her body and her life.
With some incredible determination, the love of her husband, inspiration from her children and help from the Doctors at UCSF, she was able to turn her life around. She cut alcohol, caffeine, and unhealthy foods out of her diet. She began exercising regularly and keeping a regular sleep schedule. She began practicing yoga and reducing her stress levels at work. Oh, and I failed to mention what she does for a living. She’s an anesthesiologist for animals and if that weren’t enough, she’s a pastry chef ‘on the side’. I’m not sure how someone becomes an anesthesiologist and a pastry chef in one lifetime, but she’s managed to do just that.
Her journey with RA isn’t over. She injects medication into her belly area weekly and takes a low dose of chemo drugs to suppress her over active immune system. But, she’s up and living life, more fully than a lot of us who are completely healthy. She has been a triathlete for the past three years, completed her first 1/2 marathon last year and finished the Tough Mudder this past year, which if you know what that is, you know that it’s the most challenging mud race around!
In her own words….”My life is so different from where it was headed. I am so grateful for my family and friends…they are my life. I really got perspective on whats important in life. It took something life changing for me to see it…..”
Christina, I feel so blessed to have been able to capture you with your family. You have been through so much and to see you sharing time with your beautiful family fills my heart with joy. You are an absolute inspiration.