As part of our recurring series of interviews, The Power of Her, featuring remarkable women, we are proud to present to you an interview with Elizaveta Bulokhova. Elizaveta, a renowned young fashion model, lost 95% of her jaw to cancer while being pregnant with her son. Her story is that of strength, determination and all-powerful motherly love.
Elizaveta Bulokhova is from Ontario, Canada. When she was 24-years-old and pregnant with her son, Valentin, she received a shocking diagnosis – an osteosarcoma, a cancerous tumor in her jawbone. Following a 16-hour long surgery to remove the tumor, she was told to terminate her pregnancy before undergoing chemotherapy. However, complications in post-surgery wound healing delayed chemotherapy and allowed her enough time – she safely delivered her son 10 weeks early via cesarean section.
Prior to the diagnosis, Elizaveta worked as a fashion model for over 7 years. We were honoured to photograph her in our studio and ask her a few questions about her views for the future, goals in life and what gave her the strength to go through this life-changing experience.
WHAT ARE YOU FOCUSING ON RIGHT NOW?
Right now my main focus is to raise Valentin, shower him with family love and attention. Show him how wonderful this world can be.
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS AND ASPIRATIONS FOR THE FUTURE?
For now is just to take it day by day, take care of my health, my wellbeing. I am preparing myself mentally and physically for upcoming reconstructive surgeries possibly scheduled next year. Hopefully by than medicine will come up with creative, less complicated way to fix my jaw. It takes lots of energy, strength and patience to recover after surgeries. Post-surgery can have lots of complications and recovery process is not a fun ride.
Usually everything in my life happens spontaneously, quickly and last minute. One day I’m pregnant and the next I am diagnosed with bone cancer. My life is full of surprises. I accept my present and all the challenges life has to offer. I prefer not to make plans for future, I do dream a lot though & set short-term goals.
YOUR STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHS INSPIRED THE WORLD AND ESPECIALLY THOSE BATTLING CANCER. WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO TELL PEOPLE GOING THROUGH THIS EXPERIENCE?
– Have something to look forward each day, something that keeps you going and gives you reasons to wake up every morning with a smile.
– Everyday do things that make you happy. It can be anything (eating your favourite food, watching favourite show, take a bubble bath) something for you, that would bring joy.
– Write everyday on a piece of paper or personal notebook ten things that you love about yourself.
– Write down all the positive things you can think of that happened to you same day.
– Remember tough time doesn’t last forever. If you have done everything that is in your power let universe take care of the rest.
– Try to stay focus on your next step.
– Problems always have solutions. Find solutions that make your life easier, even if it will be just a tiny fix.
– Speak up! Ask lots of questions!
– next time you are feeling shitty challenge yourself to come up with ten things which are awesome that you like thinking about, that makes you happy and you look forward to.
– No matter how hopeless and painful and difficult choices you have to make, you have to keep going because things can change very quickly
– If something is not going the way it is planned, it’s not always a bad thing.
– Believe in yourself
– You are stronger than you know
– Take it easy on yourself
– You are not alone
That’s what cancer does – it takes away parts of you, gives you crazy number of challenges to handle, tests your patience, breaks you apart. But at the end how I feel bout myself is my choice. Today I choose to feel happy, beautiful, to love myself and to accept myself the way I am and that’s all what matters.
HOW DID YOU LIKE WORKING WITH Lora @ Kissed by Light studio?
I had an amazing experience working with Lora at Kissed by light studio. It was really easy to work with her and the team. Lots of light and positive energy. The attitude and professionalism made me feel comfortable and confident in myself. I didn’t even notice how time flew by.
Thank you for being our muse, Elizaveta. We wish you many many years of love, beauty, health and happiness and hope to see you again in our studio!
Styling by Ameri Ozigis, Kissed by Light Photo Studio
Photography by Lora Vertue, Kissed by Light Photo Studio