Through My Child's Eyes
2013 - 2022.


In 2013 I was diagnosed with stage four HER2-positive breast cancer. The news came just six weeks before our second baby was due to be born. The road ahead was long, involving a two-year cardio-toxic treatment plan, further complicated by a pre-existing heart condition (postpartum cardiomyopathy) I had developed while giving birth to our first child, Griffin.


Luckily, our unborn baby was safely tucked away in another woman’s womb, being gestated for us with love and care. At the time of his birth, I had completed 2 of 18 planned chemotherapy treatment cycles. As a result, my frail body was going through medically induced menopause, and yet... there I was having phantom breastmilk letdowns whenever he cried for milk.


Looking at it now, from an ‘all clear’ standpoint, I felt a burning need to create something tangible of it, to lay it all down in story form so I could begin to understand and process what my family and I went through.

I began to trawl the archives for visual memories to draw from when I discovered my five-year-old’s album.

Looking back, I remember encouraging him to photograph me at key moments throughout my treatment plan. I think I felt seeing me through a camera might help him process what was happening to his mother. So, in part, these photos are his memories.


Composed of recreated archival photographs originally taken by my five-year-old son, Griffin, paired with my own current reflections of the time, ‘Through My Child’s Eyes’ chronicles a chapter of time when new life and near death momentarily sat side by side. The series seeks to provide a balanced view between the past and the present, through child-adult perspectives, in sickness and in health.




‘Through My Child's Eyes’ serves as a testament to resilience, love, and the power of familial bonds in the face of adversity. Lisa's collaboration with her son not only captures significant moments in their lives but also offers a poignant reflection on the universal themes of hope, strength, and the beauty found within life's most challenging moments.’

Centre For Fine Art Photography
Revisiting the Family Album: Stories That Bind Us.


This series was selected as Top 50 finalist in Photolucida  Critical Mass 2023 (USA)


'Through My Child's Eyes' was selected as a Featured Solo Exhibition for the Head On Photo Festival in 2022. Work from the series was chosen to represent Head On at PhotoSCHWEIZ, Zurich, Switzerland. 2023. 


Receiving an honourable mention in the 19th Julia Margaret Cameron Awards.  Selected works from the series was exhibited at Foto Nostrum in Barcelona, Spain, 2023.


Snippets of this story are published in Photo Collective biannual magazine, issue 002

The entire series is published in All About Photography magazine, issue 29 - Women.

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Through My Child's Eyes


As commissioning parents in the world of surrogacy we were taught by our councillors to ‘Prepare for the Unexpected’ 

This series tells the story of our ‘unexpected’. which was beyond anything we could ever have imagined or planned for.

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Through My Child's Eyes


As commissioning parents in the world of surrogacy we were taught by our councillors to ‘Prepare for the Unexpected’ 

This series tells the story of our ‘unexpected’. which was beyond anything we could ever have imagined or planned for.

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Chapter One - Diagnosis


I knew from the technician’s reaction to my mammogram that the news would be bad.


I knew by the urgency of the biopsy to follow that the news would be bad.


Alarm was written in their faces when they requested I bring someone as a support person to the meeting, scheduled immediately.

But all I heard during the delivery was ‘there are four boxes you don’t want to tick and you tick all four’.

Fuck.
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Chapter One - Diagnosis


I knew from the technician’s reaction to my mammogram that the news would be bad.


I knew by the urgency of the biopsy to follow that the news would be bad.


Alarm was written in their faces when they requested I bring someone as a support person to the meeting, scheduled immediately.

But all I heard during the delivery was ‘there are four boxes you don’t want to tick and you tick all four’.

Fuck.
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Chapter Two - Surgery


Looking back at it now, I recall the exact moment on the trolley, adorned in worn, crisped hospital whites, prepped for surgery and pumped with adrenalin as I was about to have my breast removed. The last word I said to my surgeon was ‘I realise you do this every day for a living but I’m planning on doing it once for a living, so I challenge you to make this the neatest mastectomy you have ever performed.’ He accepted my challenge and somehow managed an entire lymph clearance on the right side of my torso through this one entry point.


To this day, my perfect scar is the reason I haven’t been able to undergo reconstructive surgery. My scar is so neat and that bedside conversation so vivid in my mind I’m not yet ready to undo any of it.
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Chapter Two - Surgery


Looking back at it now, I recall the exact moment on the trolley, adorned in worn, crisped hospital whites, prepped for surgery and pumped with adrenalin as I was about to have my breast removed. The last word I said to my surgeon was ‘I realise you do this every day for a living but I’m planning on doing it once for a living, so I challenge you to make this the neatest mastectomy you have ever performed.’ He accepted my challenge and somehow managed an entire lymph clearance on the right side of my torso through this one entry point.


To this day, my perfect scar is the reason I haven’t been able to undergo reconstructive surgery. My scar is so neat and that bedside conversation so vivid in my mind I’m not yet ready to undo any of it.
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Chapter Three - Last Day with Hair


Preparing for chemotherapy is brutal. The day I cut off my long, thick, youthful hair, I knew it would never return in the same way again. It was hard to say goodbye, but everything’s always measured against the alternative – dying - and it was easier than dying.

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Chapter Three - Last Day with Hair


Preparing for chemotherapy is brutal. The day I cut off my long, thick, youthful hair, I knew it would never return in the same way again. It was hard to say goodbye, but everything’s always measured against the alternative – dying - and it was easier than dying.

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Chapter Four - Chemotherapy


The pink hue on the grass is where it has been poisoned. The weeds have now gone, and new growth appears, changed, but more beautiful than before. This is how I’ve visualised chemotherapy working in my body. At first it obliterates all life, even the good is destroyed. But then, over time, new growth appears. Colourful, playful life in the place near-death once stood.

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Chapter Four - Chemotherapy


The pink hue on the grass is where it has been poisoned. The weeds have now gone, and new growth appears, changed, but more beautiful than before. This is how I’ve visualised chemotherapy working in my body. At first it obliterates all life, even the good is destroyed. But then, over time, new growth appears. Colourful, playful life in the place near-death once stood.

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Chapter Five - Birth: New Life, Near Death 


It is so difficult to depict love and pain at the same time, but my memory of Claire birthing our son, for me, was like dancing an in-between space where new life and near death momentarily sat side by side.


The exact moment she felt her first signs of labour, I was having an anaphylactic reaction to the chemical concoction of chemotherapy drugs entering my bloodstream. My husband bundled us into the car and drove interstate, through the night, to be with her.

I fainted multiple times, my nose bled constantly, I was hot and cold – going through enforced menopause. I was at my lowest point, and I was about to have a baby.
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Chapter Five - Birth: New Life, Near Death 


It is so difficult to depict love and pain at the same time, but my memory of Claire birthing our son, for me, was like dancing an in-between space where new life and near death momentarily sat side by side.


The exact moment she felt her first signs of labour, I was having an anaphylactic reaction to the chemical concoction of chemotherapy drugs entering my bloodstream. My husband bundled us into the car and drove interstate, through the night, to be with her.

I fainted multiple times, my nose bled constantly, I was hot and cold – going through enforced menopause. I was at my lowest point, and I was about to have a baby.
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Chapter Six - Bottle Fed


A lactation consultant assured me I could get my milk supply back using a breast pump. So, six weeks before our surrogate, Claire, was due to give birth, I decided to try. It was in that moment I found the lump in my right breast; I just knew…

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Chapter Six - Bottle Fed


A lactation consultant assured me I could get my milk supply back using a breast pump. So, six weeks before our surrogate, Claire, was due to give birth, I decided to try. It was in that moment I found the lump in my right breast; I just knew…

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Chapter Seven - Ewan: Husband, Father, Provider, Carer, Support 

Caption written by Ewan McEoin


As is often the way when something was lost, something new arrived. My wife plugged into the chemo and her health ebbed away, her body cut and toasted – partially with us – just clinging on. 

Washing back the grief, refocusing the heart and mind – a new life joined us. In a dream state, I trod water, watching life fade and flicker with one eye and surge with the other. 

Feeding him late into night and in the coming dawn. Holding him as she slept next door. He was uniquely serene. Here was a reason to live and fight the good fight. And so, we did.
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Chapter Seven - Ewan: Husband, Father, Provider, Carer, Support 

Caption written by Ewan McEoin


As is often the way when something was lost, something new arrived. My wife plugged into the chemo and her health ebbed away, her body cut and toasted – partially with us – just clinging on. 

Washing back the grief, refocusing the heart and mind – a new life joined us. In a dream state, I trod water, watching life fade and flicker with one eye and surge with the other. 

Feeding him late into night and in the coming dawn. Holding him as she slept next door. He was uniquely serene. Here was a reason to live and fight the good fight. And so, we did.
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Chapter Eight - Egg Head


When time is measured in treatment cycles and how much hair the other ‘egg heads’ have who surround me in oncology…

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Chapter Eight - Egg Head


When time is measured in treatment cycles and how much hair the other ‘egg heads’ have who surround me in oncology…

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Chapter Nine - Radio


‘Radio’ seemed a lighter and more freeing term than ‘radiation’. It also allowed me to pick different theme songs to be fried to. I was told that Kylie Minogue was treated under the same beam from the big machine that I lay under so I began right there with ‘I should be so lucky’ playing in the headphones. It kind of set the tone for lightly avoiding the idea that I was being nuked and I ran with it.

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Chapter Nine - Radio


‘Radio’ seemed a lighter and more freeing term than ‘radiation’. It also allowed me to pick different theme songs to be fried to. I was told that Kylie Minogue was treated under the same beam from the big machine that I lay under so I began right there with ‘I should be so lucky’ playing in the headphones. It kind of set the tone for lightly avoiding the idea that I was being nuked and I ran with it.

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Chapter Ten - Five Year Milestone


Here it is.


This ordinary day.

This monumental but surprisingly ordinary day.

The scans are done. The scans are clear, and I’m now considered cancer free.

Cancer Free!!

I’ve spent every single day of those five years with my boys, etching myself in their memory, documenting their childhood. Just in case ‘forever’ ended up being too short.

I don’t think a week has passed without some thought of whether I would make it to this day.

And here it is…

Turns out it’s just an ordinary day. A little sunny, a little windy but fundamentally a monumentally ordinary day.
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Chapter Ten - Five Year Milestone


Here it is.


This ordinary day.

This monumental but surprisingly ordinary day.

The scans are done. The scans are clear, and I’m now considered cancer free.

Cancer Free!!

I’ve spent every single day of those five years with my boys, etching myself in their memory, documenting their childhood. Just in case ‘forever’ ended up being too short.

I don’t think a week has passed without some thought of whether I would make it to this day.

And here it is…

Turns out it’s just an ordinary day. A little sunny, a little windy but fundamentally a monumentally ordinary day.
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Chapter Eleven - Motherhood


I have every reason to believe it is the power of motherhood that has kept me ‘earth-side’ ever since that fateful diagnosis.

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Chapter Eleven - Motherhood


I have every reason to believe it is the power of motherhood that has kept me ‘earth-side’ ever since that fateful diagnosis.

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Chapter Twelve - Reflections


I recently turned fifty and it felt like a big number but after surviving heart failure and breast cancer – one near death experience for each of my children – I know that any number is a gift and there is beauty in all stages.


In celebration, my family gave me a new camera and a dear friend surprised me with some beautiful flowers which I tried to make look vital and vibrant throughout the decomposition process. To me they looked like they were dancing well into the night, which is what we all hope to do in life.
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Chapter Twelve - Reflections


I recently turned fifty and it felt like a big number but after surviving heart failure and breast cancer – one near death experience for each of my children – I know that any number is a gift and there is beauty in all stages.


In celebration, my family gave me a new camera and a dear friend surprised me with some beautiful flowers which I tried to make look vital and vibrant throughout the decomposition process. To me they looked like they were dancing well into the night, which is what we all hope to do in life.
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