Coffee, Tacos, and Chemo


Over the past few years my life has been a whirlwind of changes. I have spent the first half of it raising my two incredible children and loving every minute. My father was never much of a “NO” guy. When I would come up to him and ask “can I climb that?”, “can we swim in that?”, “can we jump off it?”, his answer was usually “give it a try”. I grew up swimming in creeks and rivers and skating on ponds. I only fell through the ice once. My brothers and I made tree forts and we ate real mud pies. We lived.

As I grew older and had my own children, I was often held back by the fear of injury or worse, then I would remember my childhood and going head first off the high dive at our neighborhood pool. We did it all summer long, that might explain some of the migraines now, but still worth it. When the kids asked to sleep outside during the summer, we did, bedtime was non existent during the summer months and even an occasional school night if something fabulous was happening. We ate chocolate cake for dinner and Legos were always welcome at the table. It was great conversation. As my children grew older, I took every opportunity available to expand their world. We often would tag along with their father to different cities where he would go for work. I would spend the day with them exploring anything we could find. We floated the rapids in Colorado and wandered the streets of Mexico, sure we were lost but it was fun. My hope for them is that they love life and say YES to all it has to offer. My oldest, Damon, has recently graduated from Full Sail University in Florida and my youngest, Meghan, is a freshman at the University of Central Florida now. They are both proving to be talented, adventurous, and creative.

As I saw the impending autonomy of my children, I began to pursue my college degree in photography and soon opened my own studio with the support of amazing friends, family and clients. I wanted to be someone my kids would be proud of. When they are little they want you to go to every field trip, room party, camp out, concert, cookie sale, etc. Which I happily did. Then something happens when they get older and start thinking about careers and college for themselves. They look at you and say Susie’s mom is a lawyer, what are you going to do? Those triple layer sprinkle cupcakes just aren’t making the magic that they used to.

I dove into school and photography head first and had and amazing time. I loved every part of it. I loved the creativity, the clients, the ever changing styles of each of my High School Senior clients. My daughter helped often and was my best photographer and designer.  I loved to hear about my client’s lives and what they were planning after graduation. It’s been a privilege to meet so many amazing people and be welcomed through a little window into their lives. I have even had the pleasure of photographing several of “my” senior’s weddings, younger siblings, and babies.

Along the way I have been embraced by so many of my creative colleagues. The photography community is an amazing group of sharing, expressive, talented, funny and lovely people. They push each other to try harder, think bigger, and express who you are through your work. Take the critiques like a big girl and learn. Never stop learning, or eating midnight tacos at Port Fonda.

If you have followed my blog or Facebook, you may have noticed that I have been hitting the “play” button very hard over the last year. Belgium, Paris, Nashville, The beach, St. Louis and every attraction in between. Last year, I was diagnosed with chronic LGL Leukemia. It was supposed to be a slow progressing disease with very little treatment and no cure. I knew I was getting sick and it was just a matter of time. I took my meds every week to slow the progression and decided to live my life. So yep, I flew in a few helicopters and a small plane. I loved the helicopter, but I can’t recommend the small plane ride as most of it was on the side doing figure eights to get the proper ground shots. I thought about just jumping out at one point to make it stop but I stuck it out for the 4 hour flight. Can you say trooper?  I rode to the top of the Eiffel Tower and ate Nutella and banana crepes at the foot of it. I will never forget! I saw my son graduate college and took my baby girl to her dorm in Florida. I saw my family in St. Louis as often as possible and kept in touch will old friends that I had been too busy for.  I sat in Nashville cafes at 3am and had coffee after photo shoots. I fell in love.

Until just recently I had managed to keep my studio up and running. I wanted, needed, something to look forward to when the meds started working and I would be well again. Unfortunately that is not the case. My disease has progressed and I have been re-diagnosed with a more aggressive form of Leukemia that I can’t remember that name of, and don’t really care to. I’m sure it’s written down somewhere. Anywho, chemotherapy starts Friday and will last 4-6 months. I have been surrounded by the most loving and supportive friends and family that anyone could ask for. I am in very good hands and looking forward to kicking some cancer ass. And you all know I will be getting a blue wig.

For now, Anna Dougherty Photography Studio is closed but I am happy to refer you to one of the very talented photographers in KC. If you are interested in getting an archive disk of a past photo session (it would be all your proofs, final edits, and whatever else I put in your folder) please contact me directly via email with your name and year of your shoot. I will be at home with my computer.



no phone calls please

12 thoughts on “Coffee, Tacos, and Chemo”

  1. Well written, Anna! Very inspiring! Keeping you and your family in my prayers. Please try to have someone keep us updated and don’t hesitate to ask for anything. I might live across the state but I’d be happy to help in any way I can. Big hugs and smiles! Sally


  2. Anna, we love all the time we spend with you, it feels much more like a friendship than a business arrangement to us. I will pray for your recovery and always be sending you positive thoughts. I wish I could do more but thanks for all you have done for us.


  3. Anna I always admired your adventurous spirit, and your tremendous energy. I pray for your recovery. Give it hell. As you say, time to kick some cancer ass. I’m here if you need something from me.


  4. I know you are a figher and will beat this cancer. I love you and if you need anything i am here for you.


  5. Anna,
    You are such a talented, creative and most of all vibrant person. I had the pleasure of getting to know you during my daughter Kaylee’s senior photos (almost 4yrs ago ). With your energy, your drive, and a positive attitude YOU will beat this. Please don’t hesitate to ask for help, no matter how big or small.
    Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers


  6. Anna, I so admire you, and your strength. I am so sorry to hear this. My heart aches for you, and if I could hug you from here, i would. You are in my prayers, but I know how tough you are, and you will kick some cancer ass, for sure! Thank you for your beautiful words, and story….seems like yesterday, being in high school, doing stupid , crazy things, and not having a care in the world…You were amazing to me then, but you are even more amazing to me now. You are my hero! If I can do anything, please let me know! Hugs and kisses to you, my dear. God Bless,and good luck! (BTW, you are so gonna rock that blue wig, like nobodys business!!) 😉


  7. Anna your an amazing woman, Your in my thoughts and prayers. Your a great photographer and it looks like you have a knack for writing as well. Keep the faith, ……….


  8. Anna,
    I had no idea! As I was reading I instantly remembered why I liked you so. If in your shoes, it would be my goal to approach each day as you have. You will be in my prayers. I will continue to admire you from afar and will watch for updates as you win your battle.


  9. Hey Anna! Even though we weren’t ever that close, you were someone I could always expect to see smiling, and this alone, although unknowingly can have such a positive impact on those around them. I know you will fight through this, and any other obstacles in your future. Thank you for being a strong and inspirational individual for others to look up to.


  10. Anna:
    I went to your facebook page and found your blog post. The absence of your SUV at the train station now makes sense to me. I’m so sorry you and your family are having to fight this battle. As my Noah turns ten, I’m now at at loss as to who will capture our family milestone. To this day, I look at the pictures you did three years ago for us and smile at the day. Prayers to you.
    April Riley


  11. Thinking and praying for you Anna, you are a strong and passionate women, and I KNOW you will kick cancers ass!!!!! Happy Mothers Day to you lady!!! Live, Love, Eat yummy food, Sing, Play, Dance!!!


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