Melanie Di Stante discusses the power of a selfie to help patients and their caregivers see their own strength, courage and accomplishments. Her essay "Selfie," published in the online magazine, PULSE, describes the experience of making a video for her local Gilda's Club.
Since Melanie's husband's cancer diagnosis in 2000, "we've been riding a relentless roller-coaster of cancer remissions and relapses." All that time, she and her two children (Gabriella and Marco) have been going to Gilda's Club, which she calls "priceless, and it's free."
Melanie had shunned the spotlight but did the video as a way to give back. "Listening to Gabriella's and Marco's unrehearsed responses to the interviewer's questions, I learned quite a bit that I hadn't known before" Hearing her young son explain that his Mom got little out of Gilda's Club and did it purely for their sake surprised her, as did their descriptions of the cancer experience for them.
Melanie said, "I found it tremendously thought-provoking to...hear myself talking about our life with cancer...I saw that we are three people who have grown closer by going through this, and that we're braver still to share the experience with others. I never saw that side of me, until I saw myself from the outside...Toward the end of the playback, when the camera panned out and I saw the three of us together, I started to cry...Look at us, I thought. Parenting is so hard, but look what I've done so far."