Did I ever mention I hate having my picture taken? Well I do. I hate my toothy smile, huge cheeks, narrow eyes, double chin and shiny forehead; at least that’s what I see in photos. Yet, the money being offered to me in my youth, lured me to take a brief turn in front of the camera. However, I quickly learned that the best way for me to maintain a positive self-image was not to view myself in pictures. In fact, I chose a job behind the scenes in the television industry in order to avoid being seen on a giant screen.
Despite this, I’ve spent my entire adult life in front of a camera; one attached to an x-Ray machine. Technicians and radiologists have peered into every crevice of my body, from my head to my feet. The snapshots they’ve taken have uncovered the flaws that continually threatened my life. In dark hidden places, unable to be seen with the naked eyes, they’ve found tumors, inflammation, damaged nerves, and clogged blood vessels caused by my connective tissue disorder.
So, as much as I hate stripping down, I modeled for doctors for more than two hours again last week. This time the focus was on my spine. The orthopedic surgeon and anesthesiologist requested images of the complex mechanism that allowed me to begin walking at nine months old but now makes taking steps excruciating, stiff, slow or unsteady. Standing still isn’t much better; doing so without moving often leaves my feet with numbness or a tingling sensation like they’ve fallen asleep. As if that isn’t disconcerting enough, holding my head up regularly triggers sharp pains down my head, left shoulder and arm.
Therefore, it didn’t take much coaxing to get me to pose in front of the lens at the hospital for special surgery wearing nothing but a revealing gown. I laid down, bent over, stretched, turned and leaned during my latest photo session, unconcerned about my chubby tummy, saggy thighs, or less than firm arms. I just did my best to follow the directions I was given so the best photo of me could be achieved. My incentive wasn’t a big check like I collected in my twenties. Rather, the reward will likely be something far greater; an answer about how to fix my troubles.
#misdiagnosis #medicine #modeling
About the author:
Nika C. Beamon is a journalist working in New York. She is the author of the medical memoir, Misdiagnosed: The Search for Dr. House (7/14). She also published the non-fiction book, I Didn’t Work This Hard Just to Get Married: Successful, Single Black Women Speak out (Chicago Review Press, 2009). Beamon has also written two mystery novel, Dark Recesses (2000) and Eyewitness (2002)