20th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest People
Graduation Day!

As a breast cancer patient, I'd spent two years undergoing treatment and officially deemed an "oncology patient." On this day the photo was taken, I was informed by my Oncologist that I was "graduating" from Oncology, and will no longer be deemed an "oncology patient" as a result of successful treatment and no signs of recurrence. I was so elated, that I drove out to the place I spent a lot of time at meditating and praying throughout my cancer treatment journey -- it is at a cave at Lands' End at San Francisco Ocean Beach. To be surrounded by nature, powerful crashing waves, a vast ocean and the dark cave was a location that was therapeutic for me, and a place where I did some self-healing. This image was taken by a stranger in the area at the exit of the cave, capturing my elation of having "graduated" from Oncology, and symbolic of my "exiting" a world of oncology and being a long-term patient. I felt liberated, and this location was very meaningful in my thriving in cancer survivorship. The birds were flying overhead, the heart rock island in the backdrop, and at sunset -- a perfect segway to walk down the road to my graduation and liberation.

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 11.2020
Date Uploaded: 11.2022
Photo Location: SAN FRANCISCO, California, United States of America
Camera: iPhone 6s
Copyright: © Donna Lau