Inspired by her mom’s courage in the face of PBC, photographer Emily Blincoe captures the impact of PBC on three women. Ultimately, she discovers the strength of women who, like her mom, take control of their health and are able to thrive despite PBC.
Emily: When I first found out that I’d have an opportunity to do a project about PBC- something that my mom has, I was really excited about it because it was personal to me and my family.
Emily: Learning that I would meet other women who had the disease – I didn’t really have any expectations of what it would be like because I mostly had viewed this disease through my mom’s lens and, she’s pretty healthy.
Debbie: To hear you have an autoimmune disease that a there’s no cure. My first reaction was like – felt like a death sentence, like I said. Telling my family – they were all so concerned about it. And say my son, well I really can’t say it but, a was getting married, oh I can’t say it – but I told his new mother-in-law that I was so happy
Emily: It’s okay mom
Debbie: That he would have a mother.
Debbie: All collected together it looks like quite a bit. Like I said as we were gathering them up – I don’t even see them. But I start getting gifts from people. And – like the little, favorite little teaspoons. Anything with a ladybug. Salt and pepper hello.
Emily: What is this?
Debbie: Oh – little garden bling everywhere
Emily: Garden bling?
Debbie: Yes (muffled laughter). That’s what you call it, garden bling!
Brandi: This is my grandmother right after her liver transplant the day she came home. And this is my grandfather on the Ford 8N tractor. And so he made her this little like what you call like a coach um to bring/wheel her into the house outside of the car- it was like this welcoming home thing that he did. He thought he was hilarious and so cute
Emily: He is though.
Brandi: Yeah, so my husband now has this tractor and that’s the Ford 8N tractor
Emily: Oh, that’s so great.
Brandi: That he’s been fixing up.
Emily: The unique thing about Brandi is that she’s so young. In some ways, she’s lucky that she got diagnosed early because at least now she can make some adjustments in her life and try to figure out what’s going to work best for her.
Bel: Hi. Welcome.
Bel: It’s just – the only way to find relief. It’s, like I – that scratching pad, I have it always in my bag, in my purse.
Bel: One of the worst symptoms aside from the pruritus is the relentless a fatigue. You are so tired. I’m having a conversation, I could be having a conversation with someone and I fall asleep. In the middle of the conversation. I am just dead, dead tired. Dead meat.
Emily: It was hard to watch um Bel pulling out two forks and scratching her feet. For me it made it really real and it made it really sad, but at the same time she is so like full of life. She just has like some kind of energy about her that you feel drawn to. And to think that there’s somebody who just like– all they want is to live, and they can’t, it’s just…
Emily: Okay- one, two three look at me.
Emily: Going on this journey has taught me that everyone’s experience with this disease is different…but none are easy.