Survivor Portrait Gallery

A. Ana Beesen, MD

New York, New York
Age 29
One-year breast cancer survivor

What does being a Survivor mean to you?
It is undeniably a significant element of who I am. At times, the word “survivor” is still jarring. Even a year post-treatment, it is surreal to think of myself as a cancer patient, much less a survivor. The idea that I am a survivor evokes very powerful emotions: hope, determination, and deep sadness. I have mourned what I have lost but am enormously grateful to have made it through and to be at the point where, yes, I am a survivor.

How has being a Survivor affected your life?
I was diagnosed six weeks before I was due to graduate from medical school, which was to be the fulfillment of a goal of mine for over 15 years. I had to quickly change plans, deferring residency to pursue chemotherapy, radiation, and reconstructive surgery.

A year later, I am at the start of my residency and with a unique view on the profession I have chosen. Viewing patients from the perspective of s a survivor allows me to have a better sense of their fears, hopes, and expectations. In all aspects of my life as a survivor, I feel emboldened. No challenge seems too great having made it through cancer. I feel like I can tackle anything. I am less troubled by small setbacks and have a greater sense of what truly matters.

How would you like to be photographed?
I would like to be photographed with my cockapoo Nina Simone who was my ‘therapy dog’ throughout my year of cancer treatment. I would like to take the photo at the northeastern part of Central Park because I spent last summer walking my dog through that part of the park, even on the days I was at my sickest, and it was one of the best ways to clear my head and find joy in what was otherwise a grueling experience. In large part, my cancer battle was won in the park.

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