Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007 by Deb Schwedhelm
Why the name Mashed Potatoes For Breakfast? In a very personal way, it captures the essense of the odd world Max is forced to live in as he fights for his life against neuroblastoma. You see, Max doesn’t eat much by himself. He has what we call a “g-tube” or gastrostomy tube. See the picture below.
Because of the g-tube, Max gets to eat whatever he wants, whenever he wants it. As his nutritional needs are taken care of, any eating done is purely for purposes of maintaining his desire to eat something. Max likes mashed potatoes. They’re plain and go well with his chemo-affected taste buds. He recently asked for mashed potatoes for breakfast. Why not, we thought?
We had a similar response when approached by Deb Schwedhelm to document Max’s fight for his life through her words and pictures. We first met Deb in December 2007 when she graciously agreed to photograph Max and Sam for a marketing piece for the MagicWater Project, a non-profit started by some other parents and myself to fund research and treatments that can help kids like Max who are fighting relapsed neuroblastoma.
We have fast become very close to Deb as she follows Max through the daily rigors of his life. The objective here is not to romaticize Max’s life, but rather to use the power of Deb’s photography to capture the singularities of Max’s life as a cancer patient. So much of what happens to him and what he goes through is missed by our cameras, this will give the people who care about Max a better idea of the highs, and lows, that he experiences out of sight of anyone other than his doctors, nurses and us.
Let us know what you think.
Andy & Melissa Mikulak, Max’s parents
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