MPW.66 / 2014 Living on a Roller Coaster by Vivian Abagiu
Photographer
Vivian Abagiu Columbia, Missouri
Team Chapnick

Story Summary

Michelle Randall, 42, lives with her boyfriend, Dean, her daughter Caitlin, 8, and an inoperable cyst in her brain, named Franklin.

The cyst causes debilitating pain, nausea, tremors, and dizziness. "It is like living on a roller coaster that I never know is there" says Randall whose symptoms can occur at any moment.

Despite having limited mobility and constant pain Randall is fiercely independent --choosing to battle her condition rather than succumb to it. "I can lay around an be sick or I can do something…I don't want to be disabled," she says. 

For Michelle, that 'something' is to care for those around her, whether that be sharing veggies from her garden with neighbors or helping Caitlin with her homework before dinner. Randall's life of peaks and valleys includes great joy and perseverance in the face of great pain.