breast cancer as art

One thing that I wonder about is empowering women pre and post breast cancer surgery.  Before I had my surgery I had considered having a photographer do before and after photos for lack of a better description to help me face any self body image issues.    I didn’t have time, but I know women do it, and I am discovering women who have done this post-surgery.  I am still thinking about it.  

I want to own my life and body image, not run from it.  Breast cancer makes you want to run some days – but where the hell do you run to if you are only running away from yourself?

 And face it , as women it’s a  journey under normal circumstances to learn to love ourselves as we are.   After all, if women could truly deal with who they were, would there be so much plastic surgery in the United States? I mean to each their own, not trying to judge, but still I wonder…

I found a Master’s Thesis from Indiana University concerning part of this – it’s very interesting and you can read it online. It’s by someone named  Jularut Padunchewit

A couple of years ago (and I went Googling to find it) a photographer did just this – self portraits of herself through treatment – her name is Alexandria Avakian.  Check out the article and her photo essay.  I also found this paper from a woman names Susan E. Bell from Bowdoin College in Maine – making art to make sense.  But the photos I saw there were disturbing – and to me, negative.

I have this whole idea, and I am sure it has been done only I can’t find it yet .  Examples of a project  – a self-portrait project even that focuses on the positives – i.e. simply being alive.  Yes, you have to pay homage to the changes in your body and no I am not looking forward to Tamoxifen and radiation and hope my onco type is low and means no chemo….but I digress little monsters…

I am trying to hit each new thing head on.   It’s this weird if I can look at it I can deal with it thing.

Anyway, just a thought.  A kind of my body, myself for breast cancer patients and survivors.   You could build some fabulous openings and gallery openings around this.  I envision this whole big thing say during a breast cancer awareness week, month, whatever.

Oh did I mention I am a hawk about my ideas?  I am.  So if you want to use them, don’t be cheap bastards and poach…pay me. Because if you pinch my ideas you’ll find I will  find you and haunt you.

About carla

Writer, blogger, photographer, breast cancer survivor. I write about whatever strikes my fancy as I meander through life.
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6 Responses to breast cancer as art

  1. dropjohn says:

    I think there are plenty of others doing this, on one level or another – I started a photo blog before surgery (though I wish I had better photos, more professional), and I think it’s a great idea. We’re all different – different surgeries, different bodies to start with, different healing processes, – but it gives a woman facing these types of surgeries some idea of what’s ahead.

    When I was looking at it for myself, I was dismayed that most of the photos I could find – though amazing, don’t get me wrong – were of more radical body modifications, or of rebuilds… and very few through the process, so I didn’t really know what to expect immediately after, a week after, a month after, with radiation, a year after, etc….

    So, I started my own record. From the ultrasound showing the mass; pre surgery, with markings to show incision and excision; post surgery; cording; distortions – and my evolving feelings around the whole thing as commentary. I’ve neglected that blog of late with the current upsets, but I’m still keeping the photo record, and I’m planning to get back to it.

    The more the better – as a way of documenting the changes, as a way for other to see what may lie ahead, as a way of accepting your own body, altered and proud.

    Do it. Take the risk. Love yourself.

    • well – I kind of already have taken the risk. That photo in this post is me. Post surgery and interpreted to fit. Your photos were helpful to me and comforting in a weird we’re-in-this-breast-cancer thing

  2. dropjohn says:

    That’s the best response I could get… that it was helpful.

    • well it was helpful and honest and raw with it’s own kind of beauty. people don”t know what to say I have decided when faced with this stuff. me my brain isn’t firing on all cylinders at all times of the day right now, so I hope you don’t think I was giving you short shrift

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