Thursday, October 03, 2013

When You Want To Be A Cheerleader

A year ago today I was in my surgeon's office for a postoperative visit after having had a lumpectomy a week previously. The last thing he told me when he left my hospital room, in fact he stopped, turned and looked at me sideways and said, "the pathology report won't  be back when I see you next week." The report came back much sooner than he expected. A year ago today he told me I did indeed have cancer.

Thank you for reading along side me while I have muddled through this past year. I so wanted to be a rah-rah happy go lucky cancer survivor. I so wasn't. And still am not. A few months ago I did a silent retreat and the single thing I took away from it happened in the blink of an eye when I thought I heard these words" "Accept who you are, as you are, where you are."

I have been open for several months now for some kind of ritual, some kind of happening, to mark my cancer journey. This week an opportunity presented itself to me in the form of a local professional photographer who fund raises for breast cancer awareness yearly. He does a photo shoot of women with pink ribbons tastefully covering their bare chests and every woman donates money in exchange for the photographs. Some friends of mine had their photos taken last week and they are beautiful.

I contacted him and will be photographed before the first anniversary of my mastectomy which is coming up later this month. I asked him when he photographed a woman who had had a mastectomy if they ever left that side of their body bare of ribbon. You know the photos are nice of women with both breasts intact but it feels a bit like playing dress up. If you want breast cancer awareness let's get to the nitty gritty of its reality. He told me he had been waiting for a woman to be brave enough to let her mastectomy scar be photographed. I guess that would be me.

He plans of having my photos complete so they can be shared on his social media page on the one year anniversary of losing my breast. I have many feelings about doing this but mostly I feel empowered.


10 comments:

Robin said...

You go, girl.

Erin Wilson said...

I'll cheerlead for you today!! I'm crying, reading this. I believe this will be an incredible experience for you. And as a photographer, I am overwhelmed with the gift you are giving this photographer. We all have these images we long to make, and patiently... patiently wait sometimes years for the moment when we have enough courage or a subject does. I feel the weight of this... and it's freaking beautiful.

xoxo

annie said...

I'm glad to hear you say you feel empowered. That is how I would imagine it would feel. I'm proud you are able to do this.

Daisy said...

Oh wow, Hope! Like annie, I'm glad for you, too.

Jim said...

Follow your heart, your gut, and His voice, Hope. This seems to me like a big step; but you have already taken so many. What a witness you have provided here in your journey. You're quite a lady, ma'am....

Peter said...

There is a wonderful bookstore here called Northern Woman's Bookstore, and for many years, they had a poster on their wall, depicting a topless mastectomy survivor. She had her head flung back in ecstasy, and where her breast had been, a large tattoo of a blossom. I found that photo very moving.
It may not be your cup of tea, but I like the idea of finding a way to celebrate being alive in a defiant way.

Hope said...

Yes, Peter - being alive in a defiant way appeals to me.

Akannie said...

How wonderful, Hope...you are one brave woman, in so many ways.

I can't wait to see the photos...

Mary LA said...

Good for you Hope -- it will be so honest and beautiful.

Mary Christine said...

I'm so glad you shared here - for real - not as a cheerleader.