Women’s Health


Recently, I participated in an article in Women's Health magazine called How my Body Changed… And How it Changed Me. This is the September issue, whose theme is Strong, Sexy and Naked. For this article, the magazine interviewed three women in total, myself, Sarah Lee Strobel, an amputee and a Lindsay Washburn who has Crohn's disease and an ostomy.

Later in the magazine, the editors asked several women to complete the sentence, 'My naked body is…' to which I would respond, 'the best and most beautiful it has ever been.' Breast cancer facilitated my need to invest in body positivity and body love. And although I would not choose to be diagnosed with cancer, there is grace, there are blessings and there is beauty here.

I did not always think this way. Rather, I adopted these ideals. I faked it for a while, until it became my reality. I invested in finding beauty in all body types, fat and thin, black, white, yellow and red, female, male and everything in between. Prior to breast cancer my ideals were much more narrowly defined, less questioned; I made a conscious choice to embrace body positivity and body love, because my body would forever be changed. This is the blessing.

If you have found me through the Women's Health magazine article, welcome. I help run a support group called My Flat Friends. We don't care what type reconstruction you choose, but you must either know your BRCA status or have been diagnosed with breast cancer. You are welcome to join.

And as always, remember: Stage 4 NEEDS More. If you are inclined, please donate to Metavivor to ensure responsible use of money for breast cancer research that benefits those who need it most.

Flat-Out Fabulous, the New York Post

Today, an article about my breast cancer journey appeared in the New York Post. The hard copy version is named Flat-Out Fabulous, which is, of course, my preferred headline. 🙂 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And just to brag? The quilt pictured in the article is my latest! I printed the dot fabric and combined it with commercial prints and it is slated for a feature article in a fabulous quilting magazine. You have seen it first, here!

All of this aside, I would like to say, it is important to me to tell my story. I do it for myself, it helps me heal. But I also do it for those who come after me. I am glad to be strong enough to withstand what I did during my diagnosis and time of need. But no reconstructive option should be weighted more heavily than any other. Bias should not play a role in the options a doctor presents.

I want the words, ‘flat reconstruction’ to be part of the breast cancer lexicon.

If we start using this term, doctors will use it, if doctors use it, insurance companies will use it-and pay for it.

Also? Flat is reconstruction, it takes skill to deconstruct breasts and create a flat surface. When we ask to forego (breasted) reconstruction, we do not mean that we want skin sparing mastectomy, we mean ‘Flat Reconstruction’. Flat. Too many of my friends have asked for ‘flat’ and gotten skin sparing mastectomy (which, in my estimation, is unethical). Neither do we want ‘dog ears’, or flaps of skin under of arms or in the center of our chest. We want flat.

It’s hard enough to come to terms with a changed body, chemo brain, medications and the effects cancer treatment takes on a person. Struggling to accept surgical results should be the least of this equation.

Between the Post article and the CBS Sunday Morning piece, ‘my secret’ was revealed (I hadn’t intended to maintain a support group, but CBS caught on. So there you have it! ).

I have begun a group called, My Flat Friends. This group is intended to support women (we are LGBTQ inclusive) who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, or have been made aware of their BRCA status and are also artists-whatever that means to them. Although the name of the group references ‘flat’, ALL reconstructive options are welcome in the group, because we all have flat friends. 

If you need or want support and you fit these criteria, friend me on Facebook and Private Message me through FB, and I will add you to the group.

Check out the My Flat Friends Pinterest Board

And thank you for standing present to my needs and wishes for the breast cancer community at large.

 

Great big thanks to Bethany Kandel, the reporter who worked doggedly to present my story in such a great light.