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.
2 thoughts on “Flat-Out Fabulous, the New York Post”
Thank you Melly for sharing such a personal story with the world. You are strong and beautiful. Breasts do NOT make a woman! Women should have choices about how their bodies will look after breast cancer surgery and the medical community should offer these options and support them in their decision. Thanks for opening many people’s eyes to what some of these choices are and to proudly wear your scars as reminder that you have survived and breast cancer, thankfully didn’t kick your butt! You kicked back!
Hi I am a new follower, a lesbian, a breast cancer survivor and most importantly a compulsive crafter from Aotearoa New Zealand. This post is inspiring in so many ways to me. Given all the Trump-fulled nastiness just reading that your group is LGBTIQ inclusive really warmed my heart and made me feel welcome in your fiber community.
Thanks, I appreciate that more than you can know.