I was engrossed in making a presentation on the Part of Fortune for class this morning and completely missed Angelina Jolie’s announcement that she had had a prophylactic mastectomy until it was brought to my attention by a friend who asked if she could use a quote from me in light of it!
Once I looked the article up, I was thrilled that she had gone ahead with the surgery since I had thought about it back when she’d lost her mother to Ovarian Cancer, a related cancer. What shocked me was reading so many negative comments from people who don’t understand the context of a decision like hers. Sharon Osbourne received the same negative feedback when she made the same decision last year and it just amazes me how cruel and shallow people can be. I guess they are just proof that some people never really make it out of middle-school.
Their situations point up some differences between 1993, when I had my surgery, and 2013. In 1993, the BRCA gene test was new and no one was quite sure what percentage of cases it would account for, so I didn’t even have the test. We mostly discussed family medical histories. I had a traditional mastectomy which removed all breast tissue, leaving large scars. Reconstruction at a later time was offered but I preferred to stick with external prostheses and to cover the scars with tattoos. Angelina chose a skin sparing, immediate reconstruction option which she says left her with only small scars. Her cancer risk is slightly higher than mine but I am sure her results are more aesthetic than mine were pre-ink. Sharon had implants removed and I don’t know if she’s replaced them or not.
I’ll discuss why prophylaxis IS a reasonable way of dealing with cancer in another post, K?
Here is a link to Jolie’s New York Times piece.
And a link to Sharon Osbourne.
Amoena makes external breast prostheses.
Yup, That is the message I got from my friend Simon. He said he was monitoring news stories on the US budget situation and saw my picture on the Huffington Post. It must have been a slow news day! Now that the shock of running into my pictures in odd places is over I am marveling at how positive 99% of the reaction has been to them. Good thing, too. I also have to marvel that all these news companies have had to confront their own policies in order to post or print the pictures. Can’t you just hear the same conversation going on in each conference room, “Is it nudity?” ” No, it is a public service.” or “No, it is art.” and on and on.
My Mastectomy Tattoo Story
I got a surprise recently when I spotted pictures of my tattoo on pinterest. Scott posted pictures of it on his blog years ago and apparently the tattoo has taken on a life of its own. It has been pinned nearly 500 times and is linked on as many websites. Since that many people are being exposed to it, I guess it is time that I moved the pictures to my own blog and wrote its story myself. I’ll keep this post short but I’ll move it to a “breast cancer” tab and keep adding to it as I go.
I have had so many positive comments from women about how much my art has helped them to come to terms with their bodies and their scars that I want this to be a more permanent resource that people can refer their friends to and revisit as they wish. I promise to get some professional pictures done along the way as well.
Because we have the good fortune to have a wonderful house sitter, we were able to take the dogs camping this weekend. We like Olympia Campground because it is wooded and close to where we keep Chinook, our boat. We don’t plan dog activities as such, they just lie around, chase pinecones, beg snacks, bark at stuff, really the same things they do at home but it is more fun because they are outside. I spend most of my time inside, this trip I’ve been working on my tattoo-story that I’ll have posted soon. I took a break this morning for some exercise, left Scott and the dogs at the campsite and drove to the state Capitol to walk the trail that circles Capitol Lake. It is partly paved, partially gravelled and busy without feeling crowded. However, it was crowded enough that the only blackberries that were ripe were too far away to reach. All the easy to reach vines were picked clean. I did see lots of tiny ducklings but I am bummed that they don’t show up in the photo, sorry about that. I made an extra loop downtown to lengthen the walk a bit and then stopped at Taco Del Mar to bring home tasty vegan burritos for lunch, yum!
Click here for the official page: Things to see on the Capitol Campus.
Click to see my route: Plus3network.com