Now a few weeks of *not* doing chemotherapy has passed and I’ve had some time to reflect on all that has been and still is. I still feel like I’m in some kind of honeymoon period, feeling mostly joy and ease even though I’m not thoroughly up to normal speed again.
I still get the occasional blues, but it is substantially less now than during chemo and I have much more energy. What I come to realize and value is how big a difference writing this blog and being open about my situation has made. This has given me the opportunity to make sense of an essentially meaningless context. I doubt that I would myself be this confident if it wasn’t for the fact that others before me had been public about their situation, even though the examples were few here in Denmark. I have mentioned this before, but the monokini project in Finland was the first uniboob encounter I had and it showed me that it is possible to be just that. I have also been greatly inspired by Saga Sofie Jouatte who uses her body vigorously to promote the knowledge of flat agenda. Being represented is key here; choices that are not visible are in effect not available to us.
Saga Sofie Jouatte is one of the most prominent “flat” voices in Denmark using strong images to raise awareness. The surgeon told her “you are beautiful, but you’ll be even more beautiful with breasts”. Photo by Casper Dalhoff and JesperKristian
I consider myself lucky in my situation; as it is now I am contacted several times a week by strangers who have been inspired by my way of dealing with cancer and chemotherapy or by the mere fact that I’m comfortable about my new looks. Everyone is different and have a different set of perspectives or luggage that will make a journey such as this more or less difficult. Nevertheless, I feel great comfort in the fact that I have made a small contribution to making others feel better and it has helped myself to better deal with my own challenges. My hope is that more women see this as a real opportunity and don’t reconstruct just because the consequences of *not* doing it are too vast or simply from being afraid of sticking out.
Not only have my situation become easier to handle under these circumstances, getting my article published in Politiken and having my say here on the blog have resulted in a wide array of proposals on different projects to partake in. In one end of the spectrum, something I really look forward to, I have been invited to speak about the perspective of not reconstructing from a patient point of view at a breast cancer convention at Skejby hospital in spring. This is something that I’m really happy about, since this could add to better dialog between the health care system and patients. In the other end of that spectrum, I was asked if I would be interested in being a “page 9 girl” of the tabloid newspaper Ekstra Bladet. They have a “sexy” picture of a girl every day on page 9 and they wanted someone that was missing a breast to collect money for breast cancer and to raise awareness on this cause. The picture would look identical to women appearing there on other days, the point being that you’re equally sexy with or without breasts. This is an idea I fully support and I said I was interested in participating. I loved the idea to show a more diverse picture of sexyness.
Only to find out there was another requirement; I needed to wear a wig in the photo shoot. I was told that to truly be sexy in the picture I needed to have hair, so that it wouldn’t signal illness and not look like a “normal” girl! I have met many women with breast cancer lately and almost all of them struggles with the fact that they have lost their hair. This turns out to be one of the worst things to undergo as a breast cancer patient. Wanting to break a taboo with what I consider a progressive photo shoot at Ekstrabladet, it makes no sense to enforce a greater one on top: that you can only be a real and sexy woman with hair on your head.
Not that it was such a big surprise, but I still find it saying a lot about the taboos that breast cancer patients are facing. It really underline the hypocrisy that women in this society are met with. Saying it’s OK if you’re different, as long as it’s not too much and only under certain terms decided by others. Still I acknowledge that this is a step in the right direction, the woman that was chosen is increasing visibility of flatties; change does not come all at once.
Flat representation is increasing overall and I’m grateful to do my part. Today I did an interview to the Danish national broadcasting channel Tv2 to be shown on the news late October, talking about the choice to go flat, how representation really matters and how, amongst others, the flat and fabulous movement in the US was an important step in that direction for me personally. My blog has been added to a list of personal cancer blogs on the homepage of Kræftens Bekæmpelse, to showcase the flat option. To me this is going in the right direction, hopefully together we’ll make this choice more and more known to everyone.