I don’t think about having had cancer on a daily basis anymore. Some time during the last half a year I stopped identifying myself as a cancer patient. I didn’t even realize that it happened, but the shift is big. And the relief equally paramount. My scar has simply become a beautiful part of me and bears almost no connection to my cancer anymore. I live my life like this never happened, all in all busy and happy.
But the last months I’ve been impacted by the news of several friends having their cancer metastasized; one friend that I got to know this spring through a flat advocacy group passed away from the same condition in late November. This is a very real risk for everyone that has had cancer, something that we are all fear and it gets to my gut every time. Statistically 1 out of 3 breast cancer patients get stage IV cancer, for which there currently is no cure.
The dilemma of cancer is that you risk getting so scared of dying that you stop living.
But to do exactly the opposite is pivotal. So for every news of relapse or a struggle that ended, we all are obliged to live our lives even fuller or more vivid. So that if the moment should come and we ourselves get the terrible news, we have already lived all that we could.
It’s equally monumental that we should not put ourselves down for not looking like we used to, for having scarred bodies or not adhering to the beauty norms. We can not allow insecurities to block for a good and full life, you are worth so much more than that. Remember that your body is perfect that way it is, only for the fact that it is yours and it carries you in this world.
Me and other people that publicly show our scars are told we are brave, but I don’t feel brave for showing my body and what it looks like to me every day. It’s the norms that are sick. Sick for telling people that you should not show yourself unless you are “perfect”. If you are scarred, fat, without boobs or different in other way then you are brave to show it? I disagree! It’s your right to be and to be accepted in this world no matter what you look like. And the more we show ourselves like we are, the more we support other people and their unique looks.
So I’m proud to now contribute to several projects to celebrate body confidence:
- A photo project with “Sex og Samfund” a Danish non profit sex ed organization, that are putting together teaching material (maybe for a book of they can get funding) of naked bodies of all types. The aim is to show children real bodies of all kinds, so I figured that a former breast cancer patient should be represented in this. The pictures and project will hopefully come out in spring.
- Finally signing the legal form, so that Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen, Denmarks biggest hospital, can use my pictures of my flat reconstruction to show future patients, giving them an idea about what their own reconstruction could look like and changing the procedures altogether, so that not only pictures of reconstructions done by the plastic surgeon is shown.
- Having my picture amongst so many others on the new project Flat Closure Now, to help women all over the world see the flat choice as a valid and good choice and at the same time showing how many women everywhere actually lives happily with this choice.
- And lastly to model for photographer Anne Marie and her exam project on the theme portraits. She would take pictures of me and two other cancer patients, to show that beauty lies not in the norm only, but we all are beautiful no matter what.