Most of you know I had breast cancer back in 2008. I didn't have metastatic cancer, mine was Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS) and was still contained in my milk ducts, but back in 2008 it felt just as life-threatening.
Juan and I both journaled our way through - he photographed and I wrote. When I was diagnosed I had searched through women's cancer stories looking for candid photographs showing how surgery changed their bodies and their lives but found none. When we surfaced Juan shared his images with me. They were honest and intimate, the kind of photographs that would have helped me make the tough decisions cancer demands, so I wove our journals together, creating a photo memoir entitled Cancer's Eddy.
Some women's partners leave them when they discover breasts are about to disappear, a scenario which is unfathomable to me or to Juan. But I was one of the lucky ones. Juan was the most incredible partner I could have had! His enormous capacity to cradle all of my raging and fearful emotions enabled me to maneuver cancer's blind curves. He taught me the power of laughter and lightness and how deeply one's intentions must be rooted for commitment to survive.
Partners whose loved ones have been diagnosed with cancer don't always know what to do. I thought sharing Juan's way of supporting me might support others.
It took me seven years to create this final edition - so many edits and revisions! - but I actually love that part. Editing is when I lose track of time and slip into that deeper zone of knowing what I truly feel and think and then watching it appear on paper. It's a remarkable experience. Juan was my primary editor. He skillfully edited my words when he felt they didn't get to the essence of our experience and he also remembered what I forgot. I asked lots of friends and family to read our book and weigh in on ways to make it better. It was essential to get other's eyes on my words and design. So very essential! I send my deepest thanks and love to each and every one of you!
Juan and I endearingly refer to our book as "The Booby Book," because losing my breast became the conduit through which we traveled in order to get to the other side. When I fretted over whether or not to include photos of intact breasts my daughter, Mikaela, said "Mom, you've got to show what you lost." So the photos show all.
The bottom line is far too many women are losing their breasts. Far too many people are diagnosed with cancer. I won't delve into it on this post, but why aren't the researchers screaming about the hundreds of millions of pounds of chemicals we dump into our environment on a yearly basis? Those chemicals most certainly contribute to our skyrocketing cancer rate. But I'll hold off. That deserves some serious air time.
In the meantime, I have included a few non-booby photos from our book in this post.
If you are interested in buying a copy I have created an e-commerce store on this site. I am buying my books in lots of 20, so if they miraculously get sold out it will take me a couple of weeks to restock my supply. I promise to communicate with you if that is the case.
The price includes media mail shipping, so if you live in the Missoula area and want to save shipping costs, you can purchase our book at The Artists' Shop at 127 N Higgins in downtown Missoula. Since I am new at e-commerce, please let me know if you encounter any glitches and I will scurry around and figure out what happened.
If you're interested in just talking, you can contact me via email or phone. I am always open to share with others.
Thank you again for reading!