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Wonderful article by a wonderful, courageous woman I am lucky enough to call my friend. What Tracy doesn't realize is the affect she's had on me by going through the worst of the worst, yet continuing to enjoy her life, family, and friends. I draw strength from her ability to express her true feelings, through this article and other ways, that I am often not able to find the courage to do in my own life. What a wonderful wake-up call this article is to think about what we label inappropriate in our own lives just because we are not comfortable, not because it is an issue that shouldn't be discussed. I need to think about that more since I also have two young daughters. I want to teach them to be free to express themselves, however they feel is appropriate, no matter the limitations I have place on myself. To my sweet friend, Tracy, may you lead me to more aha moments through your beautiful writing. Love, Laura DeBusk
Living through this experience now with my five year old daughter. This was an amazing piece, I really understand what you have dealt with and how tender/sad/heart wrenching those conversations can be. I loved this piece, Tracy. Thank you for helping to help the world understand the many dimensions of mastectomy. We need to talk about it.
Incredibly appropriate, beautifully written. Thank you for the honor of reading your story.
I get hand-me-down issues of Brain, Child from my dear friend Kristi May who has been a religious subscriber of this wonderful magazine for years. Imagine her surprise when she was doing her usual cover to cover read in bed and turned the page to see a photograph of me in the current issue! Imagine my surprise when she called me!!On the eve of my five year cancerversary, to read Tracy's article is to receive the greatest gift imaginable. Having my photo taken by David Jay for the SCAR Project was something I felt compelled to do. Posing topless? Definitely not on my bucket list. But the universe called to me, I answered, and now I get the rare opportunity to know why.I'd like to think my daughters, aged 1 and 4 at the time I was diagnosed, had a lot to do with why we are forever connected, Tracy, without ever having met. Because they were so young and still intimately connected to the body from which they issued, there was always complete acceptance. "This is MY mama," baby Lindsey would say while patting a firm surface, a way of trying to get me to remove my prosthetic boobs so she could lay her head against my heart, beating so close to the surface. And 4 year old Natalie, so wise and wonderful, said, as I was changing for the pool, "Mommy, your scars look like two mouths smiling at me." In another crazy twist of fate, my surgeon had only one date on his calendar available to remove my port. Tomorrow! Five years to the day the bottom fell out of my world. If that wasn't enough of a sign that it's time for me to move on from cancer patient to the great hereafter, then your article is the proverbial anvil falling from the sky onto my head! Thank you hardly seems adequate.With deep gratitude and LOVE!Cary Goldberg
I am deeply moved by Tracy's article, for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is my personal relationship with and admiration for the stunning Cary Goldberg pictured there, as well as my mother's own breast cancer survival (10 years and counting!)-- and Mom is big into what is and isn't appropriate, believe me! More striking still is that Tracy and I are apparently connected through a Wake Forest University friend, Perri Kersh, which has underscored for me the deep connectedness of all of us women, thousands of miles apart, mothering, loving, losing, struggling, with scars visible and unthinkable, as well as those hidden and far less life-threatening. What a gift you courageous women who write and pose for photos and speak out are to the rest of us, inspiring us to push to new levels of "appropriate" while providing balm for both the scarred and the merely scared.Keep going.Many thanks ~
I went to college with Cary's husband, so I got the link to this article on Facebook. It's amazing to me to see such healthy, open responses to breast cancer, because I have experienced the opposite. My best friend has supported his girlfriend of 12 years through 2 bouts with breast cancer. Unfortunately, given the situation, she is a very shy native Japanese woman. Due to a combination of personal and cultural factors, she is ashamed to admit to anyone that she even had breast cancer. Even now, if she found out that I knew, she would be extremely upset with my friend.So she cuts herself off from so much useful support, and it definitely shows. She has recovered physically, but she is more reluctant than ever to re-engage with the world.My point is to reaffirm the obvious, that having an open attitude about the effects of breast cancer is so much better for both the survivors and the people who love them. Even if it does sometimes feel 'inappropriate.'
Thank you Tracy, for writing this wonderful, honest, story. Your kind words are sincerely appreciated. I am beyond humbled that The SCAR Project has been able to help you in some small way. Thank you again. David Jay xxOh, and one more thing: Hello cary!
Tracy,What a beautiful and powerful story. It made me cry. My mother is a breast cancer survivor, with a single mastectomy, and your story really helped me to understand her experience. While her diagnosis was in her sixties, and I was an adult by then, with more curiosity than horror about her scars, she has been pretty fierce in protecting her privacy since her surgery. I know she is still being the mother trying to protect her daughter from the pain of seeing her body so altered. But it might mean a lot to her if I let her know that I am adult, and I am not afraid. I want to tell her about this amazing photographer and his even more amazing and courageous subjects. And of course, I want her to read your beautiful words.
I loved the article, "Inappropriate." So, thanks for publishing it. My Mother is a 17 year breast cancer survivor who chose not to have reconstructive surgery. She followed in the footsteps of her mother, who also had a double mastectomy, at a time in the 1950's when reconstruction wasn't available. So, two of the most important women in my life have spent (Nana died just before her 105th birthday) a portion of their lives without their breasts. Mom didn't see the point in doing the reconstruction, though it was an option in 1994. She was cool with it then, and she's still cool with it now. Really, the biggest hassle of it all has been her occasional fights with the insurance company to pay for the replacement "prosthetics" (I say cutlets) for her bra. Seeing the beautiful photographs reinforces my acceptance of my mother's choice.
This was an amazing piece for me to read. My mom had breast cancer and a double mastectomy while I was in middle school, and there was no openness like this on the part of my parents or my brothers and me. I believe I even had to find out on my own what the word mastectomy meant, as there was never any talk of breasts or their absence.Thank you to all of you for your honesty, your sharing, and your lack of shame.
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