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brave beyond compare

Jan 31, 2012 • 8 comments • 1661 views

I have been carrying around an irrational kind of guilt for a year. In the year since my girlfriend, Caro, died of Breast Cancer. We met at University twenty years ago. She died last January, two weeks before her 38th birthday.


I think the guilt is to do with still getting to be a mother to my three young daughters, while she no longer gets to mother her four.


 Late last year I had a check-up and the doctor sent me for a mammogram. After the results of the first, I was asked to have another. Then I was sent for an ultra sound. I had another week to wait for my results. Two weeks of uncertainty, all up.


I don't know if I'm alone in having an over-active subconscious, but in those two weeks I would find myself awake from 2:30am, preparing myself for any given scenario.


But who was I kidding? Nothing could really prepare you for the words, "You have Breast Cancer". 


Ironically, I wasn't prepared for the relief I felt when my Doctor said my results were fine, either. A strange kind of guilt settled on me, because I knew that that same day, there were 36 other Australian women being told that their mammogram shows they do have Breast Cancer.


I swallowed my relief and said a prayer for those thirty-six women and their families.


Last week, I was arrested by the most startling image: of a pregnant woman with a scar slashed through her chest where her breast should be. Used to be. It was an image from David Jay's exhibition, 'The SCAR Project: Breast Cancer is Not a Pink Ribbon". I found out David has published a book of fifty images of Breast Cancer patients and Survivors, accompanied by autobiographical accounts of their journeys thus far.


These women are brave beyond compare! And generous, for sharing their most profoundly intimate journey with the world.


I had to interview David, to find out how his project started, his aims in photographing these women and what the project has achieved so far. I also attach a link to the book and some images from it.


Be warned: you will be changed. So will your perception of Breast Cancer and the women ravaged by it.


By the way, my Doctor said, 'make sure you bring those images with you next year, so they can compare results'. That's when the reality hit me: Just because your results are fine this time, it doesn't mean they will be forevermore. Breast Cancer is a constant threat to women everywhere.


My aim in posting is to help raise awareness and funds for a cure. The SCAR project book is available at Amazon.





image: http://www.thescarproject.org/gallery/

(with permission from David Jay)

Also appears in:

First Person

*in tears*
01.31.12 •
01.31.12 •
I love this image! To me - it says "I'm alive...F you Cancer" Her eyes over-power the rest of the image.
01.31.12 •
Fantastic, Belinda — thanks so much. Very powerful. Perhaps you could run the interview with David Jay here on Convozine! It would be great in several zines, I can think of — like yours, certainly, but also the photography zines.
01.31.12 •
A touching yet powerful account. Thanks for sharing this, Belinda.
01.31.12 •
I will never be the same or think the same way about Breast Cancer since being affected by these images, either.

Thanks for the suggestion, Terry. I will submit the interview to one of the photography magazines.

02.01.12 •
deeply moving
02.06.12 •
Here's the interview: http://convozine.com/fotojorno/28902
02.07.12 •
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