Thursday, February 18, 2010


-modified picture of Modigliani "Nu assis," 1910-

I think she's beautiful! It could have been my portrait, after my first mastectomy. I had to have another surgery after that, because the margins of the right lumpectomy weren't cancer free. My oncologists advised another amputation, rather than re-excision and radiation. They suggested to reconstruct (DIEP-flap) during the same surgery ... I remember sitting on the couch with my husband the evening we were told. I had no doubts about amputation, but I felt very weary of the reconstruction at the same time. Plus, I only had about three months to decide ... I slid sighing against my husband on the couch as I voiced my concern: "of course I want them to amputate, but why reconstruct, is it that important?" Terrible question to ask a husband ... He was silent for a long while and then said: "but, why wouldn't you have them reconstruct?" with an intonation that suggested he really wanted to ask why I was being so "hard" for myself ... at least that's what I read in it ... my husband knows me well ... It's true, had I chosen for re-excision, I would probably have gone back for a reconstruction. During the three months of recovery after my left amputation I watched my scar heal and felt the new shape and asymmetry of my (new) torso didn't look right, from an aesthetic viewpoint, maybe even from my artist's viewpoint. It didn't feel right either, from the inside-out ... I do know of women who just go for the double amputation-scar-look and I do admire their strong torso-photos on The Scar Project. They're awesome! But it wouldn't have been (for) me ... When I look at my new breasts, I know I would have felt it to be cold and hard (for me) ...


Kathleen McHugh/ said...

Words like "courageous" and "brave" don't even come close to describing you.

Momo Luna said...

Dear Ria,

thank you so much for this intimate and honest post. And i agree with Kathleen.

Sweet greetz for you!

Bill Evertson said...

Wonderful post Ria. Your words certainly are an inspiration!

ria said...

THANK YOU Kathleen! I had to cry a bit when I read your comment, but that's okay! :) xoxo-
Thank you too Monica! xoxo-
Thx Bill! :)