You may or may not have noticed that there are some revealing photos attached to this blog post. These are not intended to titillate, but to capture this exact moment in time while my body remains mine, whole.
I read a story somewhere about a woman who had a bilateral mastectomy who longed to remember what her body looked like before surgery. She had no photos of her breasts and she missed them. I was struck by this commentary and wondered what I could do to document the skin, tissue, and shape that I was genetically granted.
I reached out to a friend who also happens to be an incredibly skilled photographer, Katie Gierke, otherwise known as Kathryn Hastings Photography. I approached the topic with caution, as I was iffy about my idea. She instantly affirmed my logic and said, ‘When and where? I would be honored to help document your transformation.’
I told Katie my ideas and concerns. I didn’t want the photos to end up being too boudoir-like in nature. Instead, more documentary and reverent. When it came time to take the photos, I was very, very nervous. As flamboyant as I may come across, I am rather modest with my figure. Dropping my shirt for a camera seemed insane (insert something that made me not exactly sober here). Another wonderful woman and friend, Jenna Dickson, came along as my ‘fluffer’ and away we went on our photographic odyssey of stopping time, if only for that moment.
The majority of these photos will not ever be posted publicly. They are for me. They will evoke emotions ranging from anger to gratitude and everything in between. But I did want to share a handful with you, my darling readers, for one important reason: Our bodies are much more than a physical representation of space and form. They carry our stories. My current narrative is about my breasts. They have nourished each of my children, been trusty accessories and sometimes just plain fun. I will mourn them deeply.
I want other women facing this diagnosis to know that it is not weird to want to capture your breasts on film for posterity. They are yours and they are important. As a doula, I speak often of how magnificent the breast and its capabilities are. Mine have served me well, but rightie has defected for reasons unknown and now she has to go.
Thank you, Katie, for being the kind and talented human that you are and for capturing me as I will never be again.
If you are ever in need of a compassionate, brilliant and, may I say, beautiful photographer, please visit http://www.kathrynhastings.com/
7 Comments Add yours
I’m incredibly empowered by this post. Thank you. Your strength is admirable and ready to serve you and your family in the coming days. My grandmother, aunt, and my mother have battled this disease. You have amazing doctors and you will beat this. Target treatment is unbelievable now, versus ten years ago. Be your beautiful every second. Beyond the procedures and surgeries, you will still be your beautiful. In fact, even more beautiful.
Thank you for taking the time to document this shitty time in your life. It will be a wonderful gift to someone someday starting down the path you are on now. I don’t know if you have found any good support groups yet, check out BC sisters on fb. If you are considering no recon, look up flat and fabulous on fb. There is a public page as well as a closed group. Feel free to contact me if you can’t find these or are hoping for more resources. Sending positive energy your way, I’m so sorry you have to be dealing with all of this.
Dearest Grace, Thank you for sharing your story with us and eloquently documenting this journey. You speak from your heart so deeply and we who are listening will learn from your words. Know that you have friends along the way who are hearing you and support you. Your strength and courage give us all pause, and your reality tinged with humor keeps us asking for more. You are a remarkable woman, an amazing spirit and a beautiful person. I know you will persevere and this disease has met its match. Love you 🙂
Grace I am blown away by how you are handling this new situation in your life. I wish my sisters were here to talk to you about what you are going through but alas they were BRACA as is my brother. I do not have the gene but feel as if I have dealt with it my whole life. I hope my youngest niece can call on you when her time comes as she is Braca also. She is 21 and will need the surgery by 29! Again you are in my thoughts and prayers. Much love, Mrs. P/Diane
Lovely and powerful. 🙂
Hi Grace, I love that you have a blog and your photos are beautiful and will inspire lots of women!! This is girl power at its finest!!