This group has been invaluable in helping me come to terms with my post-surgery body. Being part of this community I know I am not "militant" as one of the hospital nurses described me, but just a woman who was absolute in her resolve to avoid any additional surgery. For me, getting back to normal life after cancer is not about getting a new breast but getting as healthy as possible, as quickly as possible. The truth is I have lost my breast to cancer and no surgery will replace it.
Within the whirlwind that was the first two weeks of my sister being diagnosed she was informed about being tested for the gene mutations BRCA one and two. As my mum had also died reasonably young from the disease and we had reason to believe it was on both her mother and fathers side of the family it seemed very possible that the gene resided in our family.
Beth took off her clothes and allowed herself to be photographed by her long-time friend and photographer Nadia Mascot for a project they are calling Under The Red Dress. In a bid to educate women about breast cancer. In a bid to start a conversation about how cancer surgeries change your body and the way you feel about yourself.
So I was wandering around the supermarket last November when I received a call asking if I was willing to take part in a topless photo shoot! "Err, OK" was my feeble response but the more I learned about the project, the more I wanted to get involved. And I was not alone, I was joined by women the length and breast (pun intended) of the country!