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Topic: Self-portrait: mastectomy scars  (Read 8786 times)
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nodakbex
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« on: October 12, 2009 11:02:29 AM »

This is my entry for the Breast Cancer Awareness challenge.



I stitched this from a photograph that I took of myself in 2006.  Almost 6 years ago (on my birthday!) I had what it is called a prophalactic bilateral mastectomy, which means I had both of my breasts removed as a preventive measure.  Although I had all the signs of getting breast cancer, I didn't have it.  I do have quite the family history though.  My mother died of it in her thirties, one of her sisters had breast cancer and one sister had ovarian cancer while her mother had breast cancer twice in her life.  After my own cancer scares, mammograms, lumpectomy, biopsies, etc., I decided enough was enough.  I voluntarily had mine removed before a lot of Hollywood celebrities made it "ok" to do.  Some people were supportive, some were not.  I'm so glad I did it though.

Here is a comparison of the piece next to the photograph:



The embroidery is reversed from the actual image.  The photograph was inspired by my desire to show the world I wasn't going to be ashamed at my scars and my "fake" breasts.  One breast has a nice, even scar while the other has a wider scar as well as a lumpectomy and biopsy scars.

I used linen and black DMC floss with a basic back stitch.

Thanks for looking at my Frankenboobies!
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LovieDovieAnn
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2009 11:33:47 AM »

This is beautiful! What a strong woman you are!

I'm not sure if this is the place, but did they do a full mastectomy, did they leave some of the fatty tissue intact, or did you have implants? It looks like you have more there than one would expect after such a surgery.
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« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2009 11:35:21 AM »

Thank you so much for such an amazing piece.
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sminto
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2009 11:40:31 AM »

Wow. I admire your courage and bravery for sharing this. My mother also passed away from breast cancer, so I understand your fears and worries and deciding to have the mastectomy to at least not worry about cancer. Again, you're a brave woman, and thank you for sharing.
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« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2009 11:54:08 AM »

Very nicely done and of course you are brave, you survived how awesome is that.  Anyone who survives has no need to be embarrassed.  YOUR AWESOME!!
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nodakbex
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« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2009 01:07:42 PM »

This is beautiful! What a strong woman you are!

I'm not sure if this is the place, but did they do a full mastectomy, did they leave some of the fatty tissue intact, or did you have implants? It looks like you have more there than one would expect after such a surgery.

They left a little bit of breast tissue, I was told around 1%.  It was a long process to reconstruct.  Long story short, I had to have expander implants behind the muscle filled weekly for several months.  Then they overfilled them and let scar tissue form around the implant.  Then they drained the excess saline out of them and let them sit again to let scar tissue form so there is a pocket around the implants to allow for scar tissue contraction.  That's why implants were bursting open...it was the contractions from the scar tissue.  Once that was all done I had the expanders replaced with silicone implants.  I have a low tolerance for pain and it was a really painful process for me.  But again, still glad I did it!

Thank you ladies for all your positive comments!!
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« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2009 06:34:41 PM »

A courageous woman with a brave photo turned into a a moving and potent piece of embroidery!
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« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2009 08:22:01 PM »

I love you and your Frankenboobies! Lol (love that word, totally going to steal it)

Hats off to you, you are courage and strength and creativity.   Kiss
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« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2009 10:15:37 PM »

What an amazing piece. It brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing. Your strength is so inspirational!
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LovieDovieAnn
« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2009 10:25:01 PM »



They left a little bit of breast tissue, I was told around 1%.  It was a long process to reconstruct.  Long story short, I had to have expander implants behind the muscle filled weekly for several months.  Then they overfilled them and let scar tissue form around the implant.  Then they drained the excess saline out of them and let them sit again to let scar tissue form so there is a pocket around the implants to allow for scar tissue contraction.  That's why implants were bursting open...it was the contractions from the scar tissue.  Once that was all done I had the expanders replaced with silicone implants.  I have a low tolerance for pain and it was a really painful process for me.  But again, still glad I did it!

Thank you ladies for all your positive comments!!
[/quote]

I am in awe right now. There's no way in hell I'd do that. I'm too much of a wimp. >.<
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