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A Sampling of Segment Titles. . .

A Rose by Any Other Name
Blooming
Tell Me About Nipples
My First Bra, No, My Second
To Cleave or Not to Cleave
Nursing is a Whole Other Thing

A Sampling of Segment Titles Specific to
Cancer. . .

What Do I Say? 
One Step at a Time
Butchered
Anger
She Didn’t Tell Me
The Lump

She Didn’t Tell Me

She didn't tell me.  I was seven, so I think she thought I was too young.  That's always a problem with parents. Because they make love and bring us into the world, because they know what day we were born and therefore "how old" we are, they often think we're too young.  So -she didn't tell me.  But I knew 'cuz I saw.  I saw the worried look on my dad's face.  I saw the fear in his eyes and I knew.  I saw the far off look that my mother had now so often.  I saw her wipe away the tears from the crying that she would not let me see and I knew. I saw they were angry but not at each other.  My mother combed the anger out of my hair.  Before I would have cried out, but I didn't because I knew.  I saw my brother walk around quiet and stay out of trouble, so I knew he knew.  He was older, so she told him. But she didn't tell me.

 

Then later, afterward, after the surgery and when her strength was coming back, we were together in a ladies dressing area and she knew that I knew, so she showed me.  Nowadays they take great care with what it will look like after the surgery.  Back then they were focused only on getting it all.  That's how I choose to look at it.  It wasn't smooth or neatly healing.  It was big and raw and red and jagged.

My mind was blank as I looked at it.  Then suddenly I was flooded with everything she went through.  Her pain and discomfort.  The "I'm so sorry" looks people gave her.  The "I can't do much" feeling of helplessness.  The loss of her hair, her appetite, her diminished drive.  The loss of the concert pianist's ability to play at concert level.

I looked at my mom as she smiled at me.  I remember she was talking to me but I don't remember hearing what she said, but she was smiling and making pleasant.  She didn't tell me, but I knew.  I knew the pain because although she smiled, she flinched when she put her arm around me.  But she did put her arm around me and smile.  She didn't tell me, but I knew the affect it had on her because this woman, who I knew could fly because of how fast she could get across a room, was moving much, much more slowly.  Our walks took longer, but she still walked with me.

She did everything she could to stay with me as long as she could. She didn't tell me, but I knew how much she loved me.

To Cleave or Not to Cleave

Thinkin’ I was cute, I shoved them into this really pretty little black lace bra.  One with lacy straps on the side and a little built up part underneath.  And underwires.  Underwires.  Got to be a male invention.  I had pushed ‘em up and squeezed ‘em into this low cut thing thinkin’ I was cute.  I was about 27 at the time and was going out to this club ... and it was really time to be cute.  I sacrificed my babies for cute.  Sorry girls.  That was the time, I made cleavage and used it.  I was so glad to take that damn bra off when I got home I didn’t know what to do.


 

Photography by Maria Photography

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