Body, Event, Self-portrait without Breasts

An evening at Drew University’s Caspersen School of Graduate Studies on the 21st of September 2015

I am most grateful to Philip Scibilia – who heads up the Medical Humanities programme – and to Elizabeth Fehsenfeld for their invitation to speak last week and for their enthusiastic welcome and generous hospitality. Thank you to Tara Jenner for the warm introduction. I was delighted to meet Sean Nevin who is Director of… Continue reading An evening at Drew University’s Caspersen School of Graduate Studies on the 21st of September 2015

Body, Everyday living, Life Writing, Medical Humanities, News, Self-portrait without Breasts

Seven-year itch

I can’t quite believe I’m now seven years post-op. What is it about seven years? Some urban myth that every single cell in the body has renewed itself in that time (skin is quick to renew itself in seven days, bones take longer – several to seven years, and it seems most other organs are… Continue reading Seven-year itch

Everyday living, News, Self-portrait without Breasts, Swimming

Swimathon

I’ve finally done it. After thinking about it for several years, I’ve signed up for the Swimathon. On April 27th I’ll be swimming 5 km (just over 3 miles), that’s two hundred lengths of the local Leisure Centre pool. The swim is in aid of Marie Curie Cancer Care. Swimming has always been one of… Continue reading Swimathon

Body, Breastless, Excisions, I am Book, Journalling, Life Writing, Medical Humanities, News, Self-portrait without Breasts

‘Bodies of Work’

I am pleased to present, as a round-up of this year's work on the project, the text of an article I wrote for issue 9 of Artemis Poetry, November 2012. My thanks to Kay Syrad for inviting me to write this piece and to Dilys Wood and Anne Stewart of Artemis Poetry for kind permission… Continue reading ‘Bodies of Work’

Body, Event, Life Writing, Medical Humanities, News, Self-portrait without Breasts

Self-portrait without Breasts in Exeter, 27th November 2012

It was quite a journey by rail over the flood waters on November 27th, but what a wonderful event Andy Brown and Corinna Wagner and many others had organised at Exeter University. Thanks to all of you for everything you did to make it happen. Special thanks to Dr James Mackay for coming from London… Continue reading Self-portrait without Breasts in Exeter, 27th November 2012

Body, Journalling, Medical Humanities, News, Self-portrait without Breasts

Fear

The modern word 'fear' is descended from the Old Saxon word ‘var’, meaning ambush. I found I was strung out between different fears, feeling ambushed time after time: chronic fear of developing breast cancer, fear of the effects of that on my family, fear of taking preventive action, fear of making the ‘wrong’ decision, gut-wrenching… Continue reading Fear

Body, Journalling, Medical Humanities, News, Self-portrait without Breasts

Scars

I’m lucky, my scars are quite neat and flat, and the incision lines themselves now silvery. The scars are not quite symmetrical – the surgeon said that’s because my breasts weren’t quite symmetrical. 28 June 2006 This morning I woke thinking about breasts and femininity – how empowering to have breasts, but how potentially empowering… Continue reading Scars