Catharsis came from getting my kit off

Hi. I guess what I went through five years ago when I was diagnosed with breast cancer isn’t at all remarkable. What’s unusual is that it led to me posing nude for a photo project about the disease.

My tumour was detected very late and there was evidence of cancer in my lymph nodes, so I feared that I may not be around long enough for my two young sons. Recording my thoughts in a daily journal helped me through the aftermath of diagnosis as I had a lumpectomy and started chemotherapy. By the time I’d undergone more surgery and radiotherapy almost a year had elapsed. I was left very tired but pleased to be in remission. However I did feel unfeminine and worried that this would become a permanent state. Fortunately this changed a year later when I had a reduction of my other breast to even things up.

This restored my self-esteem and I started to enjoy wearing nice clothes again. I was so confident about my body that I offered to expose my scars for On the Bright Side, a photo project by Amanda Crowther that aimed to create positive images of women who’d had breast cancer. My penchant for Paul Smith’s Swirl fashion range led to Amanda’s idea of capturing me naked in a multi-coloured pattern of light. Posing in the studio wearing nothing but a smile was exhilarating and I was delighted with the results. It’s no exaggeration to say that this was a cathartic experience that finally put my cancer to bed.

You can read a tongue in cheek account of my part in On the Bright Side with photos and my journal of the first three months online at Nicki’s Breast Cancer Diary: A Five-Year Journey - there’s a link and more details in my profile. My husband, John, created this beautiful website solely because we hope that my story may be entertaining and helpful for others affected by breast cancer.

Best wishes and regards, Nicki x

I hope it’s not bad form for me to comment on something posted by my wife. As her post doesn’t appear in Latest Forum Posts, I don’t want it to pass by unnoticed

Good for you…if I got my kit off it would have people running for the hills…

Thanks, Applestreet.

I am sorry if my post sent anybody running for the hills. In fact the biggest part of my Breast Cancer Diary is one woman’s authentic daily journal for three months starting on the day of my diagnosis. The story of my defiant act of getting my kit off is there as an entertaining counterpart to this sombre journal and to prove that there is hope.

If anyone can spare a few minutes to look at my diary, I’d really appreciate any views on whether it could be a useful resource to those in the seemingly hopeless position that I was in five years ago.

Thank you so much for posting that. I have been so down in the dumps this week. I was diagnosed 5 weeks ago and the tunnel is very long and dark…
Thanks for posting that, it’s given me some hope!!!

Thanks, Neadi. I’m pleased it helps you to know that others have come through this process with good outcomes. I hope it all works out well for you too. Best wishes, Nicki