Staying Sane, a prequel to My Mane

 Ellsworth Kelly, born 1923. Colored Paper Image II (Dark Green Curves), 1976

Ellsworth Kelly, born 1923. Colored Paper Image II (Dark Green Curves), 1976

A prequel to My Mane

Hi Guys! It’s Breast Cancer Awareness month! Do you know what that means? Ok cool. Neither do I…

Pink ribbons, walks that promote awareness, and a whole lotta reminders that breast cancer is a thing that exists. I’m not knocking it-I just don’t identify or relate to it. I’m sensitive to what this month means to millions of people everywhere, however my breast cancer was a journey so personal and tailored to me that designating just one month to shed a light on its significance seems a bit trite. Because to be honest, I need to stay sane year-round not just during the month of October. 

I’m almost 5 years out of all the treatments that made up my 2013 and seeped into my 2014. My hair has grown back all the way past my shoulders, visits to Sloan Kettering (shout out to the Breast Center on 66th and 2nd!) are few and far between, and the amount of people asking me about my health have declined significantly. I feel good (I mean I’m tired a lot but I think that’s just an indication that I’m past the age of 30), I’m in a beautiful relationship with a man I think conjured up from a dream, and most importantly my mind is healthy as ever. Did I even get breast cancer?

 Ellsworth Kelly born 1923, Yellow (II.2 Yellow; Jaune Série II No.2) From Suite of Twenty-Seven Color Lithographs, 1964–5, Lithograph on paper, 594 x 394 mm Collection Tate Acquisition Presented by the Museum of Modern Art, New York 1976

Ellsworth Kelly born 1923, Yellow (II.2 Yellow; Jaune Série II No.2) From Suite of Twenty-Seven Color Lithographs, 1964–5, Lithograph on paper, 594 x 394 mm Collection Tate Acquisition Presented by the Museum of Modern Art, New York 1976

I blocked out a lot of the trauma that surrounded that epoch of my life. I’m in therapy and have been since I was 16 and as of late have realized that my go to MO has been to subconsciously suppress the most traumatic moments of my life. Out of sight out of mind. Except no. These existences have come back in ways and forms I haven’t been able to see from a mile away. So when I say my mind is healthy as ever its because I’m reconciling and putting in the work it takes to check myself and recognize my past in order to keep me sane for the future. 

Then there’s the physical stuff. I have one nipple to my name on the one functioning (left) breast. No matter how many bras I go through my chest will forever look uneven (cue world’s smallest violin). When I’m riding my boyfriend at my peak horniest I look down and am like wait, “is this even sexy?” My right arm has developed lymphedema, which is swelling as a result of the removal of a bunch of lymph nodes from treatment, therein generating an aversion to tank tops and an envy for the women brave enough to wear them. 

But my hair game is back and better than ever honey. 

Per the American Cancer Society there will be approximately 266,000 new cases of breast cancer in the US in 2018 alone. I stand with each of those women and support their distinct journeys from a far. I can only tell you about my own. 

Until next time,

Valeska

xx