A picture is worth 1000 words … or so they say.
I recently participated in an interview for an academic study on care and vulnerability among academics. When asked about where I draw the line with what I share, two things came to mind. First was in areas around sexuality, and second was with pictures of my breasts. I’ve struggled with both, in part because I think there are things that need to be said, and would be valuable for others going through breast cancer to hear – but there are still limits to what even I am willing to share publicly on the internet.
That being said, a friend is about to go through the same kind of reconstruction surgery that I went through. When we talked about it, I was able to show her some photos that were on my phone. These were a great help to her. She was comforted by my success stories, as most of what she had seen were the horror stories.
When I was at the ed tech conference in Texas a couple weeks ago, there were a few people that I showed pictures to. Again, this was in part to help them better understand what was involved. It was a sharing that helped to deepen our relationship.
I have struggled with how I could share pictures in a way that was not so public as this site, but would allow me to still share them with people who want to see them. I thought about putting them into an ebook behind a paywall – so only those who paid for them would see them, but that didn’t really seem to address my concern. Part of it is, I want to know who has seen them. Even if the person is a complete stranger, I still want to know who they are. It is because the sharing of such pictures is sharing an intimacy (note that the pictures do not involve face or groin (except one or two) – that is intentional. They show the scars and the wounds in a more objective manner. They help the viewer better appreciate what the surgeries entailed. They help the viewers better prepare (or empathize). But they also serve to deepen the relationship between me and the person viewing the images.
With that said, if you are reading my blog for whatever reason, and you do want to see the pictures of my wounds (photos taken almost daily from my first surgery through to mostly healing of my scars), then please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org). I will not post a link here. I will not post the password here. I will, however, share with those who read this blog and want to know me on a deeper level – or who want to better understand the outcomes of the surgery that I had. Just send me a note to let me know a little something about you, so that I know I’m not sharing my photos with someone who will publicly display them or exploit them in any way. Because, sometimes a picture (or in this case a series of pictures) is worth more than 1000 words.