A photo shoot and getting ready for surgery

Never in my life did I even imagine that I would be naked in a home photo studio in Berkeley California (well, maybe not actually Berkeley, rather Albany, which felt a lot like Berkeley) … anyways, it isn’t something I ever thought that I would do, and yet I did it. Cancer has certainly meant I’ve found myself doing a lot of those “never” things.

I had been pondering the idea since I first learned about Camera’s Over Cancer – I had even booked a session with them – but was discouraged by it. I didn’t want to buy clothing just for a photo shoot, and I am not the type of person who has a closet full of boudoir appropriate outfits. I was also challenged with getting to their studio (which interestingly enough is out in Oakland, and actually closer than where I went today).

At the BCC conference, there was an exhibit of photos on each table. The photos where really classy pictures that celebrated women’s breasts. The photos were taken as part of a project by Laura Turbow called For Luli (you can read about it here). Her photos really spoke to me, so I emailed her about a possible session. As I was unable to drive earlier, or get a ride, we ended up booking for today – the only possible time to take the photos before surgery. It was rather fortunate that her schedule and my schedule aligned. To be honest, I was much more nervous about my ability to drive then about having photos taken. It is the first time I’ve drive on my own up through Oakland to Berkeley. I was rather intimidated by the need to drive on that particular highway, which is often full of traffic. It turned out to not be so bad! So, today, I found myself in Laura’s studio, just north of Berkeley California, posing for a classy set of photos that celebrate my breasts. I really enjoyed the process, and I’m really looking forward to seeing the photos. When I get them, I’ll share a few of the ‘general public friendly’ photos here. I recommend the session for anyone who wants to capture their pre-surgery selves.

And now I need to get back to my pre-surgery preparations. I’m getting some food ready for when I can eat when I get home, and I need to shower before trying to get a little bit of sleep. I will need to shower again in the morning before driving up to Stanford for a 6 am start. Surgery isn’t until 1:40 pm, but there are several pre-surgery procedures that need to be done first. Specifically, injection of some nuclear isotope into each breast that helps to identify the sentinel node, and the insertion of wires to guide the surgeon to the exact location of each of the tumors, neither of which sounds at all like fun. I do hope the plan to use the paravertebral nerve blocks is still in place. That will make my morning go a whole lot smoother!

One of my concerns with surgery is that I’m highly sensitive to adhesives, even steri-strips cause my skin to blister. If any tape or adhesive based dressing is used, it will blister within a few hours – making me very uncomfortable but also hindering my body’s ability to heal. Fortunately, they don’t need to use adhesives, they just need to be reminded to not use them (they use special surgical glue to close the incision). My husband came up with the idea of adding a note in permanent marker on my belly (actually just under my breasts) … so I’ll have him write “no tape” as a reminder to not put anything sticky on my skin!

  • Becky


  • Love ya Reb! Glad you had the time and energy to take yourself and ‘the girls’ on the photo shoot, so you can view them again later in all their glory! Wooooot!
    I’ll be thinking of you. ❤️

  • Naduity is liberating and being photographed nude is even more so. Think of you as you head to surgery.

  • Thing of you all day today. I pray that all goes well. Love you lots.
    Snowing like crazy this morning and cold.

  • our thoughts are with you … Hang in there!

    Sylvain & Irene (Montréal)

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