Breast cancer survivor art
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By Deborah Willis

Cancer Diary

By Deborah Willis


I was diagnosed with stage I breast cancer on May 2, 2001, on the anniversary of my only nephew's death. He died at the age of 27. I was shocked. I had gone for routine breast exams since I was 40 years old and never thought about cancer becoming a reality at 53. I was asked to come in that day to the George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C., for a biopsy. I was told that same day that I had to make an appointment with my surgeon. "How does one find a surgeon?" I thought. I was in the midst of a photographic essay titled "beauty matters." I was devastated. I decided to photograph the changes in my body and to my body when I felt well enough to do so. I also wanted to photograph the moments when I felt lost, so I would have a visual diary about the experience from diagnosis through chemotherapy. cr endbox

To see the photo that accompanies this article, please refer to the print issue.
 

Deborah Willis is a professor of photography and imaging at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.