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My Breasts, My Choice: Journeys through Surgery

ISBN: 1-894549-23-6

By Barbara Brown, Maureen Aslin & Betsy Carey

Review by: Moira Richards

01/01/07

A book on breast surgery. I instinctively fold my arms protectively in front of me at the thought of lumpectomy, mastectomy -- at the thought of any reason for a knife to be brought near my breasts.

Ten men and women tell their stories of breast surgery in this book. For some of them, it was a happy decision of reduction or augmentation, others had no option but to endure the procedure, and for yet others, surgery was an ill-considered choice that they have now learned to live with. The book also includes another ten short pieces that offer wisdom about various aspects of breast health from coping with a diagnosis of cancer, to finding transsexual support groups, through detailing information on surgical post-operative procedures, to noting various aspects of breast health and care.

Barbara Browns introduction to My Breasts, My Choice gives an account of the genesis and process of the book and its incarnation as a photographic exhibit, and she introduces too, the other members of her artistic team. She compares her original vision with the completed work and explains the collaborative nature of the project that ended up as being much more than just a book.

I had thought to talk in a little more detail about one or two of the contributors essays in My Breasts, My Choice but it was very difficult to decide which to choose. Some women write about being diagnosed with breast cancer, others about their decisions to undergo a female to male sex change. All of the pieces are written in the first person, often in the form of a diary and so they form an intensely intimate connection between each writer and the reader.

This collection of personal narratives and beautiful, affirming and sensitive photographs goes a long way to help me face my as yet unfounded fears about breast surgery.

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