Voicing the experience of breast cancer – Audre Lorde


Each woman responds to the crisis that breast cancer brings to her life our of a whole pattern, which is the design of who she is and how her life has been lived. The weave of her every day existence is the training ground for how she handles the crisis. Some women obscure their painful feelings surrounding mastectomy with a blanket of business-as-usual, thus keeping those feelings forever under cover, but expressed elsewhere. For some women, in a valiant effort not to be seen as merely victims, this means an insistence that no such feelings exist and that nothing much has occurred. For some women it means the warrior’s painstaking examination of yet another weapon, unwanted but useful.

I am a post-mastectomy woman who believes our feelings need voice in order to be recognized, respected, and of use.

Audre Lorde. The Cancer Journals. San Fransisco: Aunt Lute Books. 1980 (2nd edn.): p. 9.


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