Connected by cancer – Sept/Oct 2016

Welcome to a new and wonderful edition of Buddies. Let’s start with a confession…I have a tattoo…a lopsided heart with the letter C (looks like a G), but the artist was no Picasso. I say it stands for Charl, my husband, but he says I covered all bases as my name too starts with a C. I love it, however, the kids are horrified, and in the words of Edgar Degas, “Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” And so, this edition is a celebration of art, which is truly embodied in our ability to do nipple-areola reconstructions (the nipple is the signature of the breast) and to do liposuction of excess fat to liposculpt and fine-tune reconstructions; this is simply Ab Fab! Yup, as Picasso said, “Everything you can imagine is real.”

Again art is beautifully demonstrated by our Super Survivors – Kathy, Monita and Alison – and their stories make me think of Edward Hooper’s quote, “If I could say it in words, there would be no need to paint”, and sometimes the purpose of body art is exactly how Picasso described art, “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” Having been kicked out of art class at school (declared talentless), I truly appreciate the concept of everyone being an artist – we all just need to find our canvas, and I think the move to ‘personalised oncology’ has made the giving of chemo an art form. Well done oncologists! “True art is characterised by an irresistible urge in the creative artist” – Albert Einstein. This bears truth as radiation oncologists are too ensuring that minimal evidence of radiation is seen, beside a teeny little tattoo.

Maybe the interpretation of art is no different from interpreting what your doctor has told you about your treatment (thanks Romy), or your perception or misperception of treatment (thanks Dr van Eden). And as Leonardo da Vinci once said “The artist sees what others only catch a glimpse of ”; Dr Maske explains this in his article A single blood test for cancer – too far-fetched?

In our health and fitness section, we look at exercise while on chemo, the benefits of swimming, which is such a wonderful summer exercise for all, and how to make food flavoursome during treatment. Smile and the world smiles with you, they say, so read how to take care of your oral health, but keep smiling while ensuring you understand which contraception is safe for you to use.

Last but not least, our inspiring Olympic medallist, Lawrence Brittain, reminds us that we all can be super survivors of our own crises. A true artist perseveres no matter what the critics say… so listen to your art inside you.

Click here to read the Nov/Dec issue!