Saturday, September 26, 2009

Breasts Update and Future Photo Shoot

My expanders have expanded as far as they can. I talked to my doctor about my implant surgery and it looks like it will be end of Nov. or early Dec. After the implant recovery, comes tattooing my nipples. There is an art to this.
After my implant surgery and after my nipples being tattooed I am celebrating each step with more Henna Art.
Each step is important to my recovery. Will I look the same. No I will not. I expect to look better! I will have photos to document it all. I am excited to share this. I am excited because I found my cancer early. I am excited because I have choices in every step of this journey. I am excited to be alive!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Courage and Strength

Luma Rafaelle Brieuc is the Henna Artist in these two photos. She is based in Montreal Canada. The photo titled "When They Clipped My Wings" is currently part of a ongoing exhibition for
the Canadian Cancer Society in collaboration with Photosensitive.
Its called Cancer Connections and its touring major cities across Canada until 2010.
The photo titled "Flowerhead" is a model who is not a cancer patient. I included this photo because it is a beautiful example of what can be expressed through henna.
You can see more of Luma'a work at Luma was generous enough to allow me to post these two photos. Thank you Luma for inspiring us with your beautiful work.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Rebecca's Surprise

Rebecca surprised everyone at her birthday party by showing up with her head completely covered with this beautiful Henna Tattoo.

Steve Brimm is the photographer I went to his blog and his website. They are inspiring!
Steve is a professional outdoor photographer. Its well worth your time to spend some time at his sites.

Thank you Steve, for letting me share your story with others. It is a privilege to meet you.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Reminder........

Early detection is the key to all cancers. Of course you don't want to hear you have cancer. But the day you are told you have cancer is the day you can begin to fight it! Please go get your mammograms ladies. You really do want to know!

This made the Cover

Friday, September 11, 2009

In the Studio........

Joni's studio was much warmer than outside. I had brought a few different shawls and earrings to wear. I thought to myself just relax. Have fun with this and so I did.

I love Betsy Johnson. I admire her as a person and as an artist. She too is a Breast Cancer Survivor.
I have one of her spider necklaces and I thought it looked cool against the henna. Joni was kind enough to take a shot.
The photo shoot lasted almost all day and I was pretty tired by then. I had the feeling that we had done something special that day. I didn't know how that was going to translate but thats how I felt.
Several days later I had gotten an e-mail from Joni saying the editor loved the pictures. So much so they wanted to use one for the Cover. And they ask me if it would be ok for me to include an article about myself.
All I could say was WOW!!!
Maybe someone would read my story and I could inspire them to go get that Mammagram! Also to inspire others to try henna art while doing chemo. It made such a difference for me. And I know it could help others too!!!
You can click on these pictures and get a close-up view of the henna. I hope you enjoy.
Still more to come.
Wendy Rover is the henna artist. and will take you to her sites. will take you to Joni's site.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

This is my Portrait during my chemo

I'm very proud of this portrait. I do not consider myself camera friendly. But there was something that happened to me when I found out I had breast cancer.
I'm not so hung up about things like I used to be. I don't sweat the small stuff.
Joni Schrantz took this picture in her studio. I think it stands on its own.

Joni is the staff photographer for Goodness Magazine. You can see more of her work at

Monday, September 7, 2009

An Adventure........

I had gotten an e-mail from Jennifer Hummel my photographer friend. There was this ad on craigslist. Well I called and it turned into a adventure I never would have expected in a million years.

A local magazine here in Portland,OR was interested in taking some pics of me and my mastectomy. I had mentioned henna and that I had a henna crown at the time. They said cool.

Goodness Magazine and Joni Schrantz was their photographer would contact me later.

I had called Wendy Rover, to ask if she would be interested in doing another henna crown and maybe my chest. I had had a double mastectomy, I thought why not, lets go outside my box.

Wendy agreed to sign on and all was set up.

My first henna crown was inspiring and I wanted the flow to continue. I wanted others who were in my circumstances to know about henna and what a powerful positive experience it was.
I was really looking forward to this.
Joni had come over to take pictures of Wendy doing her magic. She informed me that the photo shoot would be at McMenamins Edgefield out in Troutdale OR, in their "outdoor"(its April) Ruby Spa pool. We would then go to her studio and take some more pics.

I said sure, ok, thinking to myself, I DON'T KNOW HOW TO SWIM. OH gosh! I hope they don't ask me to swim!!! I'll go in the water I have no problem with that but you ask me to swim! I'm toast!
Then there is the question "What do I wear?!!!" I had bought a swimsuit to exercise in water a few years back. At that time I hadn't wore a B suit in 14 years. That swimsuit was now too small. I thought "I'm toast"

I don't know what made me think of it but I have this silk chemise, an undergarment for my Renaissance dress. Its full length and I thought when its wet you can see the henna design through it. So to test that theory out I put it on and went in the shower! Sure enough it worked!!! I had something to wear!

What to wear for the studio shoot was easier. I had some shawls and some simple jewelry. I have this Betsy Johnson pink spider necklace. I put it on my head so the spider sat on my forehead. With the henna crown it looked pretty cool. So I brought that also.

Betsy Johnson is a Breast Cancer Survivor and I thought I would send her a picture.

The day had arrived. Joni came to pick me up and off we went to Edgefield. It was early 7:30am or so. The staff at Ruby Spa were very nice and accommodating.

We changed clothes and went outside. This was April, a bit chilly but the water was a warm saltwater pool! Very Nice......very nice!

Joni was sooo nice. But I eventually had to tell her I could not swim and I can't float.

I had recently seen "America's Next Top Model" There was this model who was doing a photo shoot in a outdoor pool. It got so cold she got hypothermia and I don't think she could swim either. She might get voted out because of all the hassles.

Anyhow I'm thinking I got to get through this. I'm really going outside my box here. I can do this! I'm thinking........America's Top Model...........I'm going to be voted out!! Its was funny....I really tried to float.

The photo shoot went well despite the no float. We had taken some shots with the top of my chemise off. I was thinking here I am topless in a kind of public pool, some guys over yonder on the other side, some ladies right over to my left. I'm thinking......what do I have to worry about, I have no breasts. Whats indecent about that!

Ruby Spa has these showers in the pool. They were fun! I'm squating in the other shot, trying to keep my cool. Over the years I have gotten to be more bouyent, if you know what I mean. I think I look really calm. I should be an actress.
I have to take a break. I will tell you more in my next entry. Hope you like the pictures.

You can find more of Joni's work at She is also staff photographer with Goodness Magazine. Wendy Rover, henna artist

Sunday, September 6, 2009

This is in honor of Robin B.

This is a picture of the late Robin B. I had communicated with
Melisa who posted this pic on her Flickr site. She had told me that the" Henna was done by a person called Eric who tours Ren Faires. I was also told that Robin "loved" the Henna job that Eric did and "loved how cool it made him feel" Thats what its all about and I know exactly how Robin felt.
It would be cool to be able to talk to Eric. I am going to try and find him. Wish me luck.

This is only the beginning.........

These two photos are from the Henna Lounge down
in Ockland CA.
I had e-mailed Darcy who owns The Henna Lounge to ask her permission to use the photos. I hope to be able to talk to these two beautiful ladies in the photos in the near future. I shall update these stories as they come to light. You can see more of Darcys work at her site. She is very accomplished and I enjoyed her site very much. I am sure you will also. Go take a look.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

First Chemo Treatment

Walking into the Infusion area(or Chemo area), for the first time was scary. I thought everyone was going to be bummed out. A somber place where people didn't want to look at each other let alone talk to one another. WRONG! on all counts.

Everyone was actually pretty upbeat. You could choose to be in the common area or be in a private room if you so wished.

There are windows all around and the view of Portland & Willamette River are wonderful. The nurses are very special at OHSU, informing me and reassuring me of what needs to be done.
Chemo is given intravenously. It would take two hours for my treatments.
When you have cancer, you realize what is important to you. Visiting with others with like of mind is refreshing. We are in this fellowship not of our making, but a fellowship none the less. None of us really wanted to be there, however I had a strong sense of "family" with total strangers. I met some wonderful people. We exchanged stories. I learned what COURAGE is by their example. It may sound strange but I feel fortunate going through my experience with breast cancer. I learned what was important in my life. I'm done with sweating the small stuff!

When I wore my first Henna Crown to my Chemo treatment,well heads did turn! Eyes popped out and hughe smiles errupted across peoples faces! The Henna was a hit!

I felt wonderful, beautiful and honored wearing henna. Wendy Rover the henna artist had alot to do with that. Her artistry and skill is awesome. She is a true artist!! I am lucky to have found her.
Fellow patients wanted to know how, who and where they could get a crown. Nurses and doctors alike wanted to know also. I was happy to share.
My goal is tell my story to doctors, nurses, cancer patients and henna artists on the positive impact henna art has with Cancer patients. They need all the help they can get.

Wendy Rover is the henna artist. You can contact her at She is located in Portland, OR.

I have been Searching

I have been searching for fellow cancer patients and Henna Artists who have had chemo clients to share their experiences on this site. Its soooo powerful to share a positive thing with others! So I ask all Henna Artists out there who have worked on men and women alike who have had cancer. Could you share your stories. And women and men alike, could you share your pics and experiences wearing those beautiful Henna Crowns!!!

I thank you in advance for sharing. Lyndune