There are two things about the film I have been chewing over. I've been struggling with the placement of graphic surgical imagery so close to the front of the film. I worry that this imagery will have people switching off and missing a central message, which is that viewing surgery as art, as something strangely beautiful, helped me come to terms with going through it. I must accept, however, that this is James's film, not mine. I can use my writing to make surgery accessible; I can imagine the different responses and play with my words accordingly, coaxing people in. When I write, I'm in control. But this is James's film, and I have to relinquish control. I've been holding on to this film, not sure how to share it. Now, I think, I can let it go.
The other thing I want to share is this. A friend and fellow DCIS patient pointed out to me that the way the film is edited makes a case for reconstruction being the "only" way you can feel whole after mastectomy. I don't feel this way at all. I don't wish to strong-arm anybody into having reconstruction. It was right for me; for others, it isn't. Having the choice is what matters. I know that many of the women at the Mermaid Centre who had mastectomies ten, twenty years ago didn't feel the need for reconstruction — and still don't. They have found their own ways to live with their surgeries. I love the story my old friend in upstate New York told me when I first got diagnosed: "Years ago, my grandma made herself a prosthesis after her surgery. She used it as a pin cushion. She used to stick needles and pins in the front of her dress without thinking while she was sewing. It was kind of a shock when she answered the front door..."
So here it is: James's film, The Cut and the Cure. You may or may not find surgery beautiful, but here's to looking something difficult straight in the eye.