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Powerful Pictures and Virtual Uproar

Posted 3/17/2014

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  First, I owe you an explanation or an apology. Over the weekend, I write this blog from home, using remote access that theoretically enables me to "use" my office computer. For obvious reasons, the hospital has an elaborate security system of firewalls, and it is also somewhat tedious. This weekend, however, it just plain didn't work. When I arrived at my office this morning, the reason was clear: the infamous "blue screen of death" was on my computer, and it had shut itself down. It is now, at least for now, operating normally, but I am behind.

  You will be interested in this story from Huffington Post about an Australian woman's, Beth Whaanga, decision to post pictures of herself after breast cancer surgery on her Facebook account. Apparently, there was then a wave of really nasty criticism, countered by a larger wave of support. Whatever you think about her going so public with her young, still beautiful, but very scarred body, it is pretty horrifying that people can be so nasty.

  Here is the start and a link to read more and see the pictures:

Beth Whaanga's Powerful Breast Cancer Portraits Lost Her 100 Friends, But Could Save Many More Lives

Beth Whaanga posted images of herself after breast cancer surgery on Facebook, hoping to share her story and urge others to take preventative measures.

What she didn't expect was the vitriolic responses from some of her Facebook "friends" -- and the subsequent outpourings of support she received when the photographs went viral.

(Some images below are NSFW and may be considered graphic.)

Whaanga, a nurse and married mother-of-four from Brisbane, Australia, was diagnosed with breast cancer on her 32nd birthday. After finding out that she carried the BRCA2 gene, a genetic mutation that put her at increased risk for breast and ovarian cancer, Whaanga underwent a double mastectomy last November, as well as a hysterectomy, lymphadenectomy and melanoma lumpectomies. Instead of hiding her scars, she chose to speak out in order to help others affected by cancer.

"Your scars are a physical or emotional representation of a trial you've been through," Whaanga told The Huffington Post in an email. "They show that you came through the trial and survived."

She teamed up with friend and photographer Nadia Masot to photograph her post-surgery body in a series of portraits called "Under The Red Dress."


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