Images From the HeART of Nursing Promote Breast Cancer Awareness
The image of the pink ribbon transcends ordinary symbolism and has become iconic as we seek to increase awareness and honor those who have faced a breast cancer diagnosis. As an oncology nurse, I strive to find ways to connect to the genuine hopes and fears felt by the patients and families I care for. Image-making offers a glimpse of the hearts and minds of the populations we serve.
This month on Instagram (IG), many forums have emerged featuring images from thousands of artists redefining the iconic pink ribbon and celebrating the lives of so many loved ones. It is a pleasure to share with you some of these images, and it is my intent that you will find the same sense of renewal and hope viewing them that I have. These are their visions and voices. This is the heART of nursing.
|Missy McAmis / IG@CrazyWomanWyoming "Spell it out! We can physically beat cancer!"|
|IG@BemusedObserver "Walking for Breast Cancer Awareness in memory of my aunt and in dedication to a dear friend; who is a survivor."|
|Anna Cox / IG@annacox "American culture has sexualized the most amazing part of a woman's body. The taboo surrounding breasts breaks my heart. The sweet nurturing that breast feeding brings to the mother-child relationship is one of the most beautiful bonds. The fact that we can nourish our children with no outside help is mind blowing. I am a nursing mother, and I support breast cancer survivors and those left behind by this terrible disease."|
|IG@rbritey "This photo is of my daughter Piper, standing on the gravel road that winds through our small town cemetery. This cemetery is where my mother was laid to rest at the age of 43. I was 16 at the time. My younger brother was 10. Breast cancer took her from us. Her lump was so large that it actually bruised her skin. When she went in to see the doctor with a bruise on her breast that she didn't remember bumping, the doctor prescribed her a cream to put on it! Fast forward two weeks to a second opinion, and she is undergoing a mastectomy with removal of lymph nodes. A year and a half she fought hard . . . until the cancer metastasized to her liver and bones, it was then that the fight was over. This is a perfect example of how early detection could have saved her life. "This photo is of her granddaughter in which she never had the pleasure to meet. I have three girls. I pray and hope every day that I will not succumb to this disease and have to leave them alone. A cure would be wonderful, but until then early detection is the key! Thank you."|
|IG@leftcoastadventures Awareness is the state or ability to perceive, to feel, or to be conscious of events, objects, or sensory patterns. "I would call myself a breast cancer awareness enthusiast. I enjoy spreading the word and helping others to be aware of the prevention that they can take for themselves. When it comes to health, a lot of people don't realize the things that they can do to be aware of their body and know the signs when something is wrong. I feel like every year I learn a new fact, prevention tool, and/or risk factor that I didn't know about the year before. If I can help one person realize the importance of knowing her or his body and seeing a professional when something doesn't feel or look right, that is why I do it!"|
|Tammy George / IG@punkrawkpurl "I haven't lost anyone to breast cancer, nor have I had anyone close to me battle breast cancer. But I do read statistics, and I am well aware of the likelihood that someone I am close to, at some point in my life, will in fact be affected by this. I am also aware that that person could very well be me. Early detection is of the utmost importance and spreading the word by any means possible is crucial. As a visual artist who expresses herself through self portraiture, it is natural for me to use my image as a voice for this cause."|
Crystal Spellman, RN, BSN, OCN®, is a research coordinator for phase I clinical trials in hematology/oncology for the University of Cincinnati’s Experimental Therapeutics Program in Ohio and is currently pursuing her DNP in the Adult/Gerontology CNS tract at the University of Kentucky. Crystal first earned a BFA in painting from the Art Academy of Cincinnati in 2001 and brings that foundation to the art of nursing. She is a newer oncology nurse but has already found that the richness and rewards of caring for patients with cancer and their families is her passion.