Take Them Both - PhMuseum

Take Them Both

Bobbi Barbarich

2020

Take Them Both represents a chapter in many women's journey with breasts cancer.

To women of her generation, privacy and faith play pivotal roles in how they manage trauma. For some women, details about their body and their health are considered very private matters and therefore not openly shared. But that privacy can lead to isolation, and it can prevent them from learning about how the experience will affect their lives.

The woman's anonymity in this photo series serves to respect her generation's desire for privacy, while also respecting the indelible need for women to see and to understand a drastic and necessary alteration of an intimate part of their bodies and identity as a woman.

It is not often that we can be there in the moment with a woman as she walks toward this new horizon. The photos reveal the practical preparation of this personal choice, and respect the universal need to learn from others' life experiences.

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  • A large rosary hangs on the wall in her bedroom.

  • A view of the sun rising over the frozen prairie. This is the last day before she has to go in for her bilateral mastectomy.

  • She is in surgery. The sunrise is reflected a landscape similar to that she sees out her living room window.

  • She rests in her hospital room after surgery.

  • Another list, this one of all the people who supported her. She wants to remember to thank them.

  • The drains are constant companions.

  • She is given four drains to eliminate the fluid from her chest-wide incision.

  • She feels great relief in being able to wash her own hair when she returns from the hospital.

  • Lists help her to feel organized, and in control. She has prepared her overnight bag, and reminds herself to get antibacterial soap for her wounds.

  • She carefully hand washes her bras so she can donate them later to women in need.

  • Her bras dry on the clothesline as the sun rises again.

  • Small steps toward recovering from the intense trauma she and her body have experienced. She takes a walk outside.


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