08 October, 2010

Pink Ribbon 1 - Winter Chill

January 2000. My own, very personal, millennium hype. The shock of hearing my surgeon say – in your case the Treatment of Choice is a mastectomy. Those were his exact words. I remember them, then my mind switched off. I am left silently screaming – from George Sand in Paris using the expertise of surgeons who had just honed their skills in the Napoleonic wars, to 2000, mastectomy is, still, a 'treatment'. Luckily I didn’t have a headache or I would have been executed. Decapitated like a preying mantis spouse. Of choice. Of choice? What choice?

Preying mantis - What's for Lunch??

Friends who say – you know my granny had breast cancer and … you don’t need as enemies. Either remind me what it feels like to be happy, to laugh. Or let me cry on your shoulder, LISTEN to me, and hold me.

… women who were alone, 
teaching them to join together, 
for there is hope in two women, 
help in three women, 
strength in four, 
joy in five …
From Sheri S. Tepper in Gibbon’s Decline and Fall

Statue with first Watsonia

I remember the relief of being in a Reach for Recovery meeting, with other women, who had been there, done that. Newly diagnosed, just treated, or a reminder that the future does still exist. And someone who said – other women have gone this way, made this journey … follow the path, made by their footsteps.

Christopher LOGUE
English poet (1926- )

"Apollinaire said"

Come to the edge.
We might fall.
Come to the edge.
It’s too high!
And they came,
and he pushed,
and they flew.

This was published in London by Jonathan Cape in 1969 in New Numbers. The poet originally wrote it for an Apollinaire exhibition poster at the ICA, with the title “Apollinaire said”, but it was NOT written by Guillaume Apollinaire. (Thanks Wikipedia!)

PS I was cared for by three very special doctors. A GP who told my sister – Diana is strong, she’ll be fine. A surgeon who answered a thousand what, why, how questions, and left me with a body I can live in, and a scar I can see and touch. And a specialist who said – nice scar! – high praise from someone who spent her day looking at mastectomy scars.

If you were with me in October last year, this will be familiar. I am leaving the original posts up because I value your comments there. After this Winter Chill, Summer Gold 

PS 2013. Fanny Burney wrote in 1812 about her mastectomy, TWO hundred years ago, pre-anaesthetic. Not easy reading New Jacksonian blog 2010


Winter Chill is the name I give to the first of four beds in my Paradise/Rose Garden. For the planting plan see In-a-Persian-garden. Week by week in October I will collect pictures of the four beds. Sorting and updating here to make a record of the Winter Chill roses at their flamboyant best in October 2010.

Winter Chill rose bed with icy flowers October 2010
(not a happy picture will keep trying)

The Winter Chill effect with silvery foliage. Santolina and Lamb's Ears

Carpenter bee. Male today

Carpenter bee. His lady a year ago

Silver Cloud with lots of buds coming

Pearl of Bedfordview
Oyster Pearl

Waiting for Great North, Tiny Tots, Spiced Coffee and Nicole to come into bloom.

Our roses came from Ludwig'sRoses

Pictures and words by Diana of Elephant's Eye 


  1. Diana a very moving post and some very supportive comments last year, you are indeed a special and strong woman, I hate it when people say life is full of choices when it frequently isn't! take care, so pleased I found you, your blog and garden, Frances x

  2. Those bee and preying mantis photos are a little to close for my comfort.

  3. Dear Diana of EE, I have found this posting very moving. It captures so well the whole range of emotions that such life changing events often bring. Although I only know you 'virtually', I think of you as an extremely feisty, determined and yet warm hearted person. You are a wonderful role model for others.

  4. Beautiful pics. The carpenter bee one is pretty cool! I was just out photographing a plant and wanted to pet one of the many bumblebees in the garden today.

  5. I'll raise a glass to life Diana. My story is very similar to yours, the only difference is, I'm just one year out. Mastectomy, both sides. I hate the word 'survivor'. I don't want to survive, I want to LIVE, to experience and enjoy life, just as I always have. Not to live in fear, or regret. I'm sure for both us that our surgeons, our friends, our gardens, and our husbands, have been our keys to success and healing. Here's to so many more years filled with health, that we both lose count! ;)

  6. Ten must now seem like a lovely number after all that you were dragged through. Here's wishes for many more years filled with joys in the garden.

  7. Curbstone - One of my pink roses is called Chaim soutine. Which always makes me think of Fiddler on the Roof. To life, to life, La Chaim!

  8. Dear Diana A remarkable and stong piece of writing. I have printed this out to keep to give solace to those I know who have the dreaded affliction. And then, change of tempo, the carpenter bee is enough to make entymologists of us all.

  9. Hello Diana.

    It's frustrating. Blogger is only allowing me to see some of your photos today. I can see the Santolina and Lamb's Ears - and very beautiful they are too. (The lamb's ears leaves look specially lovely.) I'm now off to your other post to comment on the other half of this one.


  10. And all that happened ten years ago?
    Congratulations on your strength, your love of life, your determination and your positive thinking. I sincerely hope that I can be as strong as you if my turn comes. And it might. Who knows what fate has in store for each one of us?

  11. What a lovely post. Isn't it great when things work out after all? Wishing you many more summers in the garden.

  12. Ten years! For me it has been six, but still the memories are vivid. Thank you for a very moving post. And the photos of your garden are beautiful!


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Photographs and Copyright

Photographs are from Diana Studer or Jurg Studer.
His Panasonic Lumix FZ100 (info from Panasonic)
My Canon PowerShot A490 (info from Canon)

If I use your images or information, it will be clearly acknowledged with either a link to the website, or details of the book. If you use my images or words, I expect you to acknowledge them in turn.

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