Arts Health News

Posted: Mar 30 2017 - 12:00pm

For most of her life, Heather Lee didn’t dwell on the appearance of her breasts. They were simply an occasionally functional part of her anatomy; they fed her four children as newborns and required occasional shopping for sartorial support. But after being diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2015 and undergoing a double mastectomy, the 40-year-old recently divorced mother feared she’d be left with breasts that resembled “overripe avocados.”

 “The way I explained it to my friends is when I looked in the mirror I didn’t want to think, OK, those look almost like boobs,” says Lee, a lawyer in Birmingham, Alabama. “I wanted to look in the mirror and think, I’m a badass.”

Lee elected to have both breasts surgically removed—one prophylactically—in order to lower her risk for cancer recurrence, as well as to avoid taking Tamoxifen for 10 years, a drug infamous for menopausal-like side effects that can greatly diminish a woman’s quality of life after cancer. The surgeon also told her a double mastectomy would mean “better symmetry,” she says. But nipple-sparing surgery wasn’t an option for Lee. The margins of her breast biopsy showed malignant cells were near the edge, so preserving some of the tissue might make it more likely that the cancer could return. That meant saving the nipples and areolas for reconstruction—a now relatively common practice—would be too risky.

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Posted: Mar 30 2017 - 12:00pm

For most of her life, Heather Lee didn’t dwell on the appearance of her breasts. They were simply an occasionally functional part of her anatomy; they fed her four children as newborns and required occasional shopping for sartorial support. But after being diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2015 and undergoing a double mastectomy, the 40-year-old recently divorced mother feared she’d be left with breasts that resembled “overripe avocados.”

 “The way I explained it to my friends is when I looked in the mirror I didn’t want to think, OK, those look almost like boobs,” says Lee, a lawyer in Birmingham, Alabama. “I wanted to look in the mirror and think, I’m a badass.”

Lee elected to have both breasts surgically removed—one prophylactically—in order to lower her risk for cancer recurrence, as well as to avoid taking Tamoxifen for 10 years, a drug infamous for menopausal-like side effects that can greatly diminish a woman’s quality of life after cancer. The surgeon also told her a double mastectomy would mean “better symmetry,” she says. But nipple-sparing surgery wasn’t an option for Lee. The margins of her breast biopsy showed malignant cells were near the edge, so preserving some of the tissue might make it more likely that the cancer could return. That meant saving the nipples and areolas for reconstruction—a now relatively common practice—would be too risky.

Continued

Posted: Mar 30 2017 - 12:00pm

From dealing with end-of-life issues to helping Parkinson's and stroke patients, the positive power of music is being explored through a music therapy series taking place throughout March on P.E.I.

Music therapists on P.E.I. are celebrating Music Therapy Month with a series of five free talks called Coffee and Conversation — including one Tuesday night explaining how music therapy can help at-risk youth at 6:30 p.m. at the Catholic Family Services Bureau in Charlottetown. 

"Each night the music therapist who's presenting has decided to pick a topic or a population they're really passionate about," said Katherine Lowings, a music therapist with the Catholic Family Services Bureau, in conversation with Mainstreet P.E.I.'s Angela Walker. 

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Posted: Mar 29 2017 - 12:00pm

It was her first tattoo, what she calls her "positive scar."

Makenzie Zouboules of Yellowknife says she wanted to leave a special mark on her body following the negative ones left from being a survivor of sexual assault.

"Two years ago was the last time that I was sexually assaulted," said Zouboules, a peer leader with FOXY (Fostering Open Expression among Youth), an N.W.T. organization that is helping young women learn about sexual health through expressions of art.

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Posted: Mar 25 2017 - 12:00pm

For hundreds of adults living with mental health issues, Artbeat Studio has provided an outlet to socialize and heal for the past 12 years.

Now the non-profit’s art therapy programs are in jeopardy as the organization faces a major funding shortfall amid growing demand for services, said executive director Lucille Bart.

"As we grow and with less funding, it got us into a tight spot right now," she said.

Artbeat launched an emergency crowd-funding campaign to raise $150,000 — money the organization lost after previous federal grants fell through and the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ postponed its 2016 CEO Sleepout, which normally gave them funds.

The $150,000 would sustain their programming until the end of the year while they look for more grants and donors, Bart said.

Over at Artbeat’s Studio Central location on Kennedy Street, it was business as usual among dozens of drop-in clients Thursday.

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