First, let me say that Julia’s website is not for the faint of heart. She admits it, with this statement on her blog: “CancerVacation.com features written material, illustrated artwork, digital artwork, and medically-themed photography that may contain nudity, blood, or other things that one might classify as ‘ooky’. If you are under the age of 18, if it is illegal for you to view this type of material, or if it was not your intention to visit this site, then please leave by clicking here.” (Julia heads you back to the Google search page when you click on her site.)
OK, you’ve been warned.
Now, even though the images you’ll see at CancerVacation might be a little raw, they are completely and entirely breast cancer real. They show surgery (Julia had a mastectomy, plus hysterectomy), hair loss, weight gain (yes, because being sick and bald isn’t quite enough!) and just about everything else central to the fight for life. There’s even some fun stuff, like paper dolls.
Basically, if you want an authentic look at breast cancer, Julia has the goods.
“When I first found out I had cancer I immediately went online to find out anything I could,” she writes on her blog. “The results were very disappointing. Nearly all of the photographs, especially, were deficient in multiple ways… usually the best you could find was a grainy, anonymous sort of ‘before’ and ‘after’ set. There is a very understandable reason for this; a lot of women don’t want to be photographed in any state of undress and especially not during a time when they’re vulnerable and scared. Most women don’t think, “Wow, I have cancer – I need to take some pictures of this!” Most people who have just been diagnosed with cancer are shocked and worried and have other things on their mind other than documenting the whole thing for other people.
So here was my opportunity to fix that. Sure, there weren’t easily accessible photos of what would happen to me during my mastectomy (and the following procedures)… but there will be for the next woman, right? This is something that (I think) I can fix.”