Stacy Nottle's second book is called Breastless…It is a memoir made up of stories, reflections, and quotes. In this book, Stacy shares her breast cancer story as honestly (and brutally) as she can in the hope that her readers will nod along and say ‘me too’, ‘I understand’, ‘that’s how I felt.’ While she describes the physical aspects of her treatment, her primary emphasis is about what was happening inside her head. What were her thoughts and emotions as she travelled that dark road?
Breastless published by Ocean Reeve Publishing Pty Ltd. (2020)
FROM THE AUTHOR
Whether you have been given a cancer diagnosis, are supporting someone who has or have found your way here for some other reason, I welcome you.
When I found out I had breast cancer, my whole world changed. Outwardly, I appeared to be much the same person as before, but inwardly, the shock of my diagnosis and subsequent treatment completely derailed me. I was no longer the sane professional who went to work each day, loved my job and tried hard
to please the people around me. As my identity crumbled, I had to look for new answers to all the old questions—Who am I? What do I want from my life? —and then begin to rebuild anew.
I decided to write this memoir after presenting at a Breast Cancer conference in October 2017. My presentation was titled ‘We lose ourselves in books, we find ourselves there too’, and the response to my words was remarkable. All around, people were nodding and smiling and sometimes laughing. They were connecting with me. They were sharing in my experiences. Every person who listened to my talk that day had their own unique story that was most likely very different from my own, yet we had this common understanding that was very powerful. It was comforting to know we weren’t alone in our struggles. That someone else understood.
As the title of my conference talk suggests, I lost myself in the experience of cancer and found myself there too. I learned how to live well in spite of my difficult circumstances and I learned how to have a lovely, sustaining relationship with the most important person in my life. Me.
This is not a how to book. It is not my wish to instruct anyone on what to do if they find themselves in a similar situation. Their experience will be different from mine and they’ll need to find their own way. I have, however, described some of the things that I found helpful and I’ve included a book list at the end that includes titles and authors of the books I mention.
Here is a summary of all the baggage (mentioned in the book) that preceded my diagnosis.
At two, I thought I was going down in water
At five, I pushed a boy off a slippery slide
At six, I was forced to eat fish paste sandwiches
At seven, I refused to apologise
At eight, I got hair bobbles
At ten, I guessed the number of jelly beans in the jar
At eleven, my father showed me the meaning of friendship
At twelve, I rode a wild brumby
At thirteen, I learned how to inhale smoke without coughing
At fourteen, I hung out with the cool group
At fifteen, I called a nun a fucking bitch
At eighteen, I got worried about having a flat chest and big feet
At twenty-five, a young man embarrassed me in a shoe shop
At twenty-seven, I was given a patchwork quilt
At twenty-eight, I got cracked nipples
At thirty, I took a self-defense class
At thirty-eight, a teenage girl told me she’d been raped by her father
At forty-five, I noticed that my sister’s voice was changing
At forty-six, I took my sister to a faith healer
At forty-seven, I chose to have a big life
At forty-nine, I cried for my sister
At fifty-four, I walked the Larapinta Trail
Went to "Cuspers" for the first time
And found a thickening in my left breast…
This is my story.