ITW n°82: Cécile (Skin) - ex K fighter.
Today I present to you, the beautiful, committed and elegant Cécile, 50 years old, president of the SKin Association , whom I had the pleasure of meeting recently, tells us with great accuracy and sincerity how her project took shape. form following her K breast in 2007. Forced to realize that the aftermath had to be entirely reconstructed, the blank page to be rewritten, Cécile wanted to give meaning, by supporting others in their ordeal. I'll let you discover his story and his great commitment below. Skin is above all “a virtuous circle” to quote his pretty words.
Every year, Cécile organizes her Skin ball in Paris, this year it will take place on Monday November 21, if you want to go there to create bonds, spend a sweet moment of meetings and beautiful vibes, a beautiful program awaits you there, all info here!
Let's get started
Who are you ?
First name: Cécile
Profession: founder president of the SKIN association
You decided to create Skin, how did this great idea come about?
I decided to create SKIN after experiencing breast cancer in 2007.
I made a double observation:
- at the time of diagnosis, nothing assured me that I was going to become a woman again (double mastectomy, chemo, weight loss, hormone therapy)
- Second observation, decisive: 'after the battle you count your wounds', in other words, It is much more difficult afterwards than during the treatments, a period during which we generally take care of you, in every sense of the word. At the very least, medically. You are taken care of and you do what you are asked to do. Then, when you get home, you are groggy, confused, empty, disoriented.
You are no longer the one before and not yet the one after. Doctors no longer look at you daily. You are in this vague and gray “between two”, overwhelmed by this famous 'white coat syndrome' and it is the fatal moment when everyone stops accompanying you, convinced that the last chemo has passed, everything is as it is. before, that it's behind you... when in reality, that's where it 'starts'. Like mega baby blues… without the baby. You are once again in control of your life, but you have temporarily lost the instructions.
Are you alone in your association?
No ! Today we are 6 volunteers! Currently 7 with Julie, our adorable intern.
If there are several of you, how have you distributed the tasks?
Laura is in charge of PR, Eric is in charge of cultural events and treasury, Pascal is in charge of logistics, Florence is in charge of scenography, Anne-Sophie, my co-founder, now gives additional helping hands, and I am a almost everywhere at once, with the added bonus of creating a link between patients and artists and livening up social networks.
What K did you get?
What were your feelings when the announcement was made, how old were you?
I was 40 years old when I felt the little lump in my left breast. But we missed it and the diagnosis came a year later.
When I was diagnosed, I felt like I was emotionally numb. But I wasn't surprised. Deep down, I knew I had to go through this and face my worst fears: death, chemo.
What are the nugget phrases that someone said to you during K that could have been avoided?
Ahaaahhaaahah! There were some good ones!
For example, my chemotherapist who told me after the treatments that he was going to recommend me to one of his reconstructive surgeon colleagues to rebuild my missing breast, and that he would take the opportunity to advise him to “pump up” my breast a little. right breast “because men like breasts”… This sentence could obviously have been avoided ;-)
I wish I had the guts to ask him to pull down his underwear to see what he would have had to do to re-inflate. But I didn't have the presence of mind.
Or again, the same cheerful fool (also an excellent oncologist) who, announcing to me Chemotherapy is nothing! Hair grows back! They're not breasts! And if you don't want to go, I'll take you by the hand and we'll go together! »
Here again, I missed the point. I should have told him “stop running your hands through your hair, or I’ll cut it off!” »
He thought he was reassuring, I'm afraid. Even today, I find it hard to imagine what is behind all this, this type of clumsiness... Fear, no doubt.
But to be completely honest, the most beautiful nugget was thrown at me a year after the end of the treatments, by my mother-in-law, who had until then been conspicuous by her absence, and who had the nerve to tell me “I so wish I could have been there to support you! But tell me, did you vomit a lot during your chemo? »
Fortunately, we laugh about it afterwards.
Are we making an anthology, Charlotte?! (ahah yes mine are here , we can fill a “nice” tile)
What did you do to take your mind off things during K ?
I only hung out with the truly nice, the 'authentic', the 'concerned', the 'benevolent' people. I had a massage 3 times a week and followed by a sophrologist friend. I was skinny and I made myself look good. My husband then had taken over a fashion brand, and I was playing Pretty Woman.
How was your life in the medical profession? Did you find the answers you were looking for?
I needed to know, to 'control' what was happening to me, I asked questions and I got very clear answers from the doctors, the physiotherapist and the nurses. Beyond the 2 or 3 pearls that I brought you, the medical staff was fantastic.
What was your first feeling when you first met the treatments (chemotherapy/hospital)?
first meeting = mastectomy. My first feeling, fear.
Did you get information on the internet?
IF YES: What would be the useful (internet) links that helped you to give you strength, and those to recommend to relatives of K fighters?
yes, like everyone else, I had the reflex to look for answers on the internet, but I shared it with the oncologists, who confirmed or reestablished the truth.
I don't have any particular memories of useful links. I googled the cryptic terms and got lists of answers.
I wasn't very 'community', I listened to myself, I listened to my needs and I refocused on myself, on my priorities. It was a bit like the 'system D' era
What were your beauty/well-being tips to help you during the treatments?
as I told you above, massages galore. Happiness
In these very particular passages of life, I think we fundamentally need to be touched, in every sense of the word. Our body becomes foreign to us, it is an object of study. It is therefore urgent to reconnect with it. Now, what's better than a really good massage?!
I took care of my skin, I moisturized it, my nails which I rubbed with castor oil, like my eyebrows. I bought new tinted cream palettes and played with the sheer appearance of my skin.
And then, as I said, I then had a model size, a thin face, and a zero ball. I played on this particularity to highlight myself. Always highlight your particularity, whatever it may be. You have to be proud. A flaw that is skillfully highlighted becomes a quality in the eyes of others. “You’re tall,” my father told me, “wear heels!” ". This little life lesson has remained engraved forever.
Were you able to talk freely about it to your loved ones? Did you feel supported/supported/understood?
I am one of the people who heal themselves by talking. I never hid anything about what happened to me. And I had this fabulous chance to be supported by an exceptional family, starting with my mother.
What advice would you give to other loved ones to support a K fighter?
don't be afraid of cancer "a priori", don't tell yourself that you will catch it if you get close to the patient. It's stupid, but it's human, and therefore common.
Check in regularly with the sick person, remember to send them a little note, a bouquet of flowers, a thought… Remind them that we are there if needed. Have the humility to move on. Respect his silences, and above all don’t hold it against him.
Do not dramatize the situation (we need hope to heal) and do not minimize it either (no, no and no, cancer is not 'just a bad cold').
Do not judge the patient's choices, listen to them and respect their choices.
Send him a 'small bottle in the sea'. Mine was the mother of one of my son's friends who passed it on to me: “Don't be afraid, have confidence, I went through that a few years ago. Everything will be alright." . Amazing how this sentence affected me!!! I believe in the virtuous circle, in the passing of the baton, in the relay. At the crossroads and the beautiful energies that meet, carry and grow together. Like when I met you, Charlotte.
What has this ordeal changed in your life (your vision of the world, of those around you, any disappointments? Any great discoveries despite everything?)
EVERYTHING This ordeal was fortunate!
First, I revealed myself to myself. And above all, I let go of my fears. Fear of death, fear of myself.
Since 2007, my path has become clearer. Like all K fighters, I have swept my door clean, I only hang out with positive and caring people. Some, whom I took for friends, immediately disappeared when I learned of my cancer. Others, whose existence I was unaware of, revealed themselves to me in all their grandeur. And, above all, I learned not to blame anyone. We are all inhabited by fears, we are all incomplete. Some 'are not equipped for', others are for 10. In short, the world of Humans.
I'm getting to the point. I listen to myself. Even when I'm still upset, yes! by looping the questions. And then, I meet K fighters or other types of fighters, dense, humble, terribly human. I'm having fun with SKIN, I'm doing good at my level. One of the most beautiful sentences that a patient wrote to me was “You speak to us about life when we speak to us about death.” »
It’s a daily joy.
And then, I love nature, the sky, the earth, the countryside, the trees, the animals… all of this helps to make me happy.
Where can we find you?
In Paris ;-) The head office is at my house, I hold meetings outside.
What are your ideas for the future?
- further develop our photo exhibitions in hospital departments in France, Quebec, Belgium and elsewhere.
- Write a SKIN charter, find partners, and extend our services to K fighters.
- Imagine a patient + chef pair, who will create the first 'SKIN' menu or dish served in a Michelin-starred restaurant. And also, a one man/woman show type 'humor' pairing to make a bit of fun of it all
- Always bring more well-being and associate myself with other great initiatives/energies/wills
- Grow and make grow
- Let ideas come when they need to come, stay cool and continue to enjoy what I do. Ensuring that those who work alongside me have equal pleasure.
- See the smiles grow!
Links to follow you (site / social networks):
Facebook SKIN SPIRIT
Free field (what would you like to add that is not in my questions):
SKIN places the woman or man at the heart of its creative project, making it an actor/actress in its reconstruction.
SKIN systematically works as a pair of woman/man + artist.
All arts are possible, from plastic arts to performing arts.
Each pair is free to undertake their creative work as they wish. The woman or the man chooses to intervene as he sees fit in creation. She/he discusses it with the artist:
She/he will remain a photographer's muse, for example;
She/he will develop the project intellectually with the artist;
She/he will get involved (with a sculptor, for example);
Or all three at once.
The woman/man and the artist will see each other as often as they wish, will take the necessary time to create, will meet at the place of their choice, and may even decide not to exhibit if they do not feel not the desire.
Since 2014, SKIN has also offered man/woman + sports pairs: tandem jumps with world skydiving champions, opening a ballroom dance with professional dancers, etc.
Every year, SKIN offers immersive and innovative experiences to K fighters.
The objective? do yourself good, make yourself better, take pleasure, console yourself then pass the baton to others, who begin their treatment.
Skin is a virtuous circle.
Thank you Cécile, for letting us discover you.
You can leave comments to Cécile, below.
If like her, you want to tell your story, your projects and share your tips, go here , send me your questionnaire and 1 photo of yourself so that I can draw you ;) to: firstname.lastname@example.org
*Many of you send me your testimonies, thank you for your precious trust, for this same reason, the broadcasts of your interviews will sometimes be broadcast in several months, but know that I keep and transmit absolutely ALL the testimonies that are sent to me , Thank you for understanding.
Please note that I do not retouch any Interview, they are completely free, it is your freedom, your story, I just add my personal touch with the illustration, they are delivered as they were sent to me ;)
NEVER GIVE UP!!