International Flat Day

a special day for ellen in breast cancer detection month (october)

I left all of my bras in Sarajevo because God asked me a question and that was my answer.

I answered the question at a cafe on the Miljacka River, looking at the spot where World War I started.

There, I decided to have a double mastectomy for an early breast cancer diagnosis without breast reconstruction.

I decided to keep traveling, with as few complications as possible. No implant leaks or implant sickness.

What if travel took us to places ill equipped to deal with implant emergencies? And indeed, God later led us to such places.

Just as important in my decision: my ego. How badly would my ego be hit without breasts? Why would I need to look ‘normal’?

Today I am concave where my breasts once were. All breast tissue was scooped out of my body by a talented surgeon in Croatia, where I had my surgery in July 2018. I’m grateful he got it all.

Sarajevo. City of Roses. City of Sorrows. And my City of Hope. It is where I left my all of my bras before our trip to Zagreb for my surgery.

The last picture on this post is the last one I have of me and Tedly together, taken on July 3, 2018 — with my breasts. Cancer lurked in one. I was an emotional mess.

Breast cancer runs rampant in my family. I caught mine early because I kept checking. I wish instead of breast cancer ‘awareness’ month, October would be breast cancer ‘detection’ month. Because if it’s detected early, we might have more time to answer questions that enrich our human experience before we die.

I’m still traveling. Still helping where and how I can. I am still tested by Divine Light, and always eternally grateful to still learn more about life during my time on Earth.

Lastly, October 7 is International Flat Day. That’s why I’ve shared this. At the moment we’re in Istanbul. Another city with contradictions and human struggle over centuries.

“…never believe that an hour you remember is a better hour because it is dead. Passed years seem safe ones, vanquished ones, while the future lives in a cloud, formidable from a distance.”

— Beryl Markham, West with the Night

ellen on mermaid's lap on buyukada island, princes' island istanbul turkiye

ellen at buyukada island, princes' island istanbul turkiye

ellen and theo in sarajevo, july 2018

See our health care abroad guide for traveling without health insurance.

Also see: How I found a breast surgeon overseas.

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