Very young, originally from the Marche and Milanese by adoption. A harsh diagnosis, but also a spirit full of determination, which she does not intend to be overwhelmed. Nicoletta Saracco has a clear vision of her illness and where she wants to direct her life (for now). For three years she has been looking for new ways to support patients like her. For example, you have created a series of video interviews (which are now published periodically in Health) to doctors of the European Institute of Oncology in Milan, to seek answers to the most disparate questions concerning life with cancer.
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Nicoletta, where does your story start from?
“It starts three years ago, in 2019, when I was 29. I worked in the fashion world, I designed shoes. I had a beautiful and very fun life. Suddenly I find myself with this diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer in my hand. I didn’t even know what it meant. the word carcinoma, also because there had never been any cases in the family “.
What did you do at that point?
“I decided to abandon fashion because I needed to understand what awaited me. I chose to be treated at IEO, because the environment was very familiar and I really liked the doctor who had visited me. From there my path began. . In the first year I did nothing but go out and enter the hospital. Then, in 2020, Covid arrived: I was positive too and for two months I could not do therapy. It was the beginning, we still did not know nothing about the infection and for me it was a very difficult period. I was anxious to die because I was not doing anything to block the tumor. Since I don’t like cooking, I didn’t make pizza like most people and in order not to go crazy I started I created a first Madonna, which then became my logo. I thought I could sell my paintings, but why would someone buy them? I’m certainly not the artist of the century. At that moment I realized that I should have given something of my own: tell me “.
“By showing that I continue to lead the same life as before. Or almost. Of course, I am often in the hospital, I have fixed appointments. But I still have my autonomy, I continue to have my friends and my way of life has remained unchanged . I am not saying that this is the right way to deal with the disease, but it is mine. This is why I show that I make up, that I put on heels, etc. It is my way of defusing a theme often told with anguish: I do not deny suffering, of course, but it doesn’t help me to show it or see it. It helps me to see who is better than me, because it gives me strength. At the same time I want to make it clear that we can get sick even when we are young. That we are not untouchable: it can happen to anyone. And I want to do something to help patients, and therefore myself. Once you are inside this world you realize so many problems that those who do not go through cannot know. This is where my Ni project was born .Art.Gallery. In short, I changed my life “.
What exactly is Ni.Art.Gallery?
“It is my registered trademark, my company with which I carry out various projects, which have expanded. I continue to paint and sell paintings on commission, with the aim of supporting the IEO-Monzino Foundation, I collaborate with brands and last a week started a traveling fundraising project that will touch some cities, to offer breast examinations with IEO doctors. I wanted to do it because my first diagnosis was wrong: they had mistaken a tumor for a liquid cyst. That’s why I think it’s important give the possibility of a second opinion with highly qualified personnel, without moving from one’s own region. In the Marche region we raised 65,000 euros, the next stop will be in Puglia “.
What about the TTTT (Tits. Heels. Makeup. Tumor. Panic Instruction Manual “) project with the IEO?
“The idea was born from the many questions I get from those who follow me. They concern daily life. I think patients are ashamed of disturbing the oncologist. For example: can I get filler injections on my lips? “Can I have sexual intercourse? If I have radiotherapy then I am radioactive? This, for example, thought a pregnant friend of mine who did not want to see me for weeks. The answers for a doctor are obvious, but for a person who is ignorant on the subject.” . I am not able to answer, but I thought that I could ask the doctors these questions for them. Because life, as I said, must continue in the most normal way possible “.
Yet in the first TTTT video – just published in Health – you seem to know a lot about medicine too.
“I do not have a medical background and I am not interested in having it. Of my tumor, it is enough for me to know what has a direct impact on my life. Many people ask me what kind of disease I have. But I do not know and I do not want to know: once that I had also learned the abbreviation of my cancer and all those percentages, what difference would it make without the basics to be able to put it in a context? Would I have solved something? It is needed by my oncologist, while I have a clear idea of what I need. I am a person spontaneous and I speak to the doctors exactly as I am speaking now. I have never studied anything at the table of what I am doing, but I believe it will lead to something good “.
Instagram: Nicoletta Saracco | Ni.Art.Gallery | IEO Monzino Foundation
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