/ Modified aug 2, 2013 10:08 a.m.

Artist Shares Breast Cancer Survival Story in Book

Joanna Frueh underwent a double mastectomy, less than a year later she published her eighth work.

Story by Mary Olivas


Joanna Frueh identifies as many things: an author, scholar, teacher, performer, and yogi. In 2012 she became a breast cancer survivor.

In April 2013, less than a year after Frueh elected to have a bilateral mastectomy, she published her eighth book, A Short Story about a Big Healing, in which she shares details about her cancer experience and process of healing.

Frueh said it was natural for her to write about something so personal, because her intimate life is always a part of her writing and performances: “How could I possibly not write about all this?”

Feeling terror was part of her journey, and it is part of her book, but beauty, joy, and serenity are the outcome of her healing process. “I came out of all of this in a peaceful, beautiful fashion,” Frueh said.

Her past works have always been described as intimate and sensual, and they feature nudes of her. She chose to continue that aspect in her new book, which includes topless photos of her, one of which adorns the cover of the book. “In previous books of mine there are nudes of me,” Frueh said, “so it made sense to do nudes here as well.”

Joanna Frueh shares a brief excerpt from her book, "A Short Story About a Big Healing":


This web article was written by Mary Olivas, a journalism student and intern for Arizona Public Media.

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