Trompe L’Oeil

Trick of the eye. That’s what it means. A French word for art that fools the eye into thinking something is real. And I’ve suddenly come to realise the very big difference this could make in my life.

After the reconstruction I haven’t bothered to get a nipple done. Mainly because there’s more reconstruction left to do. If I get the nipple done too early it could end up pointing any old direction. East, west, north or south. Could be quite something to behold. Not a good look. So I’ve held off.

But it means that every time I look in the mirror my brain registers there’s something missing. And I know the psychological impact that has had on my life. A conversation with a researcher about mirror work got me to thinking… how can I put the mirror to work for me?

It’s quite brilliant really. They’re using mirrors with people recovering from stroke. So simple and yet so incredible. They take the good arm, or leg or part that’s not paralysed and reflect the image of its movement using a mirror box. And it fools the brain into thinking the paralysed limb is working. This in turn sets off a cascade of effects as the brain rewires the damaged nerves. And it is then the miracle happens, the paralysed limb ‘learns’ to move again. And they’re using mirror work to manage pain too. The pain of arthritic hands for instance. Mirroring a good hand so the brain ‘sees’ something that it can work with to self-repair. Mind-blowing stuff. Most people don’t realise we have so much untapped potential.

And its got me to thinking… why not me? A prosthetic nipple may be all it takes to repair the psychological damage. The icing on the cake so to speak. So that everytime I look in the mirror I see a whole image reflected back. Tricking my eye, tricking my brain into awakening the pathways that have been sleeping…

 

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