Hail the Cancer Vixen

The NY Times told a tale that included a long horizontal photo of Marisa Acocella Marchetto at her apartment. The story was about her reaction to breast cancer.

“The New York-based illustrator was dressed to turn heads one recent afternoon at Da Silvano, a downtown Italian restaurant frequented by the city’s fabulistas. She wore mauve sequined and suede stilettos, fishnet stockings and a curve-clutching pencil skirt with a slit that promised a glimpse of thigh. But the most interesting portion of her ensemble was her black sweater, with its giant jeweled skull sporting Mickey Mouse ears.

“It’s all about laughing in the face of death,” she explained with a wry chuckle.

Mrs. Marchetto, 43, has had to learn to do something of the sort since she was found to have breast cancer last May. But rather than view herself as a cancer victim, Mrs. Marchetto prefers a snazzier, more empowering handle: Cancer Vixen.

Moments later, two women with closely cropped hair accost Cancer Vixen, wondering why she still has long blond tresses.

“I-I-I did the lighter chemo,” a shrinking Cancer Vixen stammers.

“Change your doctor! Change your protocol!” one woman screams in response.

“You have to be aggressive and bomb the hell out of your body. …I did,” the other adds.

“Some of the moments were not funny when they were actually happening to me,” Mrs. Marchetto recalled. “But my mom would be, like, ‘Material, material!’ “