Bif Naked a breast cancer survivor

JANE STEVENSON - Sun Media

, Last Updated: 2:33 AM ET

The story of Vancouver rocker Bif Naked's year-long battle to overcome breast cancer is written right there on her left shoulder.

The word "Survivor" is one of the 40 or so tattoos that decorate her well-toned, tiny body. But the spooky part is that the inkage is about 15 years old.

"I already got my badge," the funny, foul-mouthed and fearless Naked, 37, told Sun Media this week leading up to the May 5 release of her sixth studio album, The Promise, the first single off of which is called, appropriately, Sick.

"It's funny when you get diagnosed with cancer and you're a raw food vegan -- for 10 years! You think they're lying to you, or they got your chart mixed up. You're like, 'Get out of here!' You're not shocked. It's not like you're devastated. You don't buckle. I didn't. I know people who did. I was just really surprised. I thought someone was playing a bit of a practical joke on me because I'm a joker."

Not so funny, however, was the lumpectomy -- she nonchalantly shows off the scar above her left nipple -- and the 13 months of chemotherapy and radiation she endured after the diagnosis.

After losing her hair, she now has grown back a short pixie cut that suits her pretty face dominated by large, inquisitive blue eyes.

But Naked said the worst day was right after she and her husband, Vancouver sports writer Ian Walker, returned home after the diagnosis.

"I went home and plucked all my eyebrows out and cried to my poor husband, who's still stunned, and I went, 'I look like a frog.' And he goes, 'You're always going to be my frog. Don't forget it.' And I was like, 'Okay.' And that was it. That was my tears. And I think that it really fast-tracked him and I. It was the make or break it year."

At first, Naked thought more extreme measures were in order as she was handed her diagnosis just six weeks after her big, well-publicized wedding to Walker on Sept. 29, 2007.

"I was like, 'Neat. Cut 'em off!' " she said, referring to her breasts. "And (the doctor's like), 'Nah, relax, we don't have to do that anymore.' I was like, 'Get rid of them! I don't care.' I was very skinny. I didn't have boobs. Chemotherapy gave me boobs. I'm not going to lie to you. I'm quite happy with that. It is a myth I think that we all think that when you go through chemo, you get skinny and sickly. Everybody that I was in breast cancer treatment with gained weight, like 20 to 30 to 60 pounds. We're talking about hormone driven cancers so I was one of those people. (So I got boobs) and an ass. I was like, 'This is awesome!' "

The bad joke was that she discovered the lump above her left breast just after coming back from her and Walker's honeymoon in Mexico.

"People are like, 'Oh, you're back from the brink,' " said Naked, whose last tattoo she'll likely ever get (due to health concerns) was her husband's last name in big letters on her back, just below her neck, "and I'm like, 'What? I have a bunch of new friends who I wouldn't have made otherwise, who I love and who I would die for.' We went through chemotherapy together. And we had a riot. Ian and I probably didn't have a riot. We had a really important year in our development.

"In hindsight, the epiphany is the fact that it solidified the foundation of my brand new marriage."

Naked is still on a medication to suppress estrogen and get rid of a blood clot, and is having a hysterectomy in three weeks .

So is she now cancer free?

"I don't know," she said. "Who knows? They don't scan you. They don't give you a wand like at the airport. At the end, maybe they're going to. I just haven't had it yet. I'm getting my ovaries taken out in three weeks. My oncologist really thinks we should try really hard to suppress any estrogen so I don't have a recurrence. I can't imagine that I will."


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