Some days were good and others were not so great. There were days that I didn’t look at my phone, I didn’t open the blinds or get out of bed. I was tired in every sense of the word. I was still going back and forth to the doctor. I bounced between my oncologist, surgeon and the plastic surgeon.
I finally had the drains removed (which was painful). The plastic surgeon had advised me to go ahead and stop wearing the surgical bra and purchase one that would fit comfortably.
I was still avoiding looking in the mirror.
Until one day…
I was in the bathroom going about my morning routine. I was sitting on my stool brushing my teeth. Standing for long periods of time was still quite uncomfortable.
I stood up for a second to get a closer look in the mirror. There were bags under my eyes from the uncomfortable nights of attempting to sleep sitting up. I ran my finger across the port scar that was peeking from under the bandages.
I took a deep breath and I finally did it.
I peeled back the Velcro straps of the bra and let them fall to my side. I closed my eyes quickly before opening them slowly as I looked at my chest.
I immediately sat back down in the chair and cried. I don’t know what I was expecting to see, but it was hard to see myself this way.
I had opted not to save my nipples because I didn’t want any breast tissue left behind.
My breasts had been replaced with hard tissue expanders.
I took a minute to gather myself before pulling myself up again and looking back in the mirror.
I slid my scarf off my head and examined myself again.
I had no hair. I had no breasts. I had several scars, but I was here.
“I’m still here,” I said to myself blinking away tears.
The thing that could have killed me had made me stronger.
” No, In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” I said over and over to myself.
Months ago I probably would have looked at myself in the mirror and felt embarrassed, but today I looked in the mirror and I felt empowered.
I knew there was a long road to recovery ahead, but I was ready. I had made it through 6 rounds of chemo and a double mastectomy–I was ready to take on the world (or at least my first tissue expansion….)
I've always believed that we tend to be the most effective in areas where we have been the most affected. It's often our deepest pains that draw us closer to our purpose. Those words never really hit home until I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer at the age of 28. I had watched both my mother and grandmother battle the disease, but never thought I would find myself in the same battle, especially not so young. I've learned through this journey that it's not what you go through, but how you go through it. I wanted to share my story in hopes that it will inspire someone to keep fighting, keep the faith and live on purpose.