Riding The Ebb And Flow

Being diagnosed January 10, 2012, with triple-negative invasive ductal carcinoma was the gamechanger in my life’s journey.

I have ridden the ebb and flows of that diagnosis and continue to do so. At the time of diagnosis, I was told that the cancer was aggressive and being a BRCA 1 carrier the decision to have a bi-lateral mastectomy was made. It was one of the hardest decisions to make even though I knew it was essentially saving my life. 

After 8 rounds of chemo, surgery and 22 rounds of radiation I was released as a patient from the Cross Cancer Institute with a clean bill of health February 2013. I was relieved and elated only to find out 6 months later that the initial cancer had spread to the lymph nodes in between my lungs & in my upper left clavicle area. 

Devastated, fragile and broken open yet again, I faced 6 more rounds of chemo. I received my last chemo March 2014 and since then I have had to have regular CT scans to ensure that those pesky little cancer cells are staying put and staying stable. Thankfully, they have been. 

Being a BRCA 1 carrier and post menopausal due to the chemo, a difficult decision was made again and I went through a complete hysterectomy December 2014. Having lost my breasts and my entire reproductive system took a toll on me. I lost any chance to have a baby, so the dream of having children and breast-feeding them became just that, a dream. 

All sense of my womanhood was taken and it has been quite the journey to rebuild and recreate the new me. Part of that rebuilding has been the choice to go through the process of reconstruction. To say the least, it has been a bumpy road but thankfully I am a couple months away from my final surgery. 

This has been a life-altering journey, a shake-up to say the least. The tears have lessened over the past few months but at certain times when I see my scars in the mirror I am reminded of what I have lost and I fall apart. Amidst those tears though, I find myself tracing the outline of my scars and can’t help but feel love and gratitude. Love and gratitude for my life and the miracle that it is, love for my friends and family and gratitude for their prayers and support, and love for and from my husband and gratitude for his never ending support. 

Rebuilding myself as a woman, as a feminine being has forced me to dig deep within to find my truth, my essence, someone I had lost a long time ago. Who I am today is a woman who is stronger, more passionate, more open, more present, and most importantly a woman who has learned to embrace the goddess within. 

There is nothing that can take that away from me, I thought cancer did but I was wrong. Sometimes, I think that it was cancer that brought me back to myself. 

Being able to be a part of this project has been exhilarating for me, I have always thought it would be liberating to show my scars. To show that these scars not only represent life but also strength, courage, and beauty. My wish is that all women would see themselves in that light and know that they too are beacons no matter what life throws at them. 

The photo shoot day is a day I will never forget, bonds were made, vulnerabilities shown through insurmountable strength and beauty was captured through each of us. 

We all have a story, the common thread may be breast cancer but we are so much more than that and I know the photos taken that day will portray this.

#breastcancerawareness #scarsarebeautiful #scarsproject#everyonehasastory #bekind