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Breast Cancer and Body Image

After losing my breasts to cancer, I struggled to recognize myself. Coping with this loss is hard, but it's important to know that you're not alone. Seek support from loved ones and medical professionals, and take the time to heal and love yourself.

My Journey Towards Acceptance

The Initial Shock

My double mastectomy decision came at the last minute, and it was a lot to process all at once.

Missing My Old Body

At first, I missed my breasts and my old body. It was tough seeing myself in the mirror.

Struggling with Body Image

My body image was shattered after surgery. It felt like my femininity was taken away.

Embracing My New Normal

It took time, but I learned to embrace my new body and see myself as beautiful and strong.

Mixed Feelings About My Decision

Choosing to undergo a double mastectomy was not an easy decision. While I don't regret it, I do have mixed feelings about it at times.

Pros

  • Reduced risk of breast cancer recurrence
  • Feeling empowered by taking control
  • Support from loved ones

Cons

  • Missing my pre-surgery body
  • Complications during the healing process
  • Physical limitations during recovery

Unknowns

  • Potential impact on future relationships
  • Long-term effects of the surgery
  • Emotional toll of constantly feeling like I have to explain my body to others

Healing and Moving Forward

Recovering from surgery is not just physical - it's emotional and mental as well. Here are some things that helped me heal and move forward:

Yoga and Meditation

These practices helped me connect with my body and find inner peace.

Support from Loved Ones

My friends and family helped me feel loved and supported during the toughest times.

Hope for the Future

It's important to hold onto hope and believe that things will get better.

Accessing Resources

There are many resources available for women going through breast cancer and body image issues. Here are some places to start:

American Cancer Society

https://www.cancer.org/

YSC - Young Survival Coalition

https://www.youngsurvival.org/

National Breast Cancer Foundation

https://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/

Positive Body Image

A positive body image is important for overall wellbeing. Here are some things that helped me learn to love my new body:

Self-Care

Regular exercise, getting enough sleep, and making healthy food choices all helped me feel better about my body.

Self-Compassion

I learned to be kind and compassionate towards myself, even on tough days.

Embracing My Differences

I learned to embrace my scars and differences, and to see them as a part of my unique and beautiful story.

The Power of Community

Joining support groups and connecting with others who have gone through similar experiences helped me feel less alone and more understood. Here are some communities to consider:

Local Support Groups

Check with your hospital or community center to find local support groups for women with breast cancer.

Beyond Boobs

A community of young women affected by breast cancer, focusing on a message of healing and hope. https://beyondboobs.org/

Imerman Angels

A global community that matches cancer survivors with mentors for one-on-one support. https://imermanangels.org/

Hope for the Future

Going through breast cancer and a double mastectomy was tough, but it also taught me resilience and strength. I now live each day with hope and gratitude, and I look forward to the future with excitement.

Gratitude for Life

Surviving cancer has taught me to appreciate the little things and to live each day to the fullest.

Excitement for New Opportunities

There is so much to look forward to in life - new experiences, new people, and new opportunities for growth.

Strength for New Challenges

Going through breast cancer has made me stronger and more resilient, and I know that I have the inner strength to face whatever challenges come my way.


Written by: Kim Lopez

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before cancer.....

Before my breast cancer diagnosis, I was incredibly shallow. I was obsessed with my appearance and always striving to live up to the model image I had created for myself. I even dreamed of posing for Playboy one day. But after a double mastectomy, I am now so self-conscious that I can hardly recognize myself. It took me almost a month to look down at my chest after the surgery. I cried and cried for hours in the bathroom, wondering how this could be happening to me. I had always been so confident in my body, and now I felt like a stranger in my own skin. As a mother, I struggled with how to teach my daughter to be confident when I was struggling so much myself. How could I tell her to love herself when I didn't even recognize myself anymore? I was grateful for my surgeon's skilled hands and for getting the cancer out, but I hated the results. When people say that a mastectomy is not a boob job, they are right. The scars and the fact that I will never have sensation again at 34

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