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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 years old still mess with my head.

They say that the stage I am at is the hardest, and it took me months to write this post. As time goes on, I can look at my "foobs" well I still have expanders that are still very uncomfortable. But I am learning to accept my new body and to find beauty in the scars that tell the story of my journey.

One of the things that has helped me the most is building a community of women who have gone through similar experiences. Attending breast cancer support groups and telling my story has gained me some forever sisters and friends who make me feel seen and heard. Attending the Breastie Camp in 2023 was a turning point for me. Those women helped me feel not alone and not question why this was happening to me. They helped me realize that we can feel sad, happy, mad, angry, and grateful all at the same time.

Breast cancer has changed me in ways I never could have imagined. It has forced me to confront my own mortality and to re-evaluate what is truly important in life. I have learned to appreciate the little things and to find joy in the present moment. I have also learned to be kinder to myself and to love myself for who I am, scars and all.

To anyone going through a similar experience, I want to say that you are not alone. It is okay to feel sad, angry, and scared. But it is also okay to find joy and beauty in the midst of the struggle. Building a community of support can make all the difference, and I am grateful for the women who have helped me along the way. Remember that you are strong, you are beautiful, and you are loved.

From: ask me a question App: Well, well, well, look who's here. It's me, the girl who used to be the life of the party, the one who was never ashamed to show off her body. But now, after getting my breasts amputated, there's none of that anymore. I once felt like the Beyoncé of the world, and now I just feel like Michelle. Nobody wants to be Michelle, sorry.

I mean, come on, I've fed my daughter for two years with these breasts. My husband watched them develop from every stage, from 16 until now. I've flashed and posed nude with these boobs, the ones that were cut off because they were trying to kill me! The girls I had so much fun with did me dirty.

Having cancer and being a young adult is like watching everyone else on Instagram and Facebook living their best lives while you're stuck in your own pandemic. Everything changed in such little time. I'm coming up on my year of cancer diagnosis, and it's like, did I really go through that? Do I really not have breasts now? I've just been flowing with the motions, but this time has been the darkest times.

Looking at myself in the mirror is by far the hardest thing to do. Trying to get to know this new person I am is like trying to learn a new language. I'm going to lie and say I love my body now because I hate it. I hate what cancer has done to me. But you know what? I am proud of her. She's so strong, stronger than I ever thought I could be.

So, to all the other cancer survivors out there, keep fighting. Keep laughing. Keep making jokes, even if they're dark. We've been through hell and back, and we're still here. We may not be the same person we were before, but we're still here, and that's something to be proud of.


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