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Not a boob job

The journey through misdiagnosis, disbelief, and ultimately, a life-altering diagnosis of triple negative breast cancer stage 3 was a whirlwind of emotions, frustrations, and unanswered questions. For 15 long months, I was told I was too young, that the rash on my breast was nothing more than eczema. But as the days passed and the symptoms worsened - heavy, red, hot, crusty yuck - it became clear that something more sinister was at play. Too young? Should I have to lift my shirt and show the world that mammograms shouldn't have an age minimum? Should I expose my chest to the editor and writer of that Wall Street Journal article that reduced a double mastectomy to a mere cosmetic procedure, as if I still had nipples to enhance?

Sarah Thornton, the author of that article, did a disservice to breast cancer patients, survivors, and previvors alike. A mastectomy is not a choice made lightly, nor is it akin to a breast augmentation. It's a decision borne out of necessity, out of survival, out of reclaiming one's body in the face of adversity. With my double mastectomy, I lost more than just breasts - I lost sensation, I lost the ability to feel my daughter's hugs, I lost a part of myself that can never be replaced. This is not a boob job; this is a battle scar, a testament to resilience, a mark of survival.

I would hope that the Wall Street Journal would retract their callous statement, offer a public apology to those who have undergone this life-altering surgery, but five days have passed, and silence reigns. So, perhaps it's time to take matters into my own hands. Should I start sending photos of my chest, bare and unadorned, still in the process of reconstruction, to drive home the reality of what a mastectomy truly entails? Would that be the wake-up call needed to shatter the misconceptions, the trivialization, the ignorance that surrounds this deeply personal and often painful journey?

The scars on my chest tell a story of battles fought, of tears shed, of strength found in the darkest of moments. They are not meant to be hidden, to be dismissed, to be reduced to a mere footnote in someone else's narrative. They are a reminder of the resilience that lies within me, within every survivor who has faced the unthinkable and emerged stronger on the other side. So, to Sarah Thornton and to all those who fail to see the gravity of a mastectomy, I say this - look beyond the scars, listen to the stories, and understand that there is beauty in the brokenness, strength in the vulnerability, and power in the voices of those who refuse to be silenced.


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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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