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I was diagnosed on Sept 27, 2017 with receptor-positive breast cancer at age 38. I had an ultrasound done, followed by a mammogram and then a biopsy that confirmed cancer. My oncologist and I decided to do a mastectomy which took place in Nov 2017. Once surgery was over I now knew that I had stage 1 breast cancer. I choose to have a second mastectomy for preventative reasons but saved the skin for reconstruction, and had that removed in April 2018.
I have now started breast reconstructive surgery which required rebuilding the left breast with skin from my back and had tissue expanders put in. They have been in since April 2018 and I’m scheduled for my 3rd surgery in Dec 2018, where the expanders will be removed and replaced with permanent implants. I’m on Tamoxifen for the next few years.
I remember feeling like I was punched in the face when I got my diagnosis. I was numb, scared, in disbelief, and felt like I was being punished for something. I have no breast cancer history in my family. The past year has been an emotional rollercoaster filled with surgeries, worry, and lots of pain. As I face the reality of my body being changed forever, the scars are a reminder of what I overcame and for that I am grateful.
Boobs are such a personal thing to a woman. We get to watch them grow in our bodies as we turn from girls to woman. They are a big part of how we look, feel, dress, and so on. Although I’m so happy to be alive losing them has been really devastating. One of the hardest things I had to deal with was people telling me I was getting a boob job, and I actually had someone tell me I’m a plastic surgery patient. I wanted to punch that person in the face! I’m a breast cancer patient! I lost them because my real ones tried to kill me, not out of choice. As I continue on my journey I try to stay positive, focus on my work, and purpose. Something that really helped me through was continuing to work. It was hard at times but having something else to focus on besides cancer really helped distract me and allow me to stay focused. I hope one day we can find a cure that doesn't require butchering our bodies. I’m now looking forward to hopefully a successful remission.
Submitted by: Sonia Couto