"I didn't choose this life, but it is the only life I have to live." -Sharon D. Kidd
Still me! Still beautiful! Still blessed! Still loved! Still covered! Still a Queen!
Each day I am amazed by how resilient the female body is; how resilient my body is! How resilient I am!
After egg preservation, several types of chemotherapy, hair loss, weight loss, weight gain, a mastectomy with reconstruction, removal of an expander due to a staph infection, an ineffective clinical trial, nerve damage, and more chemotherapy, I am thankful for it all — the good, bad, and ugly.
I will not pretend as if having breast cancer is an easy thing; it is not! Some days I do not understand why God would choose me to carry this heavy burden and what is he trying to teach me as I deal with living with metastatic breast cancer.
Throughout the process, I remain grounded in knowing God makes no mistakes and he has the final say. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
My mastectomy was scheduled during the peak of COVID-19. I was initially scheduled for a bilateral. Due to the pandemic, all elected procedures were canceled. I proceeded with the single mastectomy. I have been living with one breast for over a year now and to be honest it hasn’t bothered me as much as I thought it would before. Being in the hospital alone for an extended period and the fear of another staph infection, has me afraid to start the reconstruction process again.
After my surgery, things were very different! My clothes did not fit “correctly” anymore, I felt ashamed, embarrassed and I was unsure how I felt about my body. I would look in the mirror and be ashamed of my battle scars. It was painful to view my new body in the mirror. Throwing away wired bras was also emotional for me. Shopping for clothes did not excite me like it once did. Everything was different.
I am now almost 18 months post-surgery, and I am in a very different headspace. After lots of grounding and affirming, I had to fix my crown and remember who I am and whose I am! I am now creating the life I love. Being intentional about every aspect of my life, has reminded me to stay grateful and to love each moment I am granted. Having breast cancer is only one piece of who I am. This journey has allowed me to meet so many amazing survivors and thrivers! I am now a Baddie Ambassador at “For the Breast of Us” and a certified “Living Beyond Breast Cancer” advocate. I am also a mentor to newly diagnosed survivors! Mentorship creates space for me to help myself while I am helping another thriver cope.
Two years ago, I had no clue what God was doing in my life; now I am so very grateful for the adversities because they have made me even stronger, helped me increase my faith and love myself like I have never loved myself before. I am in love with my whole entire being and I proudly show my battle scars and embrace all opportunities to support others along their journeys. Reframing allowed me to realize that the most important blessing was simply being alive for my kids. I didn’t choose this life, but it is the only life I have to live.
Once I regained my power, my thoughts followed, and my physical pains improved as well. This whole process has been extremely humbling, it made me appreciate all the little things that are often taken for granted. I am now owning every single part of my story, sharing them in hopes of inspiring others.
My cancer has progressed to stage IV, but I am still thriving! I have embraced my new body, mind, and soul. Each year I will have a photoshoot to celebrate my strength, resilience and self-love. I hope this encourages someone who is battling anything in silence and/or alone in the dark. Like many people, I felt I needed to keep my diagnosis under wraps, and I did for a very long time. I am no longer going to be ashamed of what I survived and what I am surviving! I am beautiful inside and out! I am me and that’s my superpower! God’s plan for me is much bigger than me!
“For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jerimiah 29:11