Did That Really Just Happen?
July 18, 2023
Let’s talk about cancer, shall we? It’s like the ultimate party crasher. You’re just living your life, minding your own business, and then BAM! Cancer shows up uninvited and ruins everything.
I was diagnosed with stage 3 grade 3 triple negative breast cancer at the age of 33. I went through 20 rounds of chemotherapy two surgeries, a shit load of meds and the amputation of both my breasts — traumatic to say the least.
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.
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” (fake boobs) that are still very uncomfortable. I mean, come on, I had fed my daughter for two years with my now gone 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, so 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. It’s like your world stopped, but everyone else’s just keeps rolling.
I’m coming up on one year since my 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 when I stop and give myself a moment, the reality is this has been the darkest of times for me.
Still, looking at myself in the mirror is by far the hardest thing to do. An instant reminder of everything I’ve been through and the weight it holds so physically, visually. Trying to get to know this new person I am feels like I’m trying to learn a new language. I’m not going to lie and say I love my body now because the truth is that I hate it. I hate what cancer has done to me. But you know what? I am proud of my body too. She’s so strong, stronger than I ever thought I could be. I think both can exist — wanting to hate on her and thank her 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, and as much as I love and mourn them, its not the boobs I had.
I know I’m not alone. So, to all the other cancer survivors out there, keep going. 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 finding ourselves again, and that’s something to be proud of. — Elle Adams
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