Faith Uncovered: A Breast Recognition Project
Name: Faith Walker
Age When Diagnosed: 26
Breast Cancer Type: Stage IV metastatic HR+
I Am A: Mother, Thriver, Singer
I have been living with stage IV metastatic breast cancer since I fractured my spine while pregnant in 2008. My cancer has spread to my bones, lungs and liver. I have had chemo twice, a mastectomy and radiation four times. I have had 12 surgeries for reconstruction as well as removal of a ruptured implant and a collapsed implant. I just underwent chemo and lost my hair for the second time. I’m currently on hormone therapy as well as natural treatments.
Prior to breast cancer, I took my breasts for granted, never being happy with what I had. Now, I feel pretty disconnected from my breasts. They don’t have much feeling and my scars make it difficult to feel comfortable wearing certain clothes. I miss a lot about my pre-diagnosed self. I miss living pain-free (my spinal fusion caused a lot of nerve pain and a foot drop). I miss being able to walk with ease and having balance. I miss being carefree.
My advice to newly-diagnosed Black women is to advocate for yourself. Bring a support person to your appointments. I record most of my doctor’s appointments to make sure I don’t miss anything and also to protect myself. Healthcare professionals often don’t take Black women seriously and we are often not given the medication and support we need. Do your research and know that it’s your body and you can decide your course of treatment. Try to find support through other Black women living with cancer, even if it’s through social media.
There are very few, if any photos of Black women’s reconstruction, so I was compelled to be part of this resource.
I really hope this project is a step in the right direction and allows us to be seen and help many women of colour on their cancer journeys.