Kristal smiling while showing her mastectomy scar

Kristal Uncovered: A Breast Recognition Project

Name: Kristal
Age When Diagnosed: 36
Breast Cancer Type: Triple Negative
I Am An: Educator, Human Rights Activist, Rethinker

I was diagnosed with TNBC on May 17th, 2018, on my second son’s first birthday. I was 36, a mom of two small children, my oldest son being four years old. When I felt my bump just two weeks earlier, I had said to myself, “Well, if they (my boobies) gotta go, they gotta go.” After attending all the hospital’s educational sessions, along with my husband at my side, I decided to have a double mastectomy with immediate implants. Having the BRAC1 genetic marker means I am also at-risk for ovarian cancer, so after much reflection, my decision was to have both of my ovaries removed after I completed my six rounds of chemotherapy (FEC-D). The images I saw of women’s scarring were primarily of those who were white/light skinned, so it was hard for me to gauge what my body might look like post-surgery.

The night before my mastectomy surgery, I had a “Farewell to Kristal’s boobies” party (it was fun and light-hearted). Post-surgery, even though I got to keep my nipples, sensation was significantly reduced but I am much more ok with it now and I even enjoy the sensation that I do have.

My biggest advice is to listen to yourself, always. Give yourself time to investigate what you think is important. For me, I chose to opt for prophylactic surgery with my ovaries. I chose to have chemotherapy. Growing up in my homeland of Trinidad & Tobago, I knew what it was to live a third world life. I am so thankful for the excellent healthcare and options I had throughout my whole cancer experience here in Canada. Even though at every step, each decision was not an easy one, I did it with a light heart and with gratitude that I had excellent doctors at my side.

Uncovered: A Breast Recognition Project is a new resource that focuses on the breast cancer experience of Black women, through powerful imagery and real women’s stories that shine a light on the physical and emotional scars of breast cancer. Uncovered was created in collaboration with Michelle Audoin and developed in response to the significant underrepresentation of, and lack of support for, Black women and women of colour in the breast cancer community. Our hope is to educate all people, including healthcare providers, on the unique needs of Black women with breast cancer, so they are better equipped to support all the women they care for. Learn more about the resource here.

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50 Carroll Street Toronto, Ontario Canada M4M 3G3
Phone: 416 220 0700
Registered Charity #: 892176116RR0001

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