To My Breasts the Night Before Surgery
I can’t believe that we have been together for 43 years. I’m not really sure I acknowledged your existence. You were just always there, where you were supposed to be. I didn’t put much thought into having you, or how grateful I should have been until it was time to say goodbye. I keep thinking that I should have checked on you more. I shouldn’t have been ignorant to the fact that I wasn’t immune to a disease that affects 1 in every 8 women in their lifetime. You have made me realize that everything we have is so fragile and it can be taken away at any moment. There is no rhyme or reason. It isn’t fair but life isn’t always fair.
I want to say thank you for creating food and a beautiful and unbreakable bond with my children. Your job is done and I am grateful, but I am so sad to let you go. Even though people might say, “It’s just breasts!”, you are a part of me, my body and my womanhood. I came into this world with you, but when I leave this world you won’t be with me.
I will try my best to not allow this to define me today, tomorrow or the next. It’s what I choose to do with this pain that will allow me to rise above, because it took me a long time to get to a place in my life where I finally felt brave. I will take this “lump in the road” and turn it into compassion and strength…this is just going to be ANewKindaMe!
This is the letter I wrote to my breasts the night before surgery.
My story begins on the evening of March 16th, 2020 (the beginning of COVID-19) and as usual, I was getting ready for bed, but as I looked in the mirror I saw a line going across my lower right breast I thought to myself, “My bra must have been on too tight!” At that moment it was as though someone guided my hand to follow the line and at the end was a lump that would forever change my life.
You know, you hear about women being diagnosed with breast cancer and you say “Not me!” It’s not in my family which means, I am genetically safe (so I thought). There was no need to start mammograms at 40, and why would I check for lumps or bumps?
Little did I know that inside of my right breast, there was DCIS that had invaded my entire breast and a 1.5 cm invasive tumour. The diagnosis was confirmed after multiple mammograms, ultrasounds, a biopsy and an MRI. I was urged to have a full mastectomy. All I thought in that moment was, “How am I going to tell my children that mommy has cancer?”
On April 22nd, 2020 my husband dropped me off at the front doors of the hospital for my scheduled bilateral mastectomy and because of COVID-19, I was forced to face my worst fear alone.
Breast cancer has been both a blessing and a curse. It has put my life into perspective, shown me just how precious life is and how strong I actually am. I now know through my experience that breast cancer does not discriminate and no woman is sheltered from this disease.
But, I refuse to allow it to break my spirit. Even though I am in constant pain, unable to resume many activities that require the upper right side of my body, dealing with the side effects of Tamoxifen and the fear of a reoccurrence, I decided to create a website called “ANewKindaMe.” The reason – I don’t want women to feel alone in their journey or feel like this is a death sentence. I want to encourage women to share their stories, as these stories lend help, encouragement and empowerment to other women. And lastly, I want all women to be aware of breast cancer and their own risk. I want to be a voice and turn my pain and adversity into power and positivity for women. – Rosie White