There are two scars that outline my left breast. They represent a time in my life when I least expected something else to turn my world upside down.
Scars strategically placed on my abdomen were remnants of over a dozen surgeries removing endometriosis, and ultimately my uterus, and my ovaries. These scars deflated my self confidence. I felt as if I could see them, everyone else would stare at them.
The medical history of my twenties was overwhelming, confusing, and traumatic. Surgeries every six months were normal, along with experimental drugs and needle pricks.
Overcoming the challenges associated with endometriosis and later cancer attacking my female organs was a battle I chose to fight while working full time. I earned my battle scars. A warrior in the face of danger, the unknown. At first afraid of the scars, now wearing them proudly.
Without my persistence and connection to my body, things could have turned out much different. I may not be here today to share my stories of pain, hurt, fear, and heart.
By the time my last ovary was removed, I was only 26. And I finally thought I would be healthy, only to battle changing hormones in my body that produced weight gain, weight loss, more weight gain, and the unexpected to me -breast loss. My bust size changed. My reduced bra size inspired creative conversation among men who believed I should get enhancements, and it made me feel less of a woman.
My first breast lump was found when I was 28, too young for something like this the doctors said. If that was not something I had not heard before, than I was hallucinating. Ultrasounds and a mammograms did not have the doctor concerned, however they wanted me to stop drinking all caffeine. Coffee, Soda, and chocolate were expected to be removed from my diet.
The best news, there was no “C word” involved in this conversation. I vowed to eat healthier and take care of myself and now truly laughed at the thought of breast surgery to enhance my looks. I was already self conscious, and knew enhancements would only be for a mans pleasure and not good for my health. The pain of not feeling whole consumed me, it changed me. Thinking less of myself, I struggled with weight gain, and finding laughter over tears. Over the span of a year, I stopped taking the hormone drugs and the lump disappeared. To this date I don’t take hormones, watch my soy intake, and eat a balanced diet that works for me.
Turning 30 changed something inside of me. I felt alive, and happy for the first time in ten years. I was more active, and understood how to take care better care of me emotionally and physically. Attending a yoga retreat for three weeks is where I shed the decade of tears, removing the pain of my health struggles and inability to naturally have children.
It was also here that I discovered a new lump. My positive thinking and thirst for life was at an all time high. For several months, I chose to ignore it. As the lump grew, my left arm throbbed with pain. I felt that this was my time, that I had lived Gods plan for me, and this would be how it would end. I started feeling sorry for myself, and crying over the unknown, so I visited the doctor.
Tests found not one, but two lumps in my left breast. The decision was made to remove the lumps and send them to the lab to see if they were cancerous.
At this point in my life I had just started my business, I was about to host a TEDx event, and planning a move across the country. I felt I was at an all time high, and bam, I received a reminder that I was not the one in control.
Heading into surgery, the hospital gown and hospital bed an all to familiar sight. At the age of thirty I felt I was going to die, but something happened that day in the hospital.
It felt as if time stood still while a room full of jokes about lopsided breasts filled the air. My tired smile and fake laugh, covered the tingling madness inside while I waited for the surgeon.
As they wheeled me to surgery and injected me with anesthesia meds, I made a promise to never to give up. I made a promise to always look at the good, to follow my heart, to believe in myself, and to be grateful for each and every day of my life. I made a promise to live and to inspire those I came into contact with. It was this day I chose to leap into my life and my destiny.
I woke up from surgery exhausted, most likely from dreaming bigger than ever before. Hearing the words ,your test results are negative, you don’t have cancer, was music to my ears.
I feel that I got a new lease on life. I had vivid dreams of me dying prior to surgery and had seen everything so clearly. I am not sure how many second chances God will give me, and I will take every one he throws my way.
6 months ago I was at the same doctor again for more tests. I have a new lump in my left breast. Both the mammogram and ultrasound are picking it up, however the radiologist does not feel it is something of concern unless it changes in size.
The fact is, I am not scared. I took the precaution to have it looked at , and I will watch it. I don’t want to give my body an unnecessary surgery, and it made me say to myself, how healthy are you eating and what can you change.
I believe in my heart things happen for a reason. Today I am grateful for every day. Thankful for time spent with loved ones and friends, and grateful to have a career I love. I am happier for I have gained a bigger heart and a smaller bust.