My blog today is about two friends of mine and the most inspirational woman i know. They met each other through their journey with breast cancer and are celebrating life today. I wanted to showcase their beauty, confidence and empowerment they posses even after receiving the scares of their journey. Breast cancer is not just something you can get at an older age anymore these ladies started their fight under the age of 27, it is no longer something to be shy about or hide away from it is something you need to fight and the best way to fight it is through awareness! You ladies were fantastic in your shoot and such an inspiration to many more woman going through this life changing challenge!
Carla - Here is her Journey!
CANCER…yeah, I never thought that would happen in my healthy life, but I guess one’s life can change any day. When I was diagnosed with Breast cancer 1 November 2012, I though WHY me? Well I believe everything happens for a reason. It made me realise that life is short and we need to appreciate the small things in life. It also allowed me to be an inspiration and shining light for others going through the same situation. It was very important to me to carry on as normal and to be extra healthy. NEVER go and sit in the corner, feeling sorry for yourself, rather own it and make the best out of your journey.
I was my Dr’s youngest patient and that also did not make things easier for me. I had to get chemo after my double mastectomy and double reconstruction (luckily now I will have perky boobs for the rest of my life J) and I was by far the youngest person in that room. I remember when I first walked in, everyone stared, thinking by themselves, “what does she do her?”
Today I am healthy with fake boobs that won’t disappoint me again and very thankful for all the support I received from my friends and family.
Cancer. A terrifying, hopeless word. Something, depending on your upbringing people don’t talk about like it is something to be hidden away, ashamed of. I don’t have a family history of cancer and at 80 years old, all four my grandparents are still healthy and enjoying their lives. It couldn’t happen to me. Or so I thought.
I was diagnosed on 1 October 2015 with stage 1 breast cancer when I was 27. After weeks of my husband begging me to have an annoying innocuous lump on my left breast looked at I found myself at an unrelated check-up at my gynae. At the end of the appointment as an afterthought I asked her about this mere irritation. ‘Don’t worry, its probably nothing. Your too young. But maybe go and get a sonar just for peace of mind.’ The sonar led to a mammogram, for more peace of mind. The mammogram (our medical aid wouldn’t pay for a sonar or mammogram because of course at 27, ‘too young’ for a screening) led to an appointment with a surgeon who would perform a lumpectomy (yes, for peace of mind). Within the space of one week, I went from believing cancer was something that happened to other people to getting the call from my doctor: My annoying lump on my left breast was trying to kill me.
The first thought that goes through your mind is that your dying. Then survival kicks in five minutes later and you just know you have to do, you will do whatever it takes to live. But it is not always easy. I was told I had to have a mastectomy, there were no other treatment plans. I was given 30 days to decide if I was going to lose all feeling and the ability to perhaps one day breastfeed in one or both breasts. I had a bi-lateral double mastectomy and one nipple removed a month later. The scars will be with me forever, but so will the memories of support from friends and family especially the night of my “Boob Farewell Party” just before my op. My cancer wouldn’t respond to chemotherapy (enough to justify this difficult but life-saving treatment) but I would be on hormone therapy for 5 years.
I am now 28 and in full chemical-induced menopause. I struggle with extreme insomnia, occasional depression, low or no sex drive, hot flushes, mood swings, headaches, water-retention and body pains, but I am here, living my life the only way I know how. I opted for immediate reconstruction which involved fat grafting, so although my breasts don’t look like they used to, my legs are looking amazing!
Sometimes I wonder if my husband doesn’t suffer more than I do. My bad days affect him directly and he has no option but to ride out the storm and try and cheer me up. He is the reason I take my medication although it I the hardest part of this journey.
Cancer hasn’t been all bad (well… you know what I mean). We make time to enjoy life every day, eat healthy (delicious) food get exercise in the fresh air, walk our dogs and drink fabulous wine because life is too short not to. We try and make new friends and experience new things. I have grown a lot as a person, I know that if I can make it through this I can survive anything. My journey with cancer has been an open one. It has helped me deal with what I am going through but also lets me live with the hope that my journey can help someone else. Whether it is having a lump looked at or knowing you are not alone. You are never too young to get cancer, but you are also not too young to be a survivor.