“My name is Mindy! I was 29-years-old and in the best shape of my life when I came inside from running in the cold, only to discover what I would soon learn to be a malignant tumor—stage 2 invasive ductal carcinoma—at the top of my left breast, anchored to my chest wall.”
I was newly engaged to be married and absolutely devastated by this news. As the tears soaked my shirt, I decided cancer was not going to steal my joy—not then, not ever. Five months of intensive chemotherapy, six weeks of full breast radiation, and six surgeries later, a unilateral mastectomy included, I am nearing 5 years cancer-free!
To reduce my chances of recurrence, I continue to take an aromatase inhibitor medication daily and I receive a monthly ovarian suppression injection. Yep, I’m 34-years-old and 5 years into menopause! Chronic fatigue, unwanted weight gain, breast asymmetry, and numerous scars—these are just a few of the unwanted side effects of cancer treatments. Initially, I felt anything but fabulous.
But there’s something unique about a woman’s journey in healing from breast cancer. While not only physical, it’s emotional, too. And when your body changes, it can be difficult to look in the mirror and find your own image as beautiful.
It’s what I see now that I didn’t see then. Now, I see a body that withstood the gallons of chemotherapy forced through its veins. I see a body revealing its new contours, a shape depicting renewed health. I see a body carrying a breast reconstructed, a feat of medical artistry. I see a body with a patchwork of scars, these symbolizing the many repairs made.
I see more than a body. I see MY body. I see the beauty within and outside. And I forgive my body. I forgive my body for changing. My body didn’t let me down after all. It held on, it carried me through each and every one of my darkest days. And that is pretty fabulous if you ask me!