I was diagnosed with breast cancer on December 12, 2013. The day before my 48th birthday. From that moment on, I had to tell my family and my dear friends that I had breast cancer. My whole world changed and was disrupted by something I had no control over.
By trade, I work as an undertaker, and throughout my career I’ve seen too many children, kids, and adults say, “mum went into remission”. Next thing they know, they’re with me, picking out flowers for their mother’s funeral. I wasn’t ready for my daughter to be one of them, so having a mastectomy was an obvious decision for me.
…It was then that I realized I was still beautiful and that I was going to get breast reconstruction.
After my mastectomy, I was comfortable with having a flat chest; a flat chest that confronted ladies in dress shops. I felt it was a sign of braveness and courage. But one day, as I was taking a shower after being body painted, I saw the colours wash off… It was then I realized then that I was still beautiful and that I was going to get breast reconstruction.
If you are a woman reading this who is considering a mastectomy, has had a mastectomy, or knows someone going through the journey – please know this:
Stay focused on love – love for your family, friends, and yourself. It is love that gets you through all the rough patches.
At one of my lowest points of my cancer journey, I decided to cover my bed room wall with photos of the people I loved and who would really miss me if I didn’t beat cancer. Every morning, every night, every time I wanted to cry myself to sleep, I looked up and they were there with me. These photos helped me fight every day – and it was my focus on love that got me through. So remember: let that love guide you through it all.
Annette took part in Pink Hope and AirXpanders‘Candid Conversations’ collaboration to open a dialogue about life after breast cancer.