As to by Britt Julious
Ever since I was little, I had this little lump in my breast, but it was never of concern. During my honeymoon, I was putting on my swimsuit top, and I brushed over [my breast], and it made me question whether the lump was always this size. I got an appointment scheduled, went in, and every time I felt [the lump], I wasn’t sure if it was bigger than before. Maybe I was afraid to admit it was.
I had four tumors—invasive ductal carcinoma breast cancer. It was two months before my 28th birthday. The whole thing seemed surreal. In the back of my mind, I kept thinking, they must have messed up my test results with someone else.
I did neoadjuvant chemotherapy, which is chemo before surgery. Two or three of [the tumors] melted away. There was still one [that was] pea-sized. I also opted for a bilateral mastectomy.
I didn’t realize how much pain I would be in after surgery. I couldn’t go to the bathroom by myself. I couldn’t walk. I didn’t realize I had lost all my strength, and that was brutal because I’ve never had to ask for help much.
It looks great what they did, but it just didn’t feel like my body. Everyone would make comments, and say, “At least you got a free boob job.” First of all, it ain’t free. I have the bill to prove it. Two, I had no choice. If I wanted to save my life, I had to get the surgery. And three, it was an amputation of a part of my body.
I didn’t love it. I’m a very girly girl, and I didn’t feel feminine at all. For me, I gain confidence with clothes, and when I put on my clothes, they just didn’t fit the same. Now that isn’t even helping me.
I like to use the word thriver. Sometimes, I still feel ill. I’m not getting chemo, but I’m still feeling side effects. I’m still trying to understand my body. Some days are awesome, and I forget the cancer happened. And then I get a reminder. I think people want everything to be definitively over, and that’s what I thought it was going to be like. I didn’t realize every day, in some aspect, it affects my day. It’s still a journey.