Gina - Breast Cancer Survivor
"I lost both of my breasts to cancer at the age of 27. They weren’t huge in the first place but they were mine. Shortly after that I read a story about another woman’s journey with breast cancer. In it, she described this moment when she looked at herself in the mirror the morning of her mastectomy and said goodbye to her breasts. I still get sad when I think about that because I didn’t do that. I didn’t let myself really grieve the loss of my breasts. Looking back, I wish I had. I wish I’d said goodbye.
Now when I tell newly diagnosed women that I’m a survivor, I’m very open about what reconstruction can do. I offer to let them look at my “new” breasts, and most take me up on it. Some women even get right in there and give 'em a squeeze. I’m happy to show them off if it will help someone understand and cope with their own loss. It’s not a big deal to me because my breasts have been gone for so long. These guys just make my clothes fit better.
My mom died of breast cancer when she was 51. This year I turned 52. When people ask me what advice I’d give now that I’m a 25 year survivor I just tell them this: You’re going to have good days and bad days, and that’s okay. You don’t have to be brave and courageous all of the time, but you do have to want to survive. And at some point, you learn what is truly important in life. It took some time, but eventually I discovered that my boobs did not make the list. Laughter, however, most definitely did. I am #1in8."