“Cancer helped me rediscover myself and paved the way for being a plus size model now”
No one is ever ready for the dreaded C! And when it finally hits you, you are left with only hope and faith. After all, Cancer is just not any cancer, it’s an ultimate threat to your life. It demands a staggering amount of strength to hold one’s feet strong to defeat this disease. When it hit me, I was only in my late twenties. Nothing has been easier and nothing will be easier, but one thing that stands true is my willpower. Although cancer did put me on a spot, it couldn’t crumble my power to fight back.
It all started on a normal day in 2004. I met with a horrible car accident that led to multiple body injuries. The injuries were enough to make me bedridden for the next several months. If that was not enough, life threw another curveball – the big C – Cancer. Doctors discovered active cancerous cells during blood tests as they started to treat the injuries I sustained from the accident. This blood report would lead me to a long, painful road ahead that I was not prepared for. I was diagnosed with Stage III breast cancer.
The Sudden Shock
The accident had left me with multiple fractures and in enough pain. Now with the sudden discovery, matters just got worse. My entire world had come to a standstill and I blacked out. Not only was I in enough pain, now there was a major risk to my life. It only pushed me to a dark zone mentally, as I remained unclear on the path forward.
There was not enough evidence to pull up and time was already running out. I wasn’t given a choice on the course of my treatment plan. I had to accept what the doctors asked me to. I had to undergo mastectomy in November 2004 and ended up losing most of my right breast tissues including my nipple. The treatment did not end here, I was also asked to continue the IV medication Tamoxifen for the next 5 years to lower the risk of cancer coming back.
Scars left behind
The treatment removed a major part of my right breast and it looked like a deeply scooped scar left behind. It was difficult to suddenly come across such a huge change in my body. As if things were not worse, I had to undergo a second set of surgeries. The oncologist conducted a Mammoplasty, a reconstructive surgery, however there were a lot of complications in the reconstructive surgery. Some of the tissues did not build up properly, and multiple hematomas led to a lot of swelling, pain, and excessive loss of blood.
A long, strange road
There was not enough time for me to recover from the second surgery. I quickly had to undergo Chemotherapy to save my life. This was probably the toughest period of my life. I had to undergo about 26 Chemo sessions and 11 radiation therapy sessions. By the fifth chemotherapy sessions, I had lost around 80 percent of my hair and my skin had already started to darken. By the 12th chemo sessions and 5th radiation session, I was completely bald, and my skin had dried-up and completely darkened. I had fragile and dry skin that not only had tremendous pain, but also couldn’t be touched as there were fragile skin breakouts. My nails started to drop off during the treatments. After 1-1/2 years of multiple treatments, there were multiple-organ complications. I lost all my hope and never thought that I could survive after such long chemo sessions. The situation was pretty grim.
After 4 long years of fighting hard and innumerable chemotherapy sessions, I started to have hair regrowth (finally!). I am not left with the same colour complexion and the thickness of my original hair that I used to have, but something is better than nothing. I persevered and made it through all of the surgeries, treatments and complications. It was emotionally taxing, but I learnt that I was stronger than I thought.
Self-love is the key
The biggest hindrance was to accept my new body. People don’t leave any stone unturned to make you feel like an alien. This actually put me under a lot of stress and it was equally tiring as I dealt with pain and complications. I decided to not pay any heed to this irresponsible attention and instead come to terms with my deformities.
My strength came from my family and friends, who remained by my side even when the world seemed to move away. I became stronger and was steadfast to fight this through and wanted to win this badly. Your willpower will shine through if you’re determined to overcome. I tried to remain calm and composed throughout the years and tried to fight the battle with enough positivity in place.
The biggest step in the journey was to accept myself in front of the mirror. Although the scars had a strong effect on me, I learnt how to love myself again. I was ready to embrace the NEW ME! It took me years at end, to regain my confidence.
It’s a brand new life
Now, I’m a Plus size model. I lost my inhibition and channeled my passion to be the model. My only goal is to create breast cancer awareness in the modeling industry, and look to inspire more women out there. All you gotta do is chin up, walk tall, and believe in your dreams.
To all my pink sisters out there, don’t let your scars define you. Your scars are only a reminder that you’ve survived the dreaded disease. So, you just can’t give up. Just buck up and get going!