BY: TRACY MILGRAM
Happy 4 year #boobversary to me. At this moment 4 years ago I took preventative action against breast cancer by having a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy and hysterectomy. This day is just as important as my birthday. December 16th wasn’t just the day I had a mastectomy it was the day I beat cancer (No matter that I didn’t have it). With being a BRCA 2 gene carrier my risks for breast cancer is 40-70% and for ovarian cancer 11-18%, why wouldn’t I be proactive with this data and ancestors are Ashkenazi Jewish Heritage.
Today, I celebrate my body and its capacity for wonderful strength. As I woke up this morning and stretched with my body cracks and creeks and remembered how restricted I have felt after surgeries, not able to move, afraid to move, sore bruised and afraid of my own body. So today I woke up and went to the gym after being out for 9 months.
I found the light at the end of the tunnel since living my #UnBRCAblePrevivorLife. When going through this journey I could not have imagined 6 breast surgeries later (2 in 2019), facing depression, weight gain and loosing who I AM.
How do I know I am feeling depressed? Depression is not easy, as many of us fight it daily. Depression can cause long lasting and severe feelings of sadness, being alone, hopelessness and loss of interest in activities. All of these feelings is how I felt daily for many months before I realized I was in a state of depression. This can disrupt our daily life, careers, relationships, self-care and housework.
What I have learned is self-esteem is often absent. People with depression feel like they are worthless or a failure at everything. I have dwelled on negative events and experiences and I have been unable to see my positive qualities in myself.
I believe many people mistakenly believe that being depressed is a choice or they need to change their attitude. Some family and friends get frustrated or don’t understand why we can’t snap out of it. Some may even say there is nothing to be depressed at!
When depression came about for me I realized I have lost my breast and nipples (a feminine feeling), weight gain, hormonal changes, have BRCA 2 positive, single mom, lost my dad and 2 of my favorite people in my life, had a tough childhood (parents divorced at a young age, moved to a new state at 13 yrs. old).
I would say to myself how does one learn how to accept what it done and move forward and find a balance. For me the first step was accepting I am no less feminine because “my breasts don’t define me.” I completed that step and 4 years later I have embraced my scars with beauty and love my foobs. Hormonal changes as many of us know are not easy. Going into surgical menopause was hard at the age of 32 years old, I mean who wants to be having hot flashes and I mean hot flashes while in a business meeting or on a date! Not easy when starting to date after a divorce and a mastectomy.
Believe it or not I have made lots of positive memories: by educating other women to KNOW THERE OPTIONS and hearing their stories it has help me do some real good SOUL searching and figured out my journey and purpose in life.
I have overcome many obstacles that have held me back for so long this has been a great accomplishment for me and other women fighting this war. I am truly honor to say that I and many others can change women’s lives by making a difference just by making a difference within ourselves. Change is great but only if it’s for the better to better us as a whole. Peace by peace the puzzle comes together to create a beautiful master peace I am that master peace. Love thy selves and others and conquer what is made to be yours, give life a new meaning within your true self and remember you’re not alone.