Cathy's Story

11/1/2013 11:24:00 AM

Thank you Cathy for sharing your story.

“My name is Cathy and I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in 2007. I was 34 years old. It was devastating for me as I had been living in fear of this disease since I lost a friend to cancer at the age of 18.

In December, of 2007 I had a mastectomy removing my right breast. At first I thought I would not need or want a prosthetic. I would wear my battle scars with pride. And truthfully I did so for a very long time. I wanted the world to know that I had been to war and survived. But as time passed I realized that I had changed as a person. I would never again be the woman I was before cancer. I had survived radiation, which after chemotherapy seemed like a walk in the park. I realized that my "battle scars” ran deeper than my appearance.

During my fight with cancer I did my best to continue to be there for my children. The moment I felt better after a session of chemo I was right back to being “mom” and trying to regain some normalcy for my children. I made the decision to wear a prosthetic for them. I realized that they did not need a constant reminder of all the fears and anxieties that come along with living within cancer.

At first I thought that by wearing a prosthetic it would somehow take away from what I had been through. It may sound like an absurd thought process, but I am sure there are many out there who can relate. I purchased my first prosthetic in July of 2008. It was difficult for me at the time due to the expense. I was not working and barely able to support my family but I decided that despite the cost my family and I needed this to continue our healing process.

After four years my prosthetic began to open up at the seam. I knew that I could not afford a replacement even though it is recommended that it be replaced every two years. So I began to patch it up using medical tape. This worked for a while but it was a temporary solution at best. I only wore it when absolutely necessary to try and prolong its life.

As a single parent I could not justify the expense of a new prosthetic. Not when there was always something that the kids needed to wanted. I would make due and sacrifice so that the kids would not.

A good friend of mine forwarded an email about After Breast Cancer and suggested that I contact them. She told me that it was an organization that helped women who were in similar situations as I was in. I had to admit at first I did nothing. Letting my pride get in the way. One day I decided that I would give them a call to get some information and see what the organization was all about. To my surprise I met with someone from ABC and was measured and fitted for both a prosthetic and a bra that very afternoon. Within three hours of my placing that first phone call I had a new prosthetic that was the right size, I had a proper fitting bra and most importantly I felt good about my appearance again. Something I hadn’t felt in a very long time.

My experience with ABC was wonderful. Not only because they were able to provide me with the material things. But mostly it made me realize that it is okay to accept help when needed. It does not take away from my journey or my fight. In fact it takes a strong person to admit that they need help.

Thank you ABC. Your dedication to helping others is truly making a difference.“


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