“I knew before I had the testing done, that if I was positive I would be immediately having the surgeries to remove my odds. The decision itself wasn’t nearly as difficult as the emotional and physical turmoil that followed during the reconstruction phase. I had lost my mom and aunt to ovarian and breast cancer, and I knew I needed to spare my family the same pain. My husband and I knew we were done having children, but that didn’t make the decision any easier. I spent so much of this time privately trying to cope, because it shook me to the core - how I felt about myself as a woman.
After years of multiple surgeries and physical therapy, I am finally comfortable talking about what I went through. It can be difficult for women to remove the parts of them that make them feel feminine. It’s an emotional experience, and although the motivation behind it is survival - there is still an element of acceptance that needs to happen, and that can be a messy process.
I struggled with my body, and I felt it had let me down. It took me a long time to feel feminine and beautiful again. This was just as much a mental issue for me, as it was a physical one. It was a complicated process for me, and I suffered multiple medical complications. During this time my marriage also began to crumble. This was when I learnt the importance of finding my centre of strength, setting boundaries, and devoting time to myself. I had no idea the path I was about to be forced down, and I needed to build my strength in the cocoon because I was about to walk the most painful path of my life. In the middle of my reconstructive surgeries, I became a widow with two children.
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