‘It was massive, like carrying a lemon inside my boob. ‘Not me,’ I said. ‘No way, I have no family history of it.’ Now I was faced with another alarming decision. Boobs or no boobs?’

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“On 2018, I woke up with dread in my veins. It was the day I had a lump appear in my right breast – it changed me forever. It was massive, like carrying around a lemon inside my boob. ‘Not me,’ I said. ‘No way, I have no family history of it.’ It was very painful. I couldn’t bear it anymore. I went in March of 2018 to hear what no one wants to hear. You have cancer.

Courtesy of Rebecca Fritz

The words choked me – I couldn’t even breath, frozen looking at the screen before the biopsy. ‘Fake news,’ I thought. Like a computer glitch –  your mind races through every horror scene imaginable when you hear the word cancer. It quickly plants dread and death into the mind. Immediately, I felt compelled to find a cure. ‘Iʼll fix myself, I donʼt put much stock in the medical field’ – never really did. 

By the time I had arrived at my first office visit with the oncologist,  the lump had shrunk to the size of a golf ball. From the fast-paced, rush in and out appointments, hurried tests, speeding off to the radiologist, oncologist, surgical oncologist, the biopsy, bone scans, body scans, blood work, nuclear test – I felt like a human pin cushion. I was ensured by the medical team there would be no radiation. Maybe chemo – but only a small amount. Each visit was always different as they learned more and more. I had papillary and invasive ductal carcinoma in my right side – by then the cancer was on stage 3.  By then I had no breast tissue left – they both had to go.

Courtesy of Rebecca Fritz

Now I was faced with yet another alarming decision. Boobs or no boobs?  I asked myself, ‘Am I a lesser me with or without breasts?’ After arduous internet research, I came to a decision. ‘No breast it is. Flat!’ So I had to learn about being flat, really darn fast.  I accepted it stunningly quickly. ‘I’ll be able to wear cool low-front shirts,’ I thought to myself.  Or, ‘I can be my old self – a graphic model.’ 

Now, one would think flat means flat. However, in this field flat may mean many things. For me it meant four replacement boobs – you read that right. I have four. Two three inch boobs, smack dab in the middle of my chest. ‘So much for the low cut front shirts,’ I scowled to myself. The area in my armpits are now referred to as my pit tits. They are both B-cups. Now I can’t wear anything sleeveless. I had up to four more surgeries, AKA revisions. 

I had a procedure called ‘de-tubing’ with wretched drain tubes. One became stuck to my skin – an unpleasant sound and feeling as a doctor climbs a knee up to yank your chest wall apart from the tube that was being healed onto your flesh. I asked the doctor, ‘What happened to flat?’ He replied, ‘I thought you might change your mind.’ As I sat there blinking in awe, I thought to myself, ‘This guy is nuts, I can’t even speak. Why would anyone go through this for the result of disfigurement? Why?’ He said, ‘I’ll fix the sides, but I won’t fix the middle.’ I was stunned, thinking to myself, ‘You’ll fix the side but not the crap in the middle? What am I supposed to do with that?’

Courtesy of Rebecca Fritz

Now here we are in March of 2019. My four breasties are well-acquainted. I have plenty of breast tissue. I haven’t put my arms down now in nearly a year! I rarely go out as much to participate in any activities. My self-confidence is shot. I feel like I can’t lift over 10 lbs for the rest of my life. However, I say this with great pride, I have not partaken in one single medication, no radiation treatment, no chemotherapy, no herbal supplements, maintained a good diet, continued to pray and meditate for self-love. I am now where I am today living with cancer. I am stable, educated, and sound. Cancer has an effect on everyone – your family, your career. I wish I had been taught better lessons of love. ‘Do for others as you would want to be done for you.’

I continue to educate and inform women of what being flat is, what it looks like, and how to stand up and be your own advocate for cancer. I had learned the lessons from having cancer – ‘You should be glad you’re alive,’ however, that is all relative to what quality of life I had before, to now. I have the same chances of living life at 69 as being hit by a bus, but it’s all circumstantial. Four months ago, after my double mastectomy, I got hit by a car and ended up with a brain injury. This resulted to not being who I used to be. This incident has created a mindset that is deeper, although not lacking in egoistic tears – my world is smaller, compact, and manageable.”

Courtesy of Rebecca Fritz

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Rebecca Fitz. Follow her on Instagram here.  A version of her story was written by Catherine Guthrie of the Cosmopolitan, here.  Submit your own story here, and subscribe to our best stories in our free newsletter here.

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