04/17/2019 By Ashley Blum
After no longer nursing my child, still producing milk and thinking I had a clogged milk duct, I was diagnosed with a rare cancer, primary angiosarcoma, in my left breast. This felt like a loss of power and control in my own journey. I was not going to let a disease take my power away.
Since being diagnosed in February of 2018, I have spent beautiful energy on not only finding the new me but also raising awareness by sharing love through my stages of strength, fear, healing, and grief.
I didn’t have breast cancer, I had an extremely rare cancer that was located in my breast. This set me aside from others that have had a mastectomy. Finding support from people with lived experience has been challenging; I have yet to find someone that has experienced the type and location of the disease I had.
I chose the route of a double mastectomy without reconstruction. Many surgeons do not speak of opting out of reconstruction. Several people have asked me, “There is no judgment, but why did you not get reconstruction? Don’t you want shape? Take this as a free reduction and get some beautiful ones built?”. Actually, I don’t prefer breasts. One of mine had disease, and I don’t need some built. I don’t need shape. I need to be alive and be ME. I have the power to choose what I do in my treatment. I get to choose what I do because it’s my body and my choice.
Through all of this, I have gained so much power. I have desired to be my strongest self more than ever. I have allowed myself to open my heart and mind to all people without fear of judgment. Before my diagnosis, I would have been reluctant to be this open.
Experiencing a disease that is incredibly rare and choosing the far less conventional path to avoid reconstruction, puts me in a space where sharing my personal story creates so much awareness, support, and love. We all live on Mother Earth. We all deserve to have power over our bodies, our choices, and our lives. Love your body. Love yourself. Be aware, feel the power, and bring light and love with it.
Also, flat is fabulous.
As of today, I’m still disease free. As of today, I’m thriving and being my best ME.
GRYT is when my husband and child help my heart smile every day.
GRYT is having a loving warrior crew by my side.
GRYT is when a group of powerful friends hold a healing ceremony for me.
GRYT is the strength to choose a double mastectomy without reconstruction and thrive with comfort and beauty.
GRYT is running a half marathon 7 weeks post-mastectomy.
GRYT is training for a full marathon.
GRYT is being at peace with screaming in fear to release emotions.
GRYT is loving my body always.
GRYT is honoring and voicing the truth of scanxiety.