The essence of who you are

Gosh it seems ages since I’ve written about having cancer.  Life has been busy, which is amazing but I’ll do my best to get back to where I was.

After my second mastectomy life was good, although we were doing up a house and I was surrounded by workmen – not the best thing in the world! I began to feel much better about myself being completely flat. I felt like I looked better.  I decided then and there not to bother to wear any protheses, this was who I was now, and I was grateful to still be on the planet.  I have had to think about the clothes I wear – nothing low cut, nothing that’s too loose at the sides.  Swimming suits have been interesting!  So much so that I’ve seriously considered designing my own range.

For some reason the vast majority of mastectomy swimming suits are for prothesis, which I guess I can understand, but I know I’m not the only one who is happy to be flat!  The real issue hit me when we wanted to go on holiday and I had to look at bikinis and tankinis for teens!  Suddenly I felt like I wasn’t being allowed to be a woman, it really bothered me, especially as I didn’t feel like that in my everyday clothes.

But for goodness sake Gemma, there’s more to life than a sexy bikini right!!

Everyday is a new day, a fresh start, but some days can be more difficult than others.  I like to think of myself as a very positive person, staring cancer down and doing my best to just get on with it.  However, I’d be lying if I told you I have never faced any dark moments.

I remember when I went to see my breast cancer nurses after they told me they had discovered a little bit of cancer in my left breast.  At that moment I felt like this bloody horrible disease was going to get me, no matter how hard I fought it.  I burst into tears in front of 3 people and couldn’t stop saying I didn’t want to leave my kids without a mum.  I couldn’t bear the thought of them being upset, or having to do things that I should be doing for them.  The nurses were amazing, let me cry, and gently explained that the mastectomy was a belt and braces approach and I would be ok.

So now I am more than mostly ok.  I do have my moments, mostly when I have pains somewhere, which can lead me to think of the worst case scenario.  I have had a few issues – one being lumps on my thyroid that were found when I had an ultrasound for some lumps I’d found in my neck.  It was a bit of a blow, and I had to wait a while to see a specialist to determine whether or not the lumps were cancerous.  The waiting is the worst bit!  Anyway, a few weeks, a specialist and a scan later, all was well with the world once again.

So I am happily getting on with my life….. mostly!  I still have dark moments but I absolutely keep them to a minimum.  I’ve worked hard on finding positive things to come out of the situation, I am lucky enough to have started my business which is now my main focus.  Having breast cancer has driven my decisions and in lots of ways has had a positive impact on my life.

I’ve done several mastectomy photoshoots in order to help other women see that you can be just as beautiful without breasts.  I was lucky enough to do one for the Mail on Sunday You Magazine supplement. I met the most amazing bunch of women, all of whom were models, ranging in size from 8 – 24.  We spent the day in underwear and swimming suits. Everyone was absolutely lovely to me, amazingly friendly and they made me feel so comfortable.  I was pampered beyond belief and made to feel like one of the gang.

I was no different to everyone else.

Cancer may have taken my breasts but it will never take the essence of who I am.

With all my love,


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