My name is Danielle. I’m 29 years old. I was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was 26. It was very hard to deal with. The past couple of years have been absolute hell. I was actually diagnosed three weeks before my sister was about to get married, and my sister was getting married in Fiji. The doctor said, “Off you go. It’s going to be good for you, because when you come back, chemo starts.”
In walked in a surgeon, and he said, “We don’t know what’s going on, but we’re going take your appendix out.” Great. And out they came. And then, in walked my Oncologist a couple of days later. He said, “You’ve got to have chemo next week because if you stop it, it doesn’t work.” It was just one thing after the other. And, finally, chemo finished. I had radiation. And then, I started my journey in trying to find a Plastic Surgeon. Because I was up for a unilateral mastectomy, and a full breast reconstruction.
I looked in the mirror. I was 27 years old and had one breast. As I got dressed every morning and I put on a bra with a prosthesis, I became anxious. I didn’t want to go for a swim. It was almost like I needed to reconnect with my identity. But I couldn’t do that because of my physical appearance. I had two operations. My muscle in my back was used to reconnect blood flow to my breast and then I had tissue expanders put in. And I had an implant exchange.
I am engaged to a magnificent man called Jack, and he has stood by me throughout the past couple of years. When I had chemo, that’s what would get me through. Picturing what my dress would be like. So, this year is when I’ve kind of started trying dresses on. And I’ve found it. I’ve got a couple of scars on my back where I’ve had surgeries and stuff, and it’s got a low back. And, you know, be proud. They tell a story.