October is over and all the pretty pink is put away and we are left with the scars and the not so pretty memories of cancer. My name is Danielle I have one tit and lots of scars. July 7, 2016, I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer.  

July 19 I had my right breast removed. I smiled reframed and thought positive. Ok, let’s really cut the tit I cried had anxiety and wasn’t sure if I would like myself during this time. Even with all the support, I had to face this disease alone. It’s easy to accept yourself when you fit a standard. Remove your hair or your breast and all that you think about is being feminine.  Would you accept you?

I cried as I was led into surgery. I wondered if I would still be sexy and desired. There was no turning back my tit was gone and soon my hair, lashes, and eyebrows would follow. I had to make a decision.  Would I be dope and not down or would I hide from the world until all this was over? I choose to be dope.

I took pictures. I dressed up I rocked my bald head and a wig. I drew on eyebrows and I wore my prosthetic tit when I felt like it. I still wore two-piece bathing suits. I would lay naked. I had sex. I showed people my scars. I controlled what I could control. “Be dope not down” was a great reminder to push through my pain and emotional stuff. I used it to encourage myself.  

I shifted moods often, thinking I’m blessed to be able to fight cancer and the side effects of treatment. I’m fortunate to be able to choose if I want a new tit or not. However, I was drowning in positivity.

One day I was overwhelmed with being positive, loving myself and having anxiety about reconstruction. I broke down crying and learned to embrace it all. How did I do this? Acceptance. Being able to accept how I felt at any moment. Accepting that cancer changed my body. I was bald, had one tit and that it didn’t take anything away from me.

I was still feminine and desired. Being positive about everything helped me fight.  But accepting the fear anxiety and sadness without dismissing it helped me endure the journey.

Photography by Aaron Turner

Bio

Danielle Whidby was born and raised in Baltimore Maryland. She is a mother of one, a former counselor, and a breast cancer survivor. Danielle attended Baltimore Polytechnic Institute and Shepherd University.  She is also the co-author of the book Mommy Lost Her Boob.

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