Written by Christiena Healey
I want to take you on a journey – my journey of self-discovery and healing. I am a Registered Practical Nurse and this journey would lead me to fight the system I respected and loved but let me down and failed me.
In 2014, I was in a car accident that left my body broken and in a state of distress – just what cancer loves to feed upon. Deep down I knew there was more going on with my body than the tests and scans were showing. Like any good nurse, I requested my medical file and went through it like I would for one of my patients. I refused to give up.
In 2016, my body had become incredibly inflamed. I felt like a 90 year old riddled with arthritis. Everything hurt. Despite my complaints and concerns, I still couldn’t get any support from the medical community. Refusing to continue to live this way, I used my education and training and decided to fix myself – my way. One of the best things that happened was finding and working with a personal trainer to help me rebuild my body.
Two years later, I discovered a lump in my breast. I was devastated but not surprised. I had been confident that the inflammation I was experiencing was my body’s way of telling me something was VERY wrong – like CANCER wrong, and unfortunately, I was right. After testing, it was discovered that I had Stage 2 Breast Cancer that had spread to my nodes. I also tested positive for BRCA and with that result comes great concern for my family and for generations to come.
I have since had a double mastectomy, 6 months of difficult chemo and just finished 3 months of daily radiation treatments. Since this started, I started a charity called the PINK DRESS SOCIETY to raise money for local hospitals and patients. My hope through the charity is to empower women while on their journey.
This has been my hardest battle in my life and the fear I have experienced has been crippling. I didn’t know how much time I would have and it became extremely important to me that I show who I really am by being true to myself and just be me. Genuinely me. Truly knowing the skin I live in makes me feel gorgeous. This isn’t based on appearance but what I believe in my core. I knew losing my breasts wasn’t going to set me back. My scars remind me of the fight I have in me and my journey to survive. Who I am as a mother, sister, wife and friend holds beauty in itself.