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‘You know this isn’t a bad boob job, right?’ In my bikini top, women erupted in laughter at my cancer scars.’: Woman beats breast cancer, new symptoms dismissed as ‘overreacting’ turn out to be colon cancer

“I felt so embarrassed. I wanted to tell them how torn I was making the decision to remove my breasts in my 20s. How I couldn’t stand sitting in the waiting room with crying women in gowns. How I couldn’t even had sex with my husband because I was so afraid he’d think I was disgusting. As we were leaving, my father-in-law told them they should mind their own business. Not one of them said anything.”

‘Are you pregnant? On drugs?!’ I abandoned my customer service post and collapsed into a chair. The edges of my vision darkened. I felt like I was drowning on dry land.’

“My high-school sweetheart cheated on me, then dumped me. My friends couldn’t cope with my ‘new normal’ and turned away. I didn’t want to be different. My body was thin, my face swollen. I looked like an alien. Minutes later, he pointed to a black hole of goo where my lungs should’ve been. I frantically tried to make it to the break room but blacked out.”

‘I was asked if I had any questions. All I could manage to mumble was, ‘Will I lose my hair?’ I was 16. I was in high school. I was a girl. I couldn’t be bald. I just couldn’t.’

“Three words. That’s all it took. Three simple words. Everything was happening too fast. I just sat there, staring at the wall, trying not cry. When homecoming came, I had this beautiful red dress. I put on heels, makeup. Then I looked in the mirror and crumbled to the ground. What was I thinking? I looked ridiculous. I looked sick.”

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