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Nipple Free Since 33

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October 1, 2022
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I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2018 at the age of thirty-three. That was 4 years ago, and that diagnosis changed my entire life, mostly for the better. I am now what is considered a “survivor” even though I’m never sure what that means. We don’t survive colds or the flu, but we survive cancer. 

I have also been told by many people that they were glad I won my “fight,” as if I had died, I would have been worth less than the person next to me in that treatment center who hadn’t. 

We are all survivors and fighters. We fight daily as individuals for our place in this world. We survive injustices and we treat each day as if it's replaceable or unimportant. 

That’s where a cancer survivor differs from the average bear. We wake up and choose each day. We give back to our bodies and thank them for waking us up again. Cancer changed me drastically, but I still have not yet survived it. 

I know that last sentence is not what you expected to read when we are bringing awareness to breast cancer. I do believe it is the sentence you need to read.

Person wearing a black f*ck cancer hoodie

In my defense, I’m not quite yet out of the checkup phase and I’m still learning to love this new version of myself. I had attended more than a dozen breast cancer awareness walks before I was diagnosed. 

I was told often that I should do my self-exams and I left those events as a young woman in my teens and twenties and not once did I check myself at home. I thought I was too young. I turned out to be foolish. That grave mistake left me with a bilateral mastectomy before the age of 40. I will not tell you the grizzly details of all I had to go through, but instead I will tell you things it taught me. 

Cancer taught me to laugh loud and often. There isn’t any laughing in the treatment chair. It taught me to hug the people I love, and to take a picture with them every single time we see each other. I cherished those photos while in the hospital. It taught me to pursue my passions and to do it with patience. 

I know now that I’m probably not going to be rich and famous, but that it’s okay to just give in to the things that bring pure joy. I learned to give myself grace. 

This new body cancer gave me doesn’t quite do the things it once did. I can train it to do many other things that bring joy, it is just a much slower process. 

I wake up thankful. Pure unadulterated joy radiates from me because I am genuinely happy to be here. I embrace the bad with the good and try to take a lesson from every single day. I hope you do the same things long before surviving cancer ever makes you. I became a statistic, and apparently a survivor. I’m still here, and I’m genuinely happy just to be.

Maggie is supporting the American Cancer Society and you can, too! Donate to save lives and fund the future of breast cancer research, patient support, and advocacy through Making Strides Against Breast Cancer! Click here to donate

About the author: Maggie Hundshamer-Moshier is a freelance writer, breast cancer survivor, Veteran, and marketing manager who strives to make a positive impact on the world. She published a book entitled “When Daddy Comes Home” to help the children of veterans cope with PTSD. She gained notoriety on her Instagram @misadventures_of_maggie in 2018 for her raw portrayal of her cancer journey which led to her being the subject of a documentary filmed through National University. She has been featured in Welcome Home Blog and Glamour Online. She’s currently pursuing a degree in nursing with National University in hopes of helping others cope with the stresses associated with their diagnoses.
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