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My scar reminds me I’m still here

2 years after she was diagnosed with breast cancer, Kim Smith reveals how her surgery affected her body image and relationship.

I was diagnosed with breast cancer just after my 34th birthday. All I heard was ‘cancer’, ‘mastectomy’, ‘chemotherapy’ and my head went into a spin.

I was so shocked I needed a mastectomy. My first thought was: ‘What does that look like?’ I remember looking at all this information and thinking: ‘No, I don’t like it’. It all looked so scary.

Looking back now I know a lot of it was out of date or looked worse than it was. A week after my surgery when they took the dressings off and I saw the scar for the first time, I thought ‘Oh – that looks fine.’ It was nothing like what I thought it was going to look like.

Showing my husband

It was only when I got back from hospital that I thought about my husband seeing my scar. That part just hadn’t hit me before then. I wasn’t happy with him seeing me at first, I would turn away when I was getting dressed. But I knew I was going to have to get used to it.

My husband was brilliant, he never said anything negative. He always wanted to give me cuddles and kisses, which helped me still feel like myself. When my hair started falling out he helped me shave my head. He was joking that he was repaying the favour for all the times I’ve done his!

We talked about anything and everything and he’d always let me vent if I needed to. He was with me every step of the way.

A silver lining

Losing my hair was the worst part for me. But when my hair grew back I got a pixie cut and dyed it platinum silver. I’ve always had long hair, I would never have cut it short and now I love it. I wish I’d done it years ago! With every problem you’ve got to look at the positives and go with those.

My scar is now a constant reminder of the tough times and the good stuff.

Last year I shocked everyone I know by appearing topless in The Sun for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The only person who’d seen me without my clothes on was my husband so I was really nervous, but it was such a good thing for me to do.

It took a lot of trauma to get where I am but my scar reminds me that I’m still here for my husband and 3 children.

Understanding body image after breast cancer

Explore our resources to learn about changes in body image following breast cancer treatment. Gain insights and strategies to help you embrace and manage these changes confidently.

Your body after breast cancer treatment

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