Jaime Trabbold was a young mom with an infant son when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. This is her story of losing confidence and finding it again in the most unlikely of places.
LEARNING TO LOVE MYSELF FROM THE INSIDE OUT
Jaime Trabbold's Survivor Story
The days grew cold, and the night grew lonely in October of 2010. I was a new mom with a 19-month old son. I was 27. One day while taking a shower I noticed a lump on my breast. I was scared and nervous, but I went and had a mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy. I was told I was too young, and that it was highly unlikely I would have cancer.
On October 29 at 2:30 p.m., I found out I, indeed, had breast cancer.
I was diagnosed with stage IIB Invasive Ductal Carcinoma with lymph node involvement. For me, being YOUNG - as they say - I really was worried how going through this journey was going to make me feel. I mean my cancer was going to take away my breasts, which to be honest, made me feel like a women; it was going to take away my hair, ah, no biggie, it will grow back; it was going to take away my self-esteem, my feeling of security and my feeling of love for myself. Cancer was going to take a lot of things away from me, but I was hopeful it wasn’t going to take my life.
After my bilateral mastectomy with immediate reconstruction, it hit hard when I removed my bandages. My once-normal looking breasts were now bruised, lopsided and terrible. I looked like Barbie, except at this time Barbie looked more human than I did. I faced six months of chemo, 31 radiation treatments, and a daily dose of medication for the next 10 years, if not more. I will also have my ovaries removed next year.
I have to say I feel like everything I was given that made me a woman has been taken away. I am lucky to have been given a son, but having more children was taken off the table for me when I got sick. I cried. And then I cried for days, months and even years.
One of my daily struggles was finding a bra that was comfortable and not annoying or that wouldn’t cave in on the side that isn’t as perky. Normal department store bras didn’t fit. One side is up, one side is down, I can’t wear wires, I can’t wear push-ups, the stress of just trying to find a bra that fits was enough to make me go nuts. And, I’d cry again. When was I going to find something that made me feel sexy, I tried stores after stores and bras after bras until I finally said forget it, and I threw them all out. I gave up. I gave up on myself. I felt I would never feel sexy again. I felt I would never feel confident again and that I would never love myself as I was.
After all of my treatments and surgeries were over, this became my daily reality for a long time.
But, then I found my second husband.
I met him two years after I was diagnosed. When I had a feeling he was the one, all of those thoughts of self-doubt went through my mind again. I asked myself, how do I find it deep inside to really love me for who I am and learn that the scars are just the beginning of my story?
Well I did.
I have never felt more beautiful in my entire life than I do now (and that includes how I felt before I started this journey). My husband give me this look, and his eyes sparkle and he smiles. He doesn’t even say anything. But, I can just feel it. I can feel how he looks at me. It’s not in pity or disgust. It’s a look of love and lust. He taught me how to love myself from the inside. If I only could love myself from the outside as well as the inside, then this would be perfect.
That’s where AnaOno came in.
I can’t wait to get my hands on one of these beautiful, embracing bras, not only because I know they are meant for women like me, but because they are beautiful, as well. Having a bra that stands out from the others at a normal department store and one that’s specially made for women like me who have faced the damage done by breast cancer, makes me actually feel like part of the brand. I will be purchasing my first AnaOno Rachel, Alejandra or Kelly bra. It’s only a matter of time.
I just want to thank Dana and all of those involved for really touching the lives of women everywhere and finally bringing light to women who have had mastectomies, and helping them feel comfortable and confident in an amazing bra.
To all the women out there: you are strong, you are beautiful, you deserve to feel sexy. Thank you, Dana for giving me the final touch of feeling sexy and finally having the whole package. You rock!
Jaime is currently four-years' cancer-free and living in Maple Shade, NJ. She was diagnosed with stage IIB Invasive Ductal Carcinoma at 27.