We really mean it when we say that you ladies inspire us every single day. When you tell us about designs you'd like or share pieces of your stories with us, we listen. It’s because of you telling us about your issues with finding ideal underwear, swimwear, whatever it is, that we came to create so many of our designs. So whenever we get the chance, we love to shine a spotlight on some people in the AO Community who inspire us. We'd now like to make an introduction.
Our friend, inspiration, and AnaOno Muse: Alicia Morrison-Fagbemi.
"I was diagnosed at 42. One year after the birth of my third daughter. I had DCIS overlapping layers in both breasts. My surgeon said that we did not have a lot of options since the amount of DCIS was close to my lymph. I wanted the cancer gone so taking both my breasts was an easy decision."
"My final diagnosis was progesterone and estrogen with evasive HER+. Although I did not need chemo because I did not stage, I did, however, receive radiation. Radiation therapy was the darkest time of the process."
"I cried when I tried on the Cortez. Grabbed Dana and thanked her for making me beautiful again. Giving me a home and giving the water back to my life."
We know it's difficult to come to terms with the fact that your body has to and will change after diagnosis and treatment. Alicia had to face this after her double mastectomy but came out accepting these differences, feeling "strong, powerful, and whole ― flat."
Having a bra was one thing, but discovering she could make her return to the water was a welcome surprise to say the least. Alicia was thrilled to find the ocean again and feel like herself. She always saw the water as being therapeutic. It was a low impact form of exercise that also helped to ease the burns of radiation therapy. At the same time, swimming provided her with some much needed comfort and peace of mind. The water was her “sanctum” and was a calming, easy way to let her mind relax and float away.
"I swim because I always found a sanctum in the water. The tides always bring you back, always. Swimming helps my range of motion with low impact on my body. Plus there is nothing like being below the water - freedom."
Cancer doesn’t have to take everything from you. You can still enjoy yourself and hold on to the things you love. We’re just glad to play even a small part in that joy.
"The water has healed me tremendously through this journey and AnaOno has helped me get back to "me." With no boobs I am still whole."
YOU CAN KEEP UP TO DATE WITH ALICIA'S SUMMER ADVENTURES @TIDEMARK862 on Instagram
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There’s no denying that mastectomy tattoos can be both beautiful, inspired and badass. For many women affected by breast cancer, it’s the last step in their mastectomy and breast reconstruction journey, and a symbolic ritual that empowers them to move into the next chapter of their lives. By adorning their bodies in a personal design after their breast cancer diagnosis and surgeries, they are taking back their power and starting over. These post-mastectomy tattoos serve as a form of self-expression that helps restore confidence that may have been lost throughout their mastectomy and/or reconstructive process. What’s most important, is that you do what makes you feel most confident and comfortable in your skin, and that builds your confidence and love for your body after breast surgery and mastectomy.
The road to self-love and compassion for both your physical body and inner self after a breast cancer diagnosis or dealing with chronic pain can feel impossible to reach. We know, because we’ve been there. So have so many other countless women, breast cancer patients, survivors, thrivers and previvors in the AnaOno community. We talked to a few women who are not only on the road to self-acceptance after breast cancer, but setting their sights on the ultimate: self-celebration and true self-love after mastectomy surgery.