My Scars Do Not Define ME

My Scars Do Not Define ME


 My scar does not define me, but it is what molded me into who I am today. Here is my story.

When I was 15 I started to notice a lump in my left breast. At first I didn’t think it was anything serious;
but after a month when it didn’t go away, I told my mom. We went to the doctors, and they examined
me and told me it was nothing serious. They told me that the lump came from eating chocolate and
drinking caffeine. The crazy part is I don’t drink caffeine products, and I am sure that I didn’t eat enough
chocolate to cause this issue, so we said “okay” and left it alone. The lump got bigger as the months
went by, but when I went back to the doctors again they said not to worry.

It wasn’t until I was 16 when I went to my yearly checkup and saw a different doctor and
explained my situation. Right away she wanted to get a closer look and sent me to get an ultrasound. My
mom and I went to the local breast clinic where it was surprisingly a very comfortable atmosphere even
though at 16 I didn’t feel like I fit in with the majority of the older ladies there. The ultrasound showed I
had a tumor. The first thing that came to my mind was “Why did my doctor not send me here a year
ago?” So the clinic referred me to a breast surgeon, and we decided to have the tumor removed. When
the surgery date came I was more nervous for my mom than myself. I just figured this is no big deal and
everything will work out. Soon the surgery was over and everything went great. The tumor was
removed and was found not to be cancerous but a very rare tumor.

Six months later the tumor returned. This time it was much bigger and it was growing in my
nipple. It was painful to even wear a bra. Because I am very private person, I hid my pain. I went to the
breast surgeon again to see what options I had. As I, again, sat in the waiting room among all these older
women, I couldn’t help but think, “Why am I here?” and “Why do I have to go through this at such a
young age?” But I never spoke of these questions out loud, and no one knew how I was feeling because
like the physical pain, I hid my emotional pain as well. After speaking with the doctor and setting up
another surgery, I found myself more nervous the second time around. However, surgery went well and
the tumor was removed again—no cancer.

So, I am happy thinking this part of my life is over. Little did I know, that this was just the
beginning. The tumor returned in less than a year. At this point I am frustrated and not sure what to
think. Another surgery is scheduled. This time my doctor is saying we need to remove my areole (nipple)
and some breast tissue to prevent the tumor from coming back. I remember after my appointment my
mom asked me, “Are you okay?” and I replied, “Yes.” I really wasn’t, but I didn’t want her to worry at all. I
got home and I cried in my room until I fell asleep. I thought, I’m only in my senior year in high school. I
should be getting prepared and excited for the start of my life after graduation, but all I could think about
was how this surgery is about to change my life and how it is not for the better. Before this next surgery I
was so nervous. Fortunately, the surgery came and went as well as the previous ones; but this time it
affected me drastically. Something was/felt different. I remember my mom telling me that I cried after I
came out of surgery, but I didn’t remember. I really tried to hide my feelings from her and everyone.

After this third surgery I felt like my womanhood was stripped before I even got a chance to
enjoy it. I was very self-conscious. It felt like everyone was looking at me and could tell that I was
different or abnormal. I hated my body and had very low self-esteem, and I still struggle with it. I am a
very private and prideful person so I come off confident, but it’s only my way covering up what I am
going through inside. Almost a year after my surgery, while in college trying to be a regular person when
another torrential storm hit. I was raped and my womanhood was stripped from me once again. I started
to drink alcohol to avoid thinking about what had happened to me. It got to the point where I had to
take a semester off and go through therapy. Therapy taught/allowed me to confront my situation and
stop running from it. Also, not to blame myself for what happened and try to use it as a learning
experience. But it wasn’t until 10 years later when I went to church one Sunday and heard the Pastor say,
“Living in the past won’t help you with your present unless you use it as motivation for your future.” So I
decided to do a “healing” photo shoot called, “I AM NOT MY SCAR” as a way of embracing my body/self
as it is and using it as motivation for overcoming the hate I once had for my body because of my scar and
of how my body was taken advantage of.

On March 12, 2017, I chose not to let what happened to me to break me but to embrace it. I
chose to stand and face my biggest fears, obstacles and challenges. There were emotional pains and
feelings of not fitting in, shame, anger, and humiliation. Now instead of hiding these parts of myself, I
choose to share what I’ve learned with others. I want them to know it doesn’t matter what we go
through in life but how we choose to get through it that truly matters. I believe that through our darkest
and torn down moments we gain our true strength.

“Now, failure is no longer an option”.

Pam Breedlove – I am mother of 3 year old Amir. I have a passion for working out and inspiring others in life.