I am a Survivor by Bikini Babe, Rachel.
I’m the woman with the killer boobs! That was me, and is me.
Rewind 3 years to 2018 and I was living my best life…The perfect marriage, 2 wonderful sons a beautiful home and a lust for life. For a 47 year old woman I was in my prime, full of confidence with a curvy figure I loved, feeling I could conquer the world. Sadly that world was about to come crashing down around me.
In October 2018 I found a small pea sized lump in my right breast. Having spent much time around friends and family who had fought, some winning and some losing the battle with breast cancer, I knew the importance of getting this investigated. So off I went for a biopsy in the hope that it really was nothing to worry about. 2 weeks later I had the life changing news that it was in fact breast cancer, and it was actually triple negative breast cancer which affects about only 15% of cases and can be a much more aggressive form of the disease. Fortunately for me it had been detected early, which gave me a much stronger chance of treating it.
So these killer boobs that I mentioned had now really manifested  themselves into something that could potentially kill me…Herein began the rollercoaster journey of fight or flight.
I underwent surgery to remove all breast tissue in the right breast, leaving me with a flap of skin and luckily my nipple intact. Following this procedure I had an implant inserted into the pocket and the killer boob was reconstructed.
For me this was the easy part, what followed would be the toughest journey I’d ever had to endure, 5 long months of chemotherapy which stripped me of myself both physically and mentally.
I no longer recognized myself, and I certainly didn’t like myself .What looked back at me from the mirror was a stranger  who was ugly, bloated and bald! There was no way on earth I was going to have the confidence to get back out there, face the world and do the things I’d done previously, and as for wearing a bikini like I used to, well you can forget it !!
The journey was long, dark and lonely, but slowly I began to move forward, making my own little victories along the way. As my hair started to sprout back and I regained energy I was able to start exercising again and rebuild my fitness levels.
I hit the big 50 in September last year and thought to myself as I looked back into that mirror I’m a new version of the old me, wiser, menopausal, sporting a few battle scars along with a new hairdo, but ultimately grateful to have been given a second chance at life. The positivity was returning and I could finally see a light at the end of the long dark tunnel.
That light came in the form of a post I saw  from Curvy Kate inviting five ladies to join them for a bikini body confidence shoot. In times gone by I’d been a great advocate  of promoting body confidence for real women, and realized I should now put my words into action…If I could  do it at my age following the journey I’d been on over the last few years, surely this would be  the perfect opportunity to inspire other women? I needed to find the mojo that had been lost along the way!
I am a Survivor by Bikini Babe, Rachel.
I mustered up the courage to submit a short paragraph about myself  and my reasons for wanting to be part of this fabulous campaign and pressed the send button!! “oh no I’ve done it now ,it’s too late!” I then thought It’ll be ok I’ll never be choosen. Guess what… to my disbelief I was one of the lucky five …OMG how did that happen?!
Well let me tell you, it’s one of the best things that could have happened to me. I put myself out of my comfort zone but in doing so I was given the opportunity  of meeting the most inspiring group of women, who shared their fears and buoyed up each and everyone in the group making this the most memorable amazing day. The team were incredible and have truly instilled a confidence above and beyond my expectations.
I am a Survivor by Bikini Babe, Rachel.
To wear the beautiful Curvy Kate swimwear and experience the joy was empowering and liberating. It made me feel proud not only of myself but of my other 4 bikini babes, and of how far we have come on our differing yet similar journey.
Reflecting on this experience a song popped into my head and the lyrics sum up perfectly how I feel :
I look into the window of my mind
Reflections of the fears I know I’ve left behind
I step out of the ordinary
I can feel my soul ascending
I’m on my way
Can’t stop me now
And you can do the same
What have you done today
To make you feel proud?
Thank you Curvy Kate…. What a difference you’ve made! 
I am a Survivor by Bikini Babe, Rachel.
WOW - what an inspiring blog, thank you Rachel.
Worcestershire Breast Unit Haven helped Rachel a great deal through her journey, you can donate to this amazing unit here
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