A breast cancer patient has proudly posed topless to show off her double mastectomy scars in hopes of inspiring other women to embrace their postoperative body.
Kelly Garrison, a 46-year-old mother of two from Florida, was shocked when she was diagnosed with the disease last year – and she says she would love to lose her breasts if it gave her a chance to live.
“I’d rather lose my breast if I know it gives me an extra day to live,” said the former Starbucks manager.
Proud: breast cancer patient Kelly Garrison posed topless to show off her double mastectomy scars hoping to inspire other women to embrace their postoperative body
Fight: The 46-year-old mother of two from Florida was diagnosed with an aggressive form of the disease in August 2019 and underwent her mastectomy at the height of the pandemic
Battle: Kelly is currently going through a second round of chemotherapy
She was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer in August 2019 – the most aggressive and rapidly spreading breast cancer.
Kelly underwent a double mastectomy, surgery to remove both breasts surgically, in a Florida hospital for the coronavirus pandemic and is now on another chemotherapy regimen.
She shared photos of her scars on social media to help her love her new body after the treatment made her feel like she had lost her femininity.
“With the chemo I did, I lost my hair, my nails turned black, I gained weight and I had sores in my nose,” she said.
“I took it in my stride and when my hair started to fall out – my fiancé shaved my head for me.
“I wanted to share the photos because of the uncertainties women face.
“You lose part of your sexuality and femininity when this happens.
Support: The former Starbucks manager chose to shave her head when her hair started falling out – and had the help of her fiancé Willie Miranda, 51
Symptoms: Kelly not only lost her hair, but also gained weight due to chemo. She also had black nails and sores in her nose, which all damaged her confidence
Celebration: Kelly, pictured in the hospital after treatment, says she wants to show other breast cancer patients and survivors to take pride in their bodies
“Your body turns into something you no longer recognize in the mirror.
“In the end, I realized that this is the new me and I had to learn to love the new person I am now.”
Kelly, mother of Robert, 24, and Allison, 22, said the pandemic made her treatment more difficult because chemotherapy left her immune system dangerously weak and susceptible to the deadly virus.
She even had to stop seeing her children for fear of infection.
But she still managed to make socially distant dates with her fiancée Willie Miranda, 51, a school custodian.
Willie even surprised Kelly on Christmas Day 2019, four months after her diagnosis, with a romantic proposal.
“Now that COVID is underway, I hardly go anywhere,” she said.
Inspiration: ‘I wanted to share the photos because of the uncertainties women experience. You lose some of your sexuality and femininity when this happens, ‘she said of her topless snaps
Tricky: At the height of the pandemic, Kelly couldn’t see her kids because of the fear of her health and safety – and she could only enjoy socially distant dates with fiancé Willy
Looking Ahead: Kelly, pictured when Willy proposed, plans to undergo breast reconstruction once she’s got it clear from her doctors, but she wants to love herself the way she is now
“When I went to the hospital, I had to go alone and Willie waited outside in the car.
“I have to be extra careful and sometimes I didn’t see my own children after my surgery because of the risk.
“Willie and I still have date nights, but we order our food and eat it in the car.
“It just makes your life a bit more hectic because you have to be isolated.”
Kelly plans to undergo breast reconstruction surgery as soon as her doctors give her everything, but she wanted to love herself as she is now.
“Sometimes I hated looking at my reflection because I didn’t feel that way.
“I want other women who go through this, who are scared and ashamed, to know to love their new bodies and not to hold on to the old ones.”