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When Kimi was diagnosed with breast cancer, she immediately reacted with acceptance. Her attitude of ‘kicking cancer’s butt’ has already got her through a mastectomy, and she is confident it will help her in chemotherapy.
I normally check my breasts every month so, when I found the lump back in January, I knew it wasn’t normal for me.
At first, the GP dismissed me, and said it might have something to do with my loop recorder (an implant I have to monitor my arrythmia). I work alongside clinicians, so I checked with one of our cardiac consultants about whether this was likely. He said it wasn’t, so I went back and insisted I got a referral.
When I made it to my consultation, I knew almost immediately that I had cancer. I could tell from the way the consultant answered one of my questions.
While she was out of the room, I made peace with the likelihood that I was about to be diagnosed with breast cancer. Sure enough, when she came back, I got the news.
Being diagnosed with grade 3 invasive ductal breast cancer at the age of 34 is not an easy pill to swallow. However, I wasn’t overcome with anger. Surprisingly, I felt something more like acceptance and peace.
At first, I was overwhelmed, but in the sense that there was so much information to take in. I needed five minutes to process what treatments I’d be having and the next steps I needed to take, but I wasn’t sad.
I realised that there was no point crying about something I can’t change – and that’s an attitude I have towards life in general, not just towards this.
No matter what, I know I still have to live. I still have to be a mum, a partner, a sister, a colleague. Dwelling on my diagnosis wouldn’t change any of that.
I thought, ‘Well, if I have cancer, I might as well kick its butt!’
I’ve already had my mastectomy, and I don’t see myself any differently than I did when I had two breasts. In fact, I’m quite proud of it – my scars have healed really beautifully!
I’ve been talking about my experience on Instagram and TikTok, and I think some people must think I’m crazy. But I want to celebrate my ‘uniboob’! My breasts did their job when my babies needed them, and so I’m quite fine with just having one now.
I know I still have chemotherapy ahead of me, but I’ve accepted the changes that will come with that. I know my hair will fall out. I realise that I’ll probably gain or lose weight, and that I’ll most likely feel unwell. But I know I just need to get on with it.
In a way, my diagnosis has been something of a rebirth for me. It’s as if I’ve been given a second chance to live.
A lot of people around me seem to expect me to lose my positivity at some point. I think they’re waiting for me to crash and burn, but that’s not how I work. I believe in God, and so I believe that he will help me through it. I also believe he wouldn’t have given me anything I can’t handle, so I know I’m on the right path.
I also get my strength from my two amazing kids and my loved ones. They are so supportive and, though it might be tough for them to see me go through chemotherapy, I hope that my positive attitude will help us all.
Of course, it’s also important to accept that sometimes you will have a bad day. I’ve had times where I have cried – again, not because I was sad, but because I was overwhelmed. And that’s OK. Sometimes you just need to cry in order to deal with a feeling and move forward.
My affirmations keep me going every day
Every day, I repeat this affirmation to myself:
I am strong
I am able
I am capable
I am determined
I will get through this
I will beat cancer
I will survive
To all those going through something similar, remember that everything has its season, and it too shall pass.
To find out more about Rhakima and her progress through treatment, you can follow her on Instagram via @kimzykima.
Staying positive during treatment is a fantastic thing to strive for, but everybody needs different levels of support. If you need a little help finding your positivity during or after treatment, we have a number of services and support programmes that could work for you.