What I Want My Future Family to Know About My Breast Cancer

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I'm Molly Mae. And I am from a really small town in northern Mississippi called Houston. Growing up, it was just me and my mom. So my mom was diagnosed with stage III breast cancer when I was just 8 years old. And it was terrifying.

We found out that she carried a gene mutation called the BRCA1. And there is a 50/50 shot of passing that on to her children. So my freshman year of college when I was 19, my mom made an appointment for me and said, you have to go. And we went ahead and had the breast MRI done. A couple of weeks later, I get a call, and he said, well, we think that you have breast cancer.

I had the option to go ahead and remove my masses and then monitor the cancer cells from then on. I didn't want to sit and wait and think of my breasts as ticking time bombs. So I went ahead and I had the mastectomy. Waking up in the hospital the next day was hard because of just how painful it was. And I avoided mirrors for a very long time.

And I remember the first time that I did look in a mirror and my breasts were just gone. It was just flat and scarred. And I had drains and tubes and blood. And I couldn't lift my arms. But I still wouldn't change it.

I remember watching the Miss Mississippi pageant that year and thinking, I am going to get there next year. And I did. I got there on the one-year anniversary of my mastectomy. And I remember, I was laying in my hospital bed, crying, terrified that I would never be confident enough to do what I am currently doing. And it was really powerful for me. If that was what I really wanted to be able to tell my children one day, was that I still chased a dream. And then I still did the hard thing, even if it was really scary for me.

The one thing that I would want to tell my future spouse about my breast cancer is that I went through a lot. And I lost more than I thought that I would lose. And so I would want my spouse to know that my soul, that who I am, is beautiful, and that my scars are my favorite thing about my body, and that I really hope that they are his too.