Scars are definitely not the end of the world, and this is exactly what a brave breast cancer survivor is trying to prove to the world after she shared some topless shots of herself with her mastectomy scars on full display.
39-year-old Alison Hawkes, who was diagnosed with breast cancer three years ago bared it all to prove to other breast cancer survivors that they should not be ashamed of scars.
After undergoing a full mastectomy to prevent the disease from returning, her husband, Ian Hawkes, 52, treated her to a makeover and photo shoot.
She said: “I wanted to show everyone that scars aren’t the end of the world. I’m proud of what my body has beaten.I was reading down the list of types of photos that they do, and at the bottom it said topless and I just thought: ‘why not?’
“I uploaded the picture to Facebook. I was nervous at first, but I’ve got an amazing response.”
Mirror UK reports that she felt a little bit unabated after doctors initially diagnosed the lump as a cyst, but she started to notice the mass swelling in size every time she was due to start her period.
She said: “At that point, I still thought it was a cyst, but even so, I didn’t want to deal with it doubling in size every time I was due on, so I went to the doctor’s to see if they could remove it.”
A biopsy revealed the sad truth that she had stage 2 invasive lobular cancer and doctors agreed to remove the mass.
She said: “Hearing that was like being punched in the stomach.
“What’s worse is that I was on my own. I didn’t think I’d be getting news that devastating, so I didn’t ask Ian to come to the hospital with me.
“He rang to check on me. I didn’t want to tell him over the phone, but he could tell by my voice that something wasn’t right.
“As soon as I got home, he flung open the front door and we both just burst into tears.
“We cried for days, then I realised I couldn’t keep feeling sorry for myself. It was time to fight.”
She had a single mastectomy on her right side in June 2012, a few weeks after her diagnosis and then underwent six rounds of chemotherapy.
She added: “Chemo hit me like a tonne of bricks.
“I’d felt fine up until that point, then suddenly I was nauseous. I had heartburn – it was like having flu times one hundred.
“That’s the first time I truly felt like a cancer patient.”
Within just two weeks, her long, dark hair began to dramatically thin but rather than wait for it to fall out entirely, she decided to take charge and cut it off herself.
She said: “My hair was the one thing I could control. There was nothing I could do about chemo, or cancer, but I could choose to cut my hair before it fell out.
“I kept asking Ian to cut it, but he didn’t want to. We put it off for days until I finally said, ‘You do it, or I will,’ so he agreed.
“He said that was one of the hardest things – cutting off his wife’s hair.”
Doctors told Hawkes that they can never give her a definite all-clear, because of the type of cancer she has.