Mastectomy swimwear designer Clover Lewis reflects on reaching her seven-year anniversary from her diagnosis of a rare form of breast cancer...
''Today I am celebrating my seven-year Clear-versary!"
I have reached my seven-year milestone being clear of aggressive triple-negative breast cancer.
Breast cancer is my worst personal tragedy. It has also inspired experiences which fuelled my drive, creativity and will to live!
Today I am reflecting on all of this, including the excitement of seeing my designs come to life and raise the confidence of women with cancer-related breast surgeries, and winning awards for designing mastectomy swimwear.
Though I couldn’t say this for several years, I can now say I couldn't have started my dream career without my cancer diagnosis (a strange, terrifying and paradoxical gift).
My mastectomy swimwear brand now connects me with women from all over the world who share my experience, and desire to beautiful and confident in swimwear after mastectomy and reconstruction.
My perspective did not change overnight, though - in fact, it is ongoing work.
My Buddhist practice helps me to allow the pain and fear of dying to surface, and enables me to sit with difficult emotions, instead of fighting them or trying to push it away.
I am sustained by the love of the best man in the world, my family, the most amazing friends, the beautiful and wonderfully diverse women in my global breast cancer community, who give me hope.
It is a real privilege to know I am supported- at all times.
In the years after hearing the words that no one ever wants to hear, I am still working out how to live after cancer. And this takes time.
I’m grateful I have the time to discover self-love for my post-cancer body, to embrace the strength of vulnerability and make my living creatively.
So each day I can laugh, hug my loved ones, behold beauty, and create an impact on other women's lives with my post surgery swimwear, is a testimony of how precious life is.
I'm excited to continue to embrace every opportunity that comes my way. I hope that this encourages you to do the same?
And while I have your attention - Please check your breasts - and live your own beautiful life!''
Have you had breast cancer or other difficult life experience? What have you found helpful for coping? Did you do a particular activity or practice that has helped you? Please share in the comments below, we would love to hear from you!