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Gina - Bodies of Courage Bodypainted Cancer Survivors

The PHYSICAL: On August 17, 2009, I was diagnosed with stage 3c breast Cancer – and, very aggressive.
At the time of diagnosis, the tumor was 3.5cm.
By November 21, 2009, at the start of Neo-adjuvant Chemo, the tumor was 6.5cm.
I spent eight months in chemo, then bilateral mastectomy with Lymph node and ovary removal, and a scare of spots on my liver.
The Pathology report said that the chemo – Taxotere and FEC 100 (second line of defense breast cancer chemo and physically brutal)- did “little or nothing to affect the tumor.”
After multiple tests to confirm that the cancer did not spread to the rest of my body, I proceeded to endure 30
days of radiation.
Nine months later, just 10 weeks ago, I began reconstructive surgery. I had 8.5 hours of surgery and have several surgeries left to go.

Physically, I am different, and I am new.

The MENTAL: From the moment that the doctor found the lump, I was protected.
I had a sense of calm and the knowledge that whatever it was, I was going to live – not arrogant, just calm.
The word spread of my cancer, and people – family, friends and strangers – came out of the woodwork to pray for me.
I was truly humbled by every prayer.
To this day, I have people that I am meeting for the first time telling me that I am in their daily prayers.
I am truly grateful.
I never prayed for the gift of life, after all, who am I to ask God for the gift of what we are not promised.
Instead, every morning and several times a day, I asked (and still ask) God For the strength to get through each day.
At the end of every day, I give thanks for the gift of another blessed day.
I don’t know how many days, hours or minutes that I have left, but none of us really do.
Life is just one moment at a time.

The BLESSING: I have never asked, “God, why me,” as it is not about me, but because of Him, that I am being carried through.
I cherish each and EVERY Moment that I have experienced.
I want to remember everything that I felt and thought and experienced, every moment of every day.
I am still the same person that I was before the cancer – I just live larger now.
Instead of holding my passion in, I cannot keep it contained, and I am grateful – truly grateful.