Stacy Walsh

DECEMBER



My Story

Stacy Dawn Walsh, 33

Having breasts didn’t make me. Cutting them off did. My initial reaction to both the news that I had cancer and the news that I needed a bilateral mastectomy was “this must be a mistake.” But I was quickly reminded that this was real. I absorbed the news for a couple of days. Once I had composed myself and could think straight, I dove into reading all the information I could find to educate myself. Knowledge is power.

When I realized what my options were, I was determined to win. They can take both my breasts and anything else they need, but no surgeon can cut away who I am inside. My spirit is far too deep

When I told my seven-year old daughter about what mommy had to do, she looked at me and said, “that’s okay, you’ll look just like me.” At that moment my breasts were merely two lumps of tissue with a ticking time bomb inside, threatening to end my life.

Only hours after my surgery I said, “get a nurse in here now and take these bandages off me. I want to see what they did to me.” The nurses told me it wasn’t a good idea, as most women don’t want to even think about looking at themselves. I said to the nurse “you don’t know me; if you don’t take the bandages I will rip them off myself!” As the nurse removed the bandages I stared at the ceiling and asked her to leave the room. I needed privacy. Slowly looking down at my exposed chest, I saw that there were only about two inches in the middle left intact and without staples across my chest. It was one of the most difficult moments in my life. I knew it would take time to heal physically, mentally, And psychologically. Having seen my body at its worst, I stayed positive in thinking with each passing day that I will get better, I will get stronger and I will get back to living my life on my terms, and not on cancer’s terms.

With or without my breasts, my children were still going to have a mother. When I accepted the fact that I had cancer, I knew the journey ahead would be challenging and difficult, but possible.

Staring in the mirror every day after sixteen surgeries is a cold reminder of the bold truth. It’s a constant reminder of fear, of courage and triumph. Although I am physically scarred, my core being was strengthened, and I aim to be a sign of hope for those who are, or soon will be, where I am today. And that is moving on.

Thank you all for your support and encouragement.

Love, Stacy


A MESSAGE FROM JAMES, STACY’S HUSBAND

Cancer — in my opinion, one of the least favourite words in the English language. It scars, it mars, it ruins & takes lives. It doesn’t discriminate on any level of age , race, gender or even species! In one way or another we have all been affected by this nasty six/(four) letter word. We are all aware of the devastating effects caused by this disease and it is unfortunate that sometimes, oftentimes it takes something of this magnitude for us to discover true and great inspiration. For those who become diagnosed, battle and endure this disease truly become aware of how strong they can be and what they can endure in order to survive. All cancers are equally devastating, I do not wish to single out or say that any one type is more important. However, I want to talk about one type that has crept into my life — Breast Cancer.

When I met my wife, Stacy, in August of 2012, she had already been living with Breast Cancer just over a year. She had already endured a total of 7 surgeries including a double mastectomy. In the 6 years since we first met I have witnessed her battle the physical(total of 16 surgeries), the mental, emotional & the psychological effects that Breast Cancer causes. However, I don’t want to focus on the negative effects but rather the positive things that have developed out of this disease. You may wonder what could possibly ever be positive about Breast Cancer!!? Well I’ll tell you. Cancer creates inspiration, true strength, hope, strengthens faiths, defines love and creates heroes—Superheroes ! To quote a phrase: “ Not all Superhero’s wear capes, some sell lemonade “ (thank you & God bless you Nevaeh).

I have said before that Breast Cancer is what brought Stacy and I together. When we first met 6 years ago, as I said, she was already battling this Beast. I didn’t see “Cancer”. I saw a woman who was so positive, so determined, so full of life and love, so eager to help anyone she could that I instantly admired her and fell in love with her. As the weeks and months went by I knew she was my soulmate ! She instantly inspired me to want to be a better man, a better person & a better human being. I saw a woman who was faced with the toughest challenge any of us could face— A fight for our lives— but she didn’t retreat! She made lemons into lemonade as well. Stacy, from the moment I saw her in action, was an inspiration to so many. She has shown me that the things we cherish are just that —“things” and what truly matters are those we have around us. She is my inspiration, my reason, my Warrior Princess. Just from initially chatting with Stacy before we ever actually met, she inspired me to write this below:

—————————————
First Impression
(Warrior Princess)

I cast my line in the virtual water,
Hoping to meet another mans’ daughter.
We hooked, we clicked,
We chatted for hours
She opened her soul,
Like a field of flowers.

She told me a story
About a mother, a wife.
Who stared down a Beast
That threatened her life!
When the battle began
Docs sounded the alarm
Told her this Beast
Means to do her great harm.
This Beast had talons
That would cut her deep,
She faced the battle,
Refusing to weep.

“Why me” were not the words
That came to mind,
But rather “why not?”,
For NOW was HER time.
Time to find out
If she was made of glass or stone
Time to find out
How far she could go!

As the Beast cut her breast again and again,
She got back to her feet
And faced IT again.
She wielded her sword
With power and grit
Striking back blows and
Refusing to quit.

7 times the Beast cut
7 times she got stronger
She faced her Demon Beast,
‘Til IT could take it no longer.
Her courage didn’t come from NOT having fear,
But in FACING it through her blood, sweat & tears.

She’s a warrior princess
With a pink sword and shield
A warrior princess
Who should be honoured and revered.
She should wear her battle scars with pride
As a sign of Victory, she should not hide!
The reflection she sees
Should be one of Power.
One of courage & strength…
…no matter the hour.

The story she told
Was not of fiction, but true,
She has become an inspiration
To all she knew.
Her courage, strength, refusal to bend
Are things I admire,
In my new found friend.

She has a zest for life
And sees what “could be”
She envisions her goals,
Makes them reality!
When I meet this girl
I will shake her hand.
Tell her she’ll make some guy
A lucky man.

The story, HER story
Has inspired me
To view anything as possible…
…if only you BELIEVE !!
—————————————

She is still my Hero, my life and my conquerer. I want everyone who reads this or who has participated in the Breastless and Beautiful calendar project, from the models, the creators, the sponsors, all those who purchase and have purchased one of these magnificent calendars, that positivity can come from tragedy. This wonderful project will help open doors & provide inspiration to countless people now and in the future so they can focus on positive things.

Thank you Kerri Churchill for your dream, your inspiration to make this positive mark on us all.

Kind Regards,

James Walsh


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THE BARE TRUTH