beauty

Incredible photos reveal 'tough, beautiful' women behind mastectomy scars.

An incredible series of photographs in a special Scar Stories project has told the inspiring stories of women left scarred after mastectomy surgery.

“Tough, beautiful chicks” by Suzanne McCorkell is a photo series of women who’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer, showing the reality of the extent of the physical impact of the invasive surgery, and the battle they’ve faced.

Each woman has a different story, which they shared as part of the project.

Lyn

Lyn had resigned from her job just a few weeks before her breast cancer diagnosis in 2011.

She had tumours in both of her breasts and the cancer had already spread to her lymph system, so she chose to have them both removed.

“I felt at that time that I would rather be here than have my breasts,” she writes.

Having finished her subsequent treatment, she’s now focused on living a healthy life and raising awareness and funds to find a cure for breast cancer.

“I find I appreciate everything much more since my diagnosis.

“As difficult as my diagnosis and treatment have been I feel I am a better person and I have gained far more than I have lost.”

Photo by Suzanne McCorkell for Scar Stories.

Paula

Paula was 35 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010. At the time, her two children were one and three years old.

"It was devastating for my family and me and my life took a major detour," she writes.

She had chemotherapy, a single mastectomy and radiation.

Two years on she was still undergoing moderate treatment.

"It has been tough for my husband, children and me... Depression comes and goes but I believe life can only get better now.

"I look forward to seeing my children grow up and watching all the milestones they will go through.

"I feel blessed that I have my children, my husband, my family and friends and cherish every moment with them."

Sadly, in June 2013 Paula passed away, just eight months after he photo was taken.

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Photo by Suzanne McCorkell for Scar Stories.

Tammy

Having worked in a Brisbane hospital for many years, for Tammy, cancer was always "happened to other people and the patients we cared for".

"'Breast cancer survivor' is something I never thought would be in the same sentence as my name," she writes.

In 2012, at 43, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a right mastectomy, an axillary dissection, months of chemotherapy and several weeks of radiation.

She is still undergoing hormone treatment.

"When I was diagnosed all I could think of was my two boys, my husband, my family and friends.

"Nothing could prepare me for the roller coaster ride called cancer... But the saying that stuck with me throughout my journey was  'We don’t know how strong we are until being strong is the only choice we have'.

"People deal with cancer in so many different ways… and there is no right or wrong way.  You just have to deal with it the best way you can, and mine was to live life like breast cancer was a disease that could be treated, not a life sentence."

Photo by Suzanne McCorkell for Scar Stories.

As strange as it might sound Tammy says her scar "means the world to her".

"It saved my life and it will be a constant reminder of how lucky I am and to live each day to the fullest as life is so short for each of us. "

Nyree

For Nyree her scar means her life, "without it I wouldn't be here," she writes.

"It represents my strength and it is definitely my battle scar."

Even thought there are times when she hate her scar, when all it means is 'cancer'.

"Cancer took away my carefree life and has replaced it with a whole range of new emotions, some good and some bad."

One thing she is grateful for is the connections she's made with other women with the same scars and similar stories.

"I’m not alone. I am proud of my scar, of who I am and of what I have overcome."

You can read more incredible Scar Stories here or follow them on their Facebook page.

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