“Show before they go”

Only 10 weeks today till my operation and a few things have happened in last couple of weeks.
1. BBC Radio 1 & 1xtra will be following my journey and putting out as a radio documentary next year.
2. My amazing friend Yemi (@LiteSwitchTV) has started filming all relevant parts of this journey so we can put out a web series and film that I am completely happy with at the end.
3. I have started making YouTube videos about boobs and raising money for a charity called Genesis, who strictly look at the prevention of Breast Cancer. If you want to donate go here > justgiving.com/clairahermet

As more and more people find out about what I’m doing I get so many responses. Some people cry, some joke and some just tell me everything is going to be fine. I appreciate it all. Well almost all, the boys asking me to ‘show before they go’ are going to be sorely disappointed.

I have been contacted by people on a similar journey to me and people that are able to have the test but are extremely scared, who say me doing this so openly is giving them courage. That’s all I ever hoped to achieve. Every message, comment and chat I have is making me stronger and more determined to tell my story which truly is one of love, empowerment and learning.

The weirdest thing anyone has said to me so far is ‘you do realise without your boobs you’re going to be a completely different person.’ Which I find hilarious. Like my boobs contain my ‘personality’, some kind of special powers or maybe they are where my brain is located? My boobs don’t determine who I am. Perhaps some people only see me as a pair of ‘boobs’ and thus to them that’s all I am. I know I’m everything but a pair of boobs. They are just part of my body, which is just a house for my consciousness. I want to look after this house and make sure it’s standing as long as possible which means from time to time it needs a bit of ‘work’ doing. That’s honestly how I look at it.

There are times I get sad or worry about what the future holds. I try to move past those times quickly and not dwell on them. One thing I have been hearing a lot of from amazing people who have suffered with breast cancer, had a single mastectomy and survived is that it has been an awakening for them in terms of just how unimportant their physical appearance truly is. I have heard from partners of women who have survived breast cancer and had a single mastectomy. It’s evident they love their partners more than ever and really don’t mind at all about the change to their body.

The more I think about it the more I realise how as a woman I have been taught by society that my physical appearance is more important than pretty much everything else about me. Well that’s just bollocks and completely unfair to girls and young women everywhere. I realise how important it is to empower young people and to give them confidence in the person they are above the appearance they were born with. I know we’ve heard it all before but it’s so important. I was that young girl who was told I was ugly everyday during my teenage years and it has had an effect on my whole life until this point. Until the penny finally dropped. I until I understood that appearance doesn’t equal attractiveness I let their words effect me. I placed so my value on my physical appearance that I thought changing it was the only way to change my world. What I failed to realise was that no change outside of me could make me feel happy, secure and confident. I needed to change the inside. How I thought & felt about myself despite what the bullies years ago told me.

Changing my internal spokes person and thus my feelings about myself and my life has been a gradual and constant journey but one I am so glad I under took. I often shock people when I say ‘my sister dying was the best thing that ever happened it me’. It was excruciatingly painful and I wish more than ever she was still here but she isn’t. For me her death was the trigger point where I decided myself and my world had to change. I knew that if my sister couldn’t be here then I would but better and happier. I was encouraged by the fact I wanted to enjoy my life and make it a success not just for me but for my best friend, partner in nuttiness and beautiful sister, Emily Jane.

Impossible is nothing.

Love to all,

Claira xxxx

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6 Comments

  1. steve jack
    November 6, 2014 / 10:33 pm

    Brave girl, educating people….clever Claira x

  2. Ania Richardson
    December 16, 2014 / 7:53 pm

    I’m 27, a doctor and a BRCA 1 carrier. I had the same operation you’re about to have 3 weeks ago. And I’m fine, a huge weight has been lifted and actually my new boobs look great. You’re incredible for sharing your story and empowering others going through this difficult journey. Good luck with the op, it takes a little time, but you’re going to be absolutely fine.

  3. E
    December 29, 2014 / 7:49 pm

    Hi Claira, I felt compelled to drop you a line to wish you luck. I too had a preventative double mastectomy to reduce BRCA related risk. I had just turned 31 at the time of the op and had found out I had the gene 5 months earlier. I’m just coming up on 4 months post op now. It’s the best decision I ever made and I’ve not regretted it for one single second. In my experience the lead up to it was worse! The implants take some getting used to but for me there’s been no great sense of loss. I’m really happy and feel my life was a little on hold before it but now it’s been kick started again! My advice would be to keep your chin up but allow yourself to feel what you feel – happiness, sadness, relief, whatever! It’s all good! Oh and make sure you have a V shaped back support pillow! They come in very handy indeed 🙂 Wishing you the very, very best of luck

  4. Amanda
    January 13, 2015 / 5:41 pm

    Hi Claira,
    I sooo hope it goes well for you. I’m also 27 and had a double mastectomy and reconstruction last August. Before my op I was desperately searching for people my age going through the same thing so it’s really brilliant that you’re telling people your story.
    I’m still getting used to my new boobs but definitely no regrets about my decision!
    Best of luck with the op!! x

  5. James gibson
    February 24, 2015 / 11:06 am

    Hi I just heard you on Radio 4 and feel moved to say how little I know about myself compared to what you do about yourself after these recent events. I do think you are very brave to be so candid and the support that offers others must be very valuable indeed. I wish you good luck and good health Claira.

  6. Michael Hendry
    February 25, 2015 / 10:05 am

    Claira, I stumbled upon your page by accident but am so hugely impressed by your story that I wanted to say thank you. Reading about the love for your best friend and the support she gave you brought a tear to my eye, what a fantastic relationship to have with someone. All the best for a bright and happy future x

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