Hello, I’m Raewyn and I live in Palmerston North. I am 56 years old and have two amazing grown up children, Robert and Ranae. They have been an amazing support to me though my journey with cancer.

I have had cancer 3 times now. The first brush with cancer was when I was 25 and I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. It came as a shock at the time, but somehow you get through and move forward with life. I thought I had put cancer well and truly behind me. That was until 2004.

I was 46 and I noticed some discharge out of my right nipple. I went for numerous tests, but they were all negative, but I was still concerned. My doctor was also very supportive and wonderful and we monitored it over the course of the year. Then 18 months later it was discovered I had DCIS and I was referred to the surgeon to have a lumpectomy.

Ever since then, I had regular (yearly) mammograms, and in 2011, my mammogram picked up calcifications in my left breast and a decision was made to have a mastectomy.

At the time, I just wanted my breast removed and I decided not to have a reconstruction. For me, I felt that a reconstructed breast would not feel the same as my remaining boob, and I thought, it just wasn't for me. To be honest, it didn't really bother me. I knew there would be a longer recovery time and a few surgeries and I did not want to put my body or mind through that at the time.

For each of us on this journey, we have to do what feels right for us. It is an emotional time, and you can feel that you are on a rollercoaster ride. You just have to take it one day at a time and surround yourself with wonderful, supportive people.

I hope other women see my images and see that you can feel confident and be beautiful in your own skin. You can be happy in yourself.

Never give up hope.