A breast cancer survivor is going viral after posting a photo of her breastfeeding her 10-day-old son, proudly showing off her mastectomy scar.
Bo Smith from Sugar Land, Texas, shared the image to Facebook.
“Never be ashamed of a scar. It simply means you were stronger than whatever tried to hurt you,” she wrote.
The 32-year-old was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer, an aggressive and rare form of the disease, three years ago.
“I can’t begin to explain how this feels everyday to be able to breastfeed my son, after losing one breast to cancer and being told I may not ever have this sweet boy in my arms,” she wrote.
“I am not ashamed of this body. This is what continues to remind me of how lucky I am to be here today.”
After discovering the lump in her breast just a month after getting engaged, Smith underwent extensive treatment to eradicate the disease.
“I still remember sitting with my oncologist as she held my hand and explained that there was only a 40 per cent chance of living to five years, and feeling so drained and numb that I couldn’t even cry.”
After undergoing chemotherapy, Smith had her left breast removed.
“I opted to keep my right breast so that I may one day have a chance to breastfeed my future children,” she said.
Two years after completing radiotherapy, Smith was officially in remission — but she also discovered the treatment had affected her fertility.
“I was devastated. My first words were, ‘My life is over. I will never be a mom’,” she told the Daily Mail.
Smith decided to start taking a hormone therapy drug to assist in natural conception. Three days before Christmas last year, she discovered she was pregnant.
“I felt I would never be here today,” she wrote on Facebook. “I watched friends pass away from the same disease I had. I watched women lose so much and I thought there was no hope, but hope always. It’s there. Keep faith.”
Her breastfeeding photo has since gone viral, with many women sharing their own cancer stories.
“Definitely a warrior. Such a beautiful picture – no way should you be ashamed. From one warrior of almost 10 years. My baby girl saved my life. During nursing she bit my breast and it ended up being stage four metastatic breast cancer from the get go. She’s now 12 and beautiful,” wrote one follower.
“I have those same scars. Even the port scar. I am so happy for you! Thank you for sharing this moment!” added another.
Smith said she hopes that proudly baring her scars helps other survivors feel like she does.
“Yes, I lost my breast, but I still have my other one to feed my beautiful son,” she said. “Scars are nothing more than a story of where you have been in your life, and you should be proud of them and yourself, for getting through whatever it was that got you them.”