Meet Lilly! One of eleven brave women who participated in The Affirmations Project 2016. Her Affirmation word is Victorious. This gorgeous woman with a full blown smile on her face does not stop smiling. :) Victorious? Definitely, yes! You can follow her HERE and read her story below.
LA: A few words about yourself.
Lilly: I am 47 years old, born and raised in Puerto Rico. I have a 27 year old son (my only child) that I love with all my heart. I've been working for GTE, Verizon, and now Frontier for 17 years as a Administrative Clerk. I was married for 26 years and unfortunately my marriage ended last year a month after my mastectomy. My mom and my 3 brothers live in Puerto Rico, my dad passed away last year, 6 months after my surgery and 5 months after my divorce. But I can say I am a happy person.
LA: What made you decide to join The Affirmations Project?
Lilly: When Adriana asked me if I wanted to participate I didn't think about it twice. It was my first participation in something related to breast cancer. The idea of the body paint and the idea of supporting other women was fantastic! Showing the world that we are beautiful inside and outside was so great!
LA: What is your Affirmation Word? And why?
Lilly: VICTORIOUS...... Why? Because 2015 was a rough year. Diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer. In January I had my lumpectomy in my right breast, 2 weeks after (February) I had another surgery, because the doctor found particle cancerous spread in my breast, a week after my second surgery I got the most terrifying call from my surgeon: "Lillian, we have to remove your right breast" uffff... I started crying, but in that moment I decided to remove my left breast as well, to prevent cancer in the right. I had both my breasts removed on March 2nd, and I also got my expanders put in by my plastic surgeon.
A month after my surgery, in April (exactly 1 month after) my husband left the house, leaving me by myself with my pains and broken self-esteem. So I submitted the divorce papers to the court in May and on June 29 I was finally a free woman.
All this time my dear friend, Odalys, that has always been there for me, has been so supportive and she took a good care of me; she's like my big sister to me.
In July, I got my expanders removed and finally got my implants. And then my dad passed away on September 28... and the news of his passing was harder for me to hear than that I had breast cancer.
Then on October 7th, I had my nipple reconstruction, and I had a full hysterectomy on October 27th.
It was as if every month something drastic was happening in my life. BUT I was strong enough, I kicked every single rock, I got back on my road and now I can say, I AM VICTORIOUS...
LA: How did you feel when you saw your images for the first time?
Lilly: Oh my God, they were beautiful. I was soooo excited when I see them! I looked so different, I looked beautiful. I was so happy. I sent a copy to my mom and she didn't recognize me! LOL She asked my brothers "who is that?" That's how amazing they are!
LA: How did this project affect you?
Lilly: This project affected me in a good way. I am more confident now. I feel that if I could do this, I can do anything in life. Lots of people asked me how I felt when Emma was painting my chest. Well, I felt secure, confident and BEAUTIFUL....I am ready for another photo shoot!
LA: What are some words of empowerment you would like to share with other women?
Lilly: To be brave and to be strong. I did not know how strong I was until I went thru all that. 7 surgeries, a divorce and my dad passing in a period of 10 months. I am living my life day by day. I'm leaving my life happy, I'm living my life with no worries, just taking care of myself and enjoying every minute of my life.
LA: Any other comments?
Lilly: Thank you for these great photos. They were AMAZING and I am ready for the next affirmation project.