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In February of 2015, I was diagnosed with stage IV metastatic breast cancer. I had just turned 22 years old. Attending college, working, and engaged to my high school sweetheart. The cancer spread to my lymph nodes, chest bones, and hip bone.

Losing my hair was one of the hardest things for me. Just like any other young woman, my hair has become my identity. I hid behind my hair. How my hair was that day, was how I felt that day. I felt like I completely lost myself when I lost my hair.

I had to learn that I am not my hair.. I am not all my scars.. I am beautiful, with or without these things!

June 10th was my last session. My hair began growing. I went back to college and work. I felt my life pulling back together.

September 8th I had a lumpectomy and several lymph nodes removed. A week after the surgery, I was told that the cancer was not gone, and that I had to go back onto chemotherapy. I felt like all that I worked so hard for, was gone..

October 1st will be my first day back on chemotherapy. Go figure, for breast cancer awareness month! I've come to realize struggles make us stronger. I have to stick through the fight. When life knocks me down, I have to get back up and fight back. I may have cancer, but cancer doesn't have me.

Elizabeth Buck
Plano, IL

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