A Flame of Hope

I'm a 39 year old actress, living & working in Rome, Italy. Two years ago I felt a hard lump in my right breast as I was applying body lotion after a shower. I had a sonogram & a mammogram & was diagnosed with breast cancer, resulting in a mastectomy. Luckily my lymphnodes (which were all removed as a precaution) were all clear, which meant I skipped chemo & went straight to the hormone therapy, which I'm still taking. I'm an optimist by nature so I wish to encourage all women to test themselves regularly, making it part of their daily routine, whilst applying lotion for example...which is what has made me a cancer survivor. We can draw some strength from the people nearest to us (just as I did & I will be eternally grateful to my boyfriend Stefano for being so amazingly supportive, loving & keeping my spirits high before, during & after), but ultimately the strength we need is within ourselves. And we don't know we have it, until we need it... even to deal with the occasional friend or family member who looks the other way, unable to cope with the "ugliness" of cancer. Flaminia is an ancient roman name, meaning "little flame"... I therefore trust my flame will give someone hope & courage.
Flaminia Fegarotti
Rome, Italy