"My chest is the canvas for my story," she wrote.

By Samantha Lauriello
Updated: November 26, 2018

Breasts don’t define womanhood—and having breasts doesn't make you more or less feminine.

That’s the message breast cancer warrior Chiara D’Agostino is spreading. She bravely documents her journey with the disease both on Instagram and on her blog, Beauty Through the Beast. Recently, she revealed the physical and emotional fallout she experienced after undergoing a double mastectomy to treat the disease.

“This wasn’t my plan. At the age of 42 I found a lump in my breast and had chemotherapy, radiation, a double mastectomy, breast implants, and eventually a metastatic breast cancer diagnosis,” D’Agostino wrote in an Instagram post.

She admits she used to feel “detached” from her body. Growing up, she struggled with disordered eating, drug and alcohol addiction, self-harm, and abusive relationships—including one with herself, she wrote.

Then, D’Agostino found dance while she was in college, and it taught her how to be present in her body, as she put it. She also discovered that through movement and touch, she could use her body as a vehicle of expression and as an instrument of beauty.

Being diagnosed with breast cancer changed her relationship with her body. “You can imagine everything that felt threatened when I was told of the inner molecular change,” she wrote. “I felt devastated, betrayed by my physical form.”

RELATED: The Bachelor's Lesley Murphy Gets Candid About Intimacy Following Double Mastectomy

Many women who undergo a mastectomy decide to have breast implants. D’Agostino did as well. But because she experienced constant infections related to her implants, she ultimately chose to have them removed for good. “After the surgery, I was terrified of looking in the mirror. Would I still be womanly without a female silhouette? To my surprise, the expression on my face showed great relief: I saw myself again!”

“My story is written on my skin, via scars. My chest is the canvas for my story. I’m rediscovering and redefining my body and merging with the new one,” she wrote.

RELATED: After 3 of My Family Members Died of Breast Cancer, I Got a Double Mastectomy at 25 

As for whether D’Agostino is still just as much a woman without breasts, she had this to say: “I’m not less than anyone because I have fewer body parts. I accept myself as a woman without breasts. I’m the same person inside, and I believe we shine from the inside out, so sexy and beautiful is how I feel about myself." 

Finding the strength to love your body through such a drastic change can be challenging, but with the example of women like D’Agostino, we can see that it’s 100% possible. She’s right, beauty shines from the inside, and if anything, this battle has only made her stronger than she was before.

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