My life has proven to be a journey of unexpected challenges, one my parents didn’t expect. I was diagnosed with a rare form of vaginal cancer (Rhabdomyosarcoma) at 3 years old. Rhabdomyosarcoma or RMS is a childhood cancer that starts in any organ that contains skeletal muscle cells. I was cancer-free a year after my diagnosis, but left with two permanent ostomy (colostomy and urostomy), which aids my bladder and bowel functions, which cause me to wear (2) ostomy bags. An ostomy refers to the surgically created opening in the body for the discharge of body wastes.
As a child, I was worried about my body image. While others appeared to be living a “normal” life, I struggled with self-pity, depression, and low self-esteem. I did not want to have my bags. I often wondered, can people tell I have ostomy bags? Are they staring? And my big issue was why me? I was struggling, but my parents taught me to love who God created me to be. I am blessed the cancer was in remission since the age of 4 years old.
I know models come in all shapes and sizes however internal beauty reveals our character, personality, confidence, and self-love. My scars tell my story. It is your inner beauty that looks beyond your "looks". The essence of who we are is within. I am grateful I realized my bags were never an issue. I was going to make a change in the fashion industry and I did. I want to show the modeling industry we don’t have to be defined by our size or outer appearance. Fashion brings out my individuality, creativity, and character which match my personality. I love different fashionable looks; classy, vintage, casual, evening, sporty, sexy, chic, artsy, and just good pair jeans & a t-shirt. Fashion brings out my individuality, creativity, and character which match my personality. I adore different styles and trends. I believe fashion allows me to be myself and look at my inner beauty in a different way.
My day to day activities first and foremost is to be thankful. In order to boost my confidence, I wake up EVERY DAY and repeat several times, “thank you God I am alive to see another day”. I was diagnosed at the age of 3 years old with a rare form of cancer that left me with two permanent ostomy (bags). I was not expected to survive. You probably can understand why I am thankful. I am 53 years old and confident in living a full, vibrant, and blessed life.
My inner beauty is loving the person that looks back at me in the mirror; flaws, scars, and my ostomy bags. My inner beauty builds my heart, soul, and mind. I am not ashamed of my outer appearance because my inner beauty says I am wonderfully & fearfully made.
This “bag” lady is on fire!