This month I introduce you to Nikki Speer, who is a beautiful Previvor.
I met Nikki through Instagram where she shares her story and clothing line inspired by her late beautiful mum.
Although, Nikki, has not had breast cancer, she has experienced it many times through the women in her family. She has been a care-giver, supporter, and advocate. The strong chance that she too can one day be another breast cancer statistic in her family, and wanting to be there for her husband and children, made her decide to take drastic measures and have a double mastectomy and reconstruction. There are many Angelina Jolie’s in the breast cancer community. Nikki is one of them and this is her story as a Previvor.
I asked Nikki was her shade of pink was and she responded “My shade of pink is hot pink! It represents who I am! I try to find joy in life and make people smile. It represents life to me. Hot pink attracts people! It’s very bright and cheery! It reminds me of spring and beautiful flowers blooming! A new season, a fresh start. I pray from our logo to our clothing women feel the same way about Redefined Courage”.
This is Nikki’s story.
1996 is when I first heard about breast cancer. One of my mom’s younger sisters, Sue was diagnosed at the age of 42. She chose to have a lumpectomy and has been cancer free for 21 years now! My family was affected greatly by breast cancer. It has forever changed us as you will see from my story shared in a timeline below.
In 2003, my Aunt Katherine, the third daughter, was diagnosed with Stage 3 Ductile Carcinoma in her right breast and lymph nodes were cancerous, at the same age of 42. She chose to have her right breast removed, chemotherapy and reconstruction with a saline implant. In 2004, because of one of the chemo drugs she was given, she was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. At this time she needed an exact match for a stem cell donor and my mom was the only match! After the successful transplant she was then diagnosed with acute graph vs. host and soon after would be diagnosed with chronic graph vs. host which greatly compromises her lungs, and affects her skin and eye sight.
In August 2006, my Grandmother, Loretta (who is loving known as Miya) was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer at the age of 78. She quickly chose to have a double mastectomy with no reconstruction, chemotherapy and radiation.
In September 2006, my Mother (the oldest sister) was diagnosed with Stage 2, Non-Invasive Ductile Carcinoma in her right breast at age 54. She chose to have a bilateral trans flap and 16 weeks of chemotherapy.
In 2008, my Aunt Denise, the youngest at age 45 chose to have a prophylactic or preventative mastectomy-with Silicone implants, after many lumps and biopsies in her breasts over the last few years. She is a very healthy and strong wife and mom of 3 children.
In July 2009, I found a lump in my left breast-after a biopsy it was proved to be a swollen lymph node.
In January 2010, my sweet grandmother became very ill, when her cancer returned in her back, bones and lungs. She passed away March 13, 2010.
In June 24, 2010 after much prayer, research and many doctors appointments, I chose at the young age of 31, a wife and mom of 3 children to have a preventative mastectomy with spacers. This brought my risk down to a 10% chance from a very high 90% chance of Breast Cancer.
September 2010, I had my spacers taken out and my silicone implants put in.
July 2011, another surgery because my right implant fell (the muscle that was cut and stitched to hold my implant didn’t hold).
September 2011, I had another surgery for my nipples to be sown on from the skin inside my thighs.
November 2011, my mom was diagnosed a second time with Breast Cancer that came back on her skin in the same breast-lymph nodes were affected this time!
December 12, 2011 my Aunt Katherine passed away
December 20, 2011 my mom had to have surgery to remove the cancer, lymph nodes and have spacers put in.
January 2012 my Mom’s chemotherapy started and her radiation started shortly after that.
August 2012 Mom had surgery to remove spacers.
January 2013 Red spots started forming on her skin (they would eventually break open and a form sores-she had to be medicated and wrapped daily).
In September 2015, my mom decided she no longer wanted to take chemo (it was making her sick and the cancer at this point was not going away). In October we had the chance to spend the weekend together and went shopping. There was nothing for my mom to wear with this new body cancer had given her. She had no breasts, big arms from lymphedema, and a bigger belly from the chemo drugs. She felt discouraged and we left with nothing. I promised her one day I would design clothing for her body type.
December 5, 2015, Mom passed from this earth into eternity. Although she won’t be able to wear any of the clothing I have designed, I know there are so many women that will be able to. I pray this clothing line benefits many breast cancer survivors that have chosen to go flat. I pray they feel beautiful and loved when these garments touch their body that cancer has caused. Their gorgeous, new found body that is to be taken care of from the inside out! This is what we call SOUL DEEP BEAUTY at Redefined Courage.
Nikki with her beautiful family.
The Redefined Courage cuffs.