A story of empowerment and confidence - going flat!

A story of empowerment and confidence - going flat!

My name is Victoria Simo from Houston, Texas. I was a professional ballerina with Houston Ballet and Texas Ballet Theater for over 10 years. I was lucky enough to marry my high school sweetheart and we have two young children. We have had such a happy life together! After retiring from my childhood dream job as a ballet dancer, I opened my studio Ballet and Pilates by Victoria. I wanted to build a positive community around the joys of moving your body and feeling strong. I love that I get to share my passion each and every day. 

In December of 2019 I had a routine 3D mammogram at the age of 37.  The large mass was found near my breast bone and I also tested positive for BRCA. I found an amazing all female oncology team at the Texas Medical Center. Everything moved so very fast. I was immediately placed on oral chemo and endless tests. I needed a double mastectomy and a total hysterectomy. I researched as much as I could before meeting with my breast surgeon. I knew I wanted to do everything I could to get back to my babies as fast as possible. I could not wrap my head around having additional surgeries for breast reconstruction or feel comfortable about putting foreign objects inside my body. I felt confident about the aesthetic flat closure. My surgery was over 8 hours long. Recovery was painful and slow with the drains. I dealt with a chest infection on my scar that slowed the healing process. My mom moved in to help me heal. She helped me remove my bandages and sit on a stool to give me a shower. She told me over and over how beautiful I was. After, I saw my reflection in the mirror, I was hunched over, black bruises, swollen everywhere, a softball size infection on my 16 inch incision and pale face. My breasts, ovaries and uterus had been removed, but I was more woman than ever before. I was still standing. A few months later I found out I had metastatic thyroid cancer. I was thankful I chose to be flat and was not needing additional breast reconstruction while I was having neck surgery and radiation. 

After ringing the bell, I had to be introduced to my new body. I found that our true womaness, sexuality and femininity is within. I love my body and what it has done for me and where it is taking me. I stand proud. I have chosen not to wear prosthetics. I want you to see my strength, my courage, my beauty, my scars. 

Human beings are amazing. I am still in awe of what my family, my friends and complete strangers have done for me while fighting. I will never forget my customers coming to my front lawn with candles to sing Silent Night. I will carry that memory in my heart forever.

If you are touched by my cancer, I would tell you that you have only one job–to get healthy. That’s it. Women do so much–screw it–women run the world, but you cannot when you are ill. You must stop for this one time in your life and fight for you!

I am grateful I beat cancer. I am grateful I get to squeeze my little babies at night. I am grateful for my loving and supportive husband. I am grateful I am strong enough to teach Pilates at my studio. I am grateful I can share my story and help women that are just starting this journey. 

I am so lucky to have found Elastique Athletics. I have been dealing with lymphedema since my double mastectomy. It has been difficult to find a soft material that has enough compression under the arm. I worked with a Breast Specialist for 6 months and learned the benefits about lymphatic drainage and bra support. I wear athletic clothing 7 days a week and am thrilled to know that the clothing I am wearing is supporting my health. I am obsessed with the L’Original Bra and L’Original 27” legging. I can wear them all day! Honestly, I even forget that the outfit has beads. I wish I would have found them earlier! 

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