A 35-year-old breast cancer survivor has embraced her scars and wants to empower other women to do the same.
Trina Cleary recently shared a photo of herself on social media in a bid to normalise mastectomies.
At a recent holiday, she also went topless on the beach, RSVP Live reports.
The 35-year-old mother said: "It’s incredibly daunting posing for that picture but that's more of a self-confidence thing and insecure thinking everyone would be staring - I would be like that mastectomy or not.”
“After posing at the beach I wouldn't be too shy about walking around topless. I'm proud of my scar and totally in love with it.”
Trina has also urged women to get checked out "as soon as you feel something is unusual," after she waited five months before visiting a doctor.
Trina admits while she found the lump in early 2018 she initially put it to the back of her mind, “I ignored it. I figured “it’s just girl thing” and it would just go” she admits.
She said: “It felt just like a bit of grizzle or a fatty lump. It was movable. At times it was painful – usually around “that time of the month” and it grew as time went on. I was worried but didn’t really speak to anyone about it.”
“As the months went by it grew and I had a sinking feeling that something was wrong yet still put off going to the doctor out of embarrassment mostly and fear of what may come of it.”
After she went to the doctor’s she was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer. The lump which was originally pea-sized was now something which could no longer be ignored.
She said: “Visibly you could see a difference in the size of both my breasts, my bra was tighter on that breast."
“Whenever I did my self-examination I had that sinking feeling in my gut and I just knew. That gut feeling is rarely wrong.”
While initially, doctors believed the lump was most likely a cyst, a mammogram showed it was cancer, by the time Trina was diagnosed, the cancer had spread to the lymph nodes in her armpit.
However, she also urges other women to know the importance of checking your breasts and taking action as early as possible, even if they think any changes are harmless.
She said: “I wasn't too young, I wasn't too healthy, I wasn't too fit, cancer doesn't discriminate on these factors so if any young girl (or boy) feels something is unusual, I would urge them to be seen. Minding yourself is nothing to be ashamed of.
“If I could go back and give myself advice it would be to go to the doctor sooner if I had, I feel this journey would have been a very different one.”
However, she admits that she has changed as a person and learned a great deal from her experience, revealing: “Yes, the journey I have been on wasn't a great one, but I feel like a new person now I have come out the other side. Almost like a new lease of life.”
“I don't sweat the small stuff anymore because life really is too short. I learned that I am stronger than I give myself credit for.”
Photos: Tri Cleary/Instagram