Woman Crush Wednesday Paige More ~ The Inspiring Woman Bringing Breast Cancer Survivors Together
Morning beautiful! Hope you had a wonderful holiday filled with friends and family time!
Today, we’re so honored to introduce you to Paige More, an inspiring woman who we were lucky enough to meet recently. I’ve talked to you before about how cancer has affected my family and I know so many in the TIU community have battled this disease personally or with loved ones. Your stories are always close to our hearts and we’re sending strength, love, and prayers your way every day.
When Karena and I first heard Paige’s story, we were so touched and immediately knew we had to share it with you. Paige is a TV producer based in New York City. When she was 22 years old, she decided to get tested for the BRCA1 gene mutation because she has a family history of cancer. The BRCA1 mutation can be passed down from either parent and is linked to an increased risk of breast cancer. Paige tested positive for the gene and decided to undergo a preventive double mastectomy.
To prepare for her surgery, she embraced fitness and trained daily to become as strong as she possibly could. She focused on her abs and legs because she knew she wouldn’t be able to use her arms after her surgery. Because of her training, Paige recovered quickly – she even amazed her doctors with her strength!
She decided to document her surgery and recovery on Instagram (@paige_previvor) so others going through the same thing wouldn’t feel alone. She immediately heard from women all over the world who shared their own stories about the BRCA1 gene mutation, preventive mastectomies, battling breast cancer, and being survivors and “previvors.” She started a group called “The Breasties” for women to come together and support each other through their own journeys.
We’re honored to support Paige and The Breasties because their mission is what TIU is all about – community, camaraderie, and empowerment. We’re so inspired by Paige’s strength and positivity.
We’re sharing our full interview with Paige below. Please take a moment to learn more about The Breasties and send them some love. And take this opportunity to send a message to anyone in your life or this community who may need a little extra strength and inspiration today.
Love you with all our hearts!
You got into the best shape of your life before your surgery. Why did you decide to train?
I asked my doctors, ‘What can I do to better prepare for my surgery? What can I do to be as strong as possible?’ They said nothing but I didn’t believe them and I’m glad I didn’t listen. So instead I trained. Like every single day, super intense workouts. I did some of the Tone It Up workouts because they make it so fun and you need to keep it fun. I ran almost every day, I was doing interval training. I really focused on my abs and my core because you can’t use your arms after your surgery, so you need to be able to pull yourself up. I did soo many squats, so many jumps, just to make sure my legs were really strong.
Tell us about your recovery.
My doctors all said after my surgery, ‘You proved us wrong. We would encourage everyone now to get as strong as possible before their surgeries.’ Because my recovery was unparalleled. I was able to lift my arms over my head after like five days, it normally takes about two or three weeks. So it really was incredible the power of working out, eating well, sleep, and taking care of yourself. It made a huge difference for me.
What made you decide to share your journey on Insta and Facebook?
It was the night before my surgery. I’d never planned on sharing anything but my boyfriend said, ‘I really want to post this picture of us for New Years and say I’m so proud of you and I love you and support you.’ And it meant so much to me and I was like well you know I haven’t really told anybody that I’m doing this, I should probably post first. So I just wrote a little thing on Facebook being like this is what I’m doing, this is why I’m doing it, etc. and the response was unbelievable. No one was negative, no one said anything hurtful; they were just so positive and understanding and it was really beautiful.
And so when I came home to recover from surgery, my little sister, who is 14 and has not been tested yet, wanted to take pictures. She loves Instagram, and I really didn’t want to, to be honest, I wasn’t feeling like myself. I ended up loving them. I was like this is me. I just felt so strong and so empowered and sexy. And I was like hell ya! I love these photos. So I posted one on Instagram, and I just kep taking photos that I really liked and I kept posting them and the response was unbelievable again. Women from all over the world – Australia, London, California, Texas, you name it – were reaching out saying thank you, I’m going through this too.
How has sharing your story helped you through your recovery?
I feel so lucky because I went from feeling really alone and really scared and totally isolated because I didn’t know anyone else going through this to now having this community of amazing ‘breast friends.’ I have so many breast friends and I don’t want anyone to feel alone. I never planned on sharing my story, but I’m really glad that I did because I’ve met so many incredible people.
What have been some of the most inspiring responses you received?
There have been a couple of my breasties who come to me and said, ‘I was putting off going to the doctor, I knew I had the gene, I wasn’t going to do anything, I thought I had time, and after meeting you I felt so much more comfortable and a little more ready.’ Then they go to their doctor and their doctor ends up saying, ‘I’m so glad you came because you need to get this done in the next year and you coming in now could have saved your life.’
Thank goodness we’re meeting and connecting and making our risk easier. That’s what this is about. Because alone, it’s like a workout out, right? When you do it by yourself, you’re so much less motivated. But when you have a friend who’s pushing you and is there for you and supporting you and loving you, you can do anything!
What kind of meet ups do you have with your breasties?
We recently did a guided meditation together and then we went back to my apartment and had a potluck. We do lots of workout classes. We’ve started doing events in other cities like Chicago and LA.
I just hope to be able to keep going to different cities and meeting new women and having them meet each other because it’s not about me, it’s really about connecting breasties. We can come from all different walks of life and everyone just gets along and is so happy and you can just feel the love. It’s the epitome of girl power.
Since your surgery, do you feel differently about your body?
I love my scars. I think my scars are so sexy. I definitely have had a harder time learning to love and accept my body because it’s constantly changing now. It’s a lot of adjustment but it’s really made me become so much more in tune with myself and learning how to love myself. Really take the time to appreciate your body and watch it evolve and embrace the things that you might necessarily not love but you can learn to love them.
How do you practice self care and find balance in your life?
I wake up every morning and instead of jumping on my two cellphones, I take five minutes and I just lay there and think about all the things I’m thankful for. It really helps you take the time you need and be like where am I? Because if you wake up one day and you can name a million things you’re thankful for or a million things that are making you feel good or happy, you’re like okay, I’m in a good place, let’s do this.
Do you have a personal mantra?
Be a warrior, not a worrier. That’s constantly going through my mind.
What advice would you give other women who are thinking about getting tested?
I think that as corny as this is, knowledge really is power and there’s nothing more important than knowing about your body and knowing about your genes. I think it’s so important to know your family history, know your family risk. If it does run in your family, go talk to a genetic counselor and see what your options are. And definitely make sure you have some good breasties because it’s a lot harder to go through it by yourself.