Double mastectomy brings joy to new mum diagnosed with cancer at 34 weeks

Elenor Tedenborg is "really happy" to have had both breasts removed. Photo / Facebook
Elenor Tedenborg is "really happy" to have had both breasts removed. Photo / Facebook

"Guess what? They're both gone."

Elenor Tedenborg, 45, admits celebrating the removal of both her breasts is strange, but she can't contain her joy.

"It might sound bizarre saying [but] I'm actually really happy about that," the Albury-based mother-of-two said in an emotional Facebook live video on Monday.

"It's all done and I'm so grateful," she said.

The past four months have been littered with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows for the former news photographer, who was diagnosed with breast cancer on November 24 and told by surgeons: "We need to get the baby out."

Little Eli was born 12 days later and chemotherapy started 12 days after that. Through it all, Tedenborg has maintained an outlook on life that radiates positivity. She's chronicled each milestone on social media and on Monday marked another one.

After being admitted to Albury Private Hospital for a single mastectomy, Tedenborg asked if both breasts could be removed. She'd heard before that cancer can return if both breasts are not removed.

She was told in frank terms that it was likely too dangerous, that removing both so close to giving birth posed a significant risk of blood loss. Then she was given a "maybe".

Her surgeon told her he'd do his best. He said he would re-evaluate after removing one breast and, if safe, would remove the other.

When she woke from surgery, she was overjoyed.

"I was wishing for a double mastectomy and I woke up and they were both gone and, you know, I couldn't have asked for a better result," Tedenborg told news.com.au.

She says she "looks like a swimmer with a pot-belly", referring to her post-birth body. But cancer has taught her, among other things, to let go.

Two days after surgery, she says she accepts her body now more than ever.

"I've lost my hair and I have no boobs but I've accepted my body for the first time in my life.

"By having everything stripped off, by losing things that I thought were me, it's helped me learn to love myself more. I've found myself in a different way."

She wants to share that message with others, even if doing so is uncomfortable. In her Facebook video, the first she's ever filmed live, Tedenborg admits she's "bloody terrified" and that it's a "good thing I'm on drugs because it probably doesn't make the fear so bad".

She told news.com.au she decided to go public with her story with the hope it helps others. Since doing so, dozens of men and women have reached out in return.

"It's restored my faith in humanity," she said. "There are so many beautiful people out there."

It's an anxious wait for what comes next for the 45-year-old who finds out preliminary results from tests of the removed tissue on Thursday and will know within seven days more conclusive results.

Whatever news she gets, good or bad, she'll share them with those supporting her in person and on social media.

- news.com.au

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