Hoda Kotb knows the struggles and obstacles one faces when battling cancer all too well.
While the Today Show co-anchor has been cancer-free for six years now, she admits that accepting her post-treatment body image is a continued work in progress.
"The breast cancer I had required an extensive eight hour surgery, which included a mastectomy and reconstruction. I had a hip-to-hip incision as well as more incisions on my chest. Let me tell you: it looks like a roadmap," she wrote as part of Today's "Love Your Selfie" series.
"There are two phases post surgery. There's the 'OMG, they got it' reaction and you are just so happy they got the cancer. You are so grateful, and you think, 'I don't care what my body looks like, I am just happy to be here.' I still feel that deep in my soul every day. This is the body I have and I'll take it."
She continued, "But I'd be lying if I didn't say there is a second phase, a window of time where you don't even want to look at yourself. It's jarring. I remember a moment in the hospital when a nurse said she needed to help bathe me and I had to be standing up, in front of a mirror. I told her, ‘Please, just turn me around. I'd rather not see it.'"
However, as time went on, Kotb says she just became grateful for the body that she has—scars and all—even if she does "still pull and tug" on her bathing suits or workout clothes, or admits that she may never feel 100 percent again.
"You gradually learn to accept your body after cancer. I have always been pretty happy inside. My outsides come and go, whether it's because of gray hairs or scars. All that stuff is going to be there, but I feel if I am comfortable with who I am on the inside, I will always be OK."
Additionally, Hoda offers advice to those who may feel down about their post-cancer body image, which is mainly to remember that someone else always has it worse. "If you are worried about how you look and how you feel, just take the focus off yourself," she wrote. "Turn the spotlight somewhere else and in the process, you'll realize that you feel so much better."
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