Meet Woman You Should Know Maxine Devereaux. The short story author, novelist, and screenwriter just added model to her list of titles as she’s currently gracing the cover of the launch issue of Enspire Magazine. But it’s not her make-up, jewelry or couture ensemble that make this cover so compelling… it’s her mastectomy scars that she is proudly baring for all the world to see in a historic first.
“I’m not hiding. I know too many women who are ashamed and afraid to bare their scars. I get that and I support them in their journey. However, before I leave this earth, I feel it is imperative that I expose the true face of breast cancer.”Maxine was diagnosed with Stage 3C triple negative breast cancer in the fall of 2010 at age 45. This is the last stage before breast cancer metastasizes in the body. She had her “favorite breast” (her left one) removed in 2011 and also received chemo. Her second breast was eventually removed in late 2012.
Her grueling and invasive treatments came after doing all the right things – mammogram, ultrasound, and biopsy. She shared with Enspire, “All my tests came back negative, yet I knew something wasn’t right because I had a lump in my breast and I was in pain. After visiting 5 different doctors that all told me I was ok, the 6th doctor finally listened to me and discovered the cancer.”
The gripping image of her mastectomy scars is a means to her noble and selfless end… to share her story in the hopes of moving people to understand how imperative it is to be proactive about their own health. “Too often we just take what the doctors tell us without question, even when we feel contrary. We must understand that doctors don’t always know the answer and they don’t always get it right.”
The proud breast cancer warrior also wants to bring awareness and freedom to other women fighting the same battle. “We live in a society where it is ok to bare your breasts, bare your behind, or even open wounds. However, baring our scars or showing flaws is an unacceptable representation of our human existence. Blemishes, stretch marks, and mastectomy scars aren’t allowed.”
Maxine, who was not a candidate for breast reconstruction post-mastectomy due to also having Lupus, is attempting to change all that. She proudly lives with her scars and uses prosthetic breasts. But there’s a big problem with prosthetics that most people don’t talk about. Maxine explained, “The prosthetics that are offered for African American women are pink. Our skin tone is not a consideration in what they offer to simulate our breasts.” We had no idea.
In speaking about Maxine’s interview and October/November cover, Lena White-Anderson, Co-Owner & Co-Founder of Enspire Magazine told WYSK, “We were blessed to meet a beautiful spirit who was willing to share her story of “thriving” with not just us, but the world. This was extremely brave of her to do, and she did it not because anyone asked her too but because she has an incredible message about women being proactive in their health care.”
Lena added, “The image is one that has never been done. Nowhere in the history of publishing has a woman bared her mastectomy scars and face. Nowhere has anyone chosen to be blunt and bring awareness by revealing what so many people prefer to hide.”
Maxine is currently finishing her book – “My Last Breast” – which details her journey through breast cancer. She is also producing a one woman show entitled, “Breastless Confessions”, and a book of poetry based on her thoughts, experiences and emotion surrounding breast cancer.