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This Breast Cancer Survivor Chronicled Her Journey By Dressing Up Like Famous Movie Characters

Breast cancer survivor Bethany Pendergrass had an unusual way to cope with the grueling treatments she needed to help her combat her cancer—dressing up like famous movie characters—and her unique approach is inspiring people everywhere.

 

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A post shared by Beth Bagwell Pendergrass (@instabeth505) on Apr 20, 2019 at 10:41am PDT

“Through research, I had learned that a number of individuals impacted by cancer recommended keeping a journal. I knew I didn’t want to keep just any journal,” Pendergrass said.

“I wanted a clever way to document my journey—to take a challenging experience and turn it into something positive. My pictures kept me focused on the positive. They gave me an outlet to share my experiences and even to work through the emotions that come with a cancer diagnosis.”

Pendergrass, 40, from Albuquerque, New Mexico, felt a lump in her breast in May 2018. She was later diagnosed with stage two breast cancer.

“It wasn’t so much that I was afraid I couldn’t do it, it was more that I knew I had to do it, and I knew it was going to be hard. I had to choose to be strong,”‘ Pendergrass said.

 

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A post shared by Beth Bagwell Pendergrass (@instabeth505) on Jan 13, 2019 at 10:31am PST

On her Instagram account, Pendergrass shared a weekly picture of herself dressed up for 82 weeks. Some characters? Janet Leigh in Psycho, Charlize Theron in Mad Max, Miss Piggy, Jack Nicholson in The Shining, Marilyn Monroe, and Wonder Woman. Each picture was accompanied by a description of the treatments and setback of the week.

The pictures helped Pendergrass deal with the treatment, which consisted of chemotherapy, a lumpectomy with reconstruction on both breasts, and then later a right-side mastectomy and reconstruction, as well as 30 rounds of radiation.

 

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A post shared by Beth Bagwell Pendergrass (@instabeth505) on Nov 18, 2018 at 4:36pm PST

Now, 21 months after her diagnosis, and with her latest scan showing “no evidence of disease,” Bethany is working on the last picture in the series—although she will still have to take medication every three weeks and has a breast implant procedure in the future.

 

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A post shared by Beth Bagwell Pendergrass (@instabeth505) on Oct 13, 2018 at 1:11pm PDT

“My final picture will be with my oncologist and my radiation oncologist,” she said. “I will be able to look back on them and remember that I am a strong person—I am a survivor and a fighter.”

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