Please click and drag the white arrows to see my underwater transformation.
My name is Anitra, I’m 48 years old. I was born in Pennsylvania and grew up in Southern California and then San Francisco in my twenties.
The history of your cancer and survival story.
Stage 3B Triple Positive Breast Cancer. My entire story can be found on my YT channel: (1314) Funkalicious Feline (Anitra’s Breast Cancer Diary) – YouTube
It has been a harrowing journey since 10/22/2017 diagnosis. I had a “failed” breast reconstruction that ultimately resulted in my choosing an AFC- Aesthetic flat closure. Then in 2020 during covid I had a severe bleeding episode that landed me in the ER for two days and since then I have been dealing with a rare blood disorder and the fallout of having an oophorectomy which put me into immediate surgical menopause…the results of which have been harder than cancer to deal with.
What (or who) inspired you and why did you want to be involved in the Underwater Transformation Project?
My friend Tara Coyote was the one who referred me to Erena. I saw her stunning underwater photos and learned of the project and thought it would feel so good and be so healing to do this for myself. I also wanted to be a possible inspiration for any other women who have elected an AFC. I wanted to show that we too could still be feminine. That we are uniquely beautiful with all of our parts, or lack thereof of parts. 🙂 It has been a long and still unfolding journey of accepting myself as I am since I went through cancer, treatment, surgical menopause, the weight gain that came with menopause and adjusting to no breasts. I have an amazing partner now who is the Love of My Life and he has helped me accept myself as well because of our profound love and the way he loves and cherishes me exactly as I am. I thought there was NO WAY a man would accept me with no breasts, as I am. And not only do I have A man, I have the BEST man. We have a romance novel love story that is grounded in real life and I want other women to know that they can have that too, no matter what we’ve gone through with our health. Being underwater.
What were your plans for the photo shoot?
I dug through my costume bin and pulled out that red tulle jacket. It was perfect underwater! I love the way it flowed. I have a deep relationship with the blood in my body due to the health struggles I deal with…and the jacket represented that for me…my flowing blood.
How was the experience with an underwater portrait session?
I did have a hard time with water going up my nose. I felt a little dizzy and nauseous after I had been tumbling about in the water for awhile. I think my nervous system is a bit sensitive in general; and adding in (faint) chlorine, tumbling around, not eating well and maybe being a bit dehydrated contributed to a feeling of “un-wellness” at the end of our shoot. I LOVED the feeling of moving through the water, using my arms to express the feeling inside and being able to open my eyes somewhat. I felt an intimacy with the water that was beautiful. And Erena made me feel very comfortable with her calm, soothing, playful demeanor.
How was your mood after you finished?
I felt weightless, I felt free, I felt light, I felt like I was floating in the womb of creation. I felt happy, I felt peaceful. I loved the way I could move so effortlessly underwater.
How did you sleep the night of the photo shoot?
I didnt feel well and that last for another day or so. I think I may have gotten water in my head. I didnt notice a big difference in my sleep, either way.
What does water mean to you?
Its something akin to the amniotic fluid of this great Mother Earth we live on. Its powerful, yet yielding. Its embracing, yet can crush you in an instant. The warm, powerful embrace of a Mother. It can hold us and it can push us. Water is life. Water makes up the majority of our body and we cant go long without it. Going through chemo and the treatment of cancer stripped me of the vitality (water) in my body and it has been a slow building of that process for me, to regain that vitality. Being in the water helped with that process.
What is your dream?
Wow, big question! I plan to live 40 more years with my lover/best friend/partner. We are both 48 and I want to live with him for 40 more years til we are 88! Eight is our number, the symbol of infinity and so much more. I want to watch my 14-year-old mature into a young woman and take her life on! I want to see her creations, passions and idas come to life as she grows up. My relationship with her is extremely important to me. She means the world to me. I want to continue to share my story as it unfolds, through the videos (and posts) I make on Youtube. I want to continue living a life of truth, honesty and raw, decadent simplicity – a contradiction. I love being a contradiction! My partner and I are planning to be in a punk rock band together! its always been a dream of mine to sing. I have been a closeted singer for a long time and I want to let that out…not so much that I have an amazing voice, but I want to put my heart feelings and brain thinkings out into the world. I want to put my insides on my outside in the form of song. I love this question, thank you <3
Do you think this experience could help overcome your trauma?
I certainly feel it has helped me in an emotional way. Being able to see myself in photos without breasts. And there are actually a few good shots. I was concerned I wouldn’t like any of them! I would do it again. I loved the photos in jeans too. I liked putting the outside world under water and bringing in something that is a contrast, contradiction….
Next time I would maybe want to wear latex or do shibari and demonstrate more of my sensuality. Being thrust into surgical menopause robbed me of some of my sensuality in a way I wasnt expecting and I would love to tap more into that part of myself on film. I am slowly re-building that part of my life and learning how to do so..I want to show others that they can still be sexy and sensual and HOT, even without breasts and after menopause.
How was Erena working with you?
She was fabulous! She puts me at ease. I loved the experience. She really helped me in the end which I was very grateful for. I wish I would’ve been better prepared for the possibility of feeling nauseous. If I would have drank more water, eaten a better meal and (had anti-nausea medicine with me) that would have helped a lot. I think it was hard for me because I drove so far too, that was very exhausting. She was professional, friendly, kind and warm and all of that helped with the experience. She was open to my ideas (with the rings) and I appreciated that. She is super hip and cool! and I loved that very much too.
Would you recommend underwater transformation to other survivors or anyone?
I would recommend this experience for other trauma survivors. In fact, I already have. I sent your link to a friend up here. Unfortunately there are too many trauma survivors these days. Feeling beautiful, feeling weightless, allowing the water to hold us…it healing for anybody. Being able to have these unique photos to look back on is special too.
I would recommend one: eats well, sleeps well, prepares that there may be water going up their nose and it might be uncomfortable if they have health issues. Drink lots of water, be hydrated, have tylenol incase you have a headache and bring snacks.
Thank you SOOO much for this opportunity!
Im excited to go through the photos.
I would love to do this again with Erena….