My interest in bras began in my early teens when I started to develop my little ticking time-bombs, but then grew massively over the following decades, especially during the changes my body went through during pregnancy and breast cancer surgeries.
I am a 2x breast cancer survivor and I’m thriving! I am striving for a better life and brighter future for myself and my children. I’ve racked up around 10 surgeries to date, everything from lumpectomies to mastectomies, but I’ll be honest, I have been reluctant to “find my place” in the cancer community. I didn’t want the fact that I have had cancer to “define” me as a person. I didn’t want to be identified as “the girl who has had cancer”. I just wanted to be me. And if I am completely honest, I think I have avoided cancer support groups and connections in the past, mainly because I find it all a bit overwhelming and emotional when I talk to others who have been through or are going through similar battles. I think I have been in denial for a long time. Choosing instead to focus on things that make me happy and feel positive instead of sharing sad or difficult stories with others.
People keep telling me that I am so strong. But am I? Am I really any different to anyone else? Is my body built differently? I don’t think it is. Maybe my mind and my vibe is strong, and maybe that's what carries me through these struggles life keeps throwing at me. I don’t know. But what I do know though is that breast cancer has transformed me.
I don’t think I’ll ever really have peace of mind that I am 100% safe and out the other side of the battle. Every new lump, or strange unidentified sensation is a scare to me. But I have learned that this trauma has made me appreciate every single day that I get to see my babies grow up, every tear I get to wipe from their scruffy little faces, and even every opportunity I get to put them in their place when they are giving me attitude. It has given me a passion for life like never before.
Now although I am completely comfortable wearing my good old, trusted sports bras, I have realised I need to do something about this body dysmorphia I have been wrestling with. I have decided I am going to design and develop my own range of modern, self-esteem boosting post-surgery bras for ladies who are looking for something more vibrant. Or something that doesn’t look like it was designed for their granny.
I have several years’ experience of working in the fashion industry, and I have just completed a BA (Hons) in Fashion Management at Nottingham Trent University as a mature student, and believe me, to say juggling a full-time degree course, a part time job and two young children as a single parent has been a struggle would be an understatement. But I think this is the path I was meant to end up on. Post-surgery and mastectomy bras have always looked and felt so clinical and boring to me and so I think it’s time for me to really get out of my comfort zone and do something about it. I think this is my calling and I have finally found my place in the cancer community.
I am planning to launch my new business later on this year if all goes to plan. Watch this space!