This weekend I was lucky enough to share my story with some amazing women who supported a local breast cancer fundraiser. While waiting to present, mingling with people and sipping on champagne, I looked around the room and realised that nearly every person in that room would have been touched in some way by breast cancer.
Some would have been victims, some would have been family members or friends of someone who has suffered from the disease. There wouldn’t be one person in that room who didn’t at least know someone who had been through breast cancer.
But there were also those people out there who hadn’t been closely affected by breast cancer but who, knowing the high statistics of breast cancer, took the time to learn more about the disease and how it could potentially affect their lives one day. I applaud these fabulous women for taking the time to acknowledge something very real in the community.
It’s always hard to know exactly what to say when I present. I’m never quite sure if people want to know my story and if so, how much detail do I give? Do they mostly want to know about my treatment and how good or bad it was or is it the emotional side of cancer that they’re most intrigued about? Do they want to know about my recovery and life after cancer or do they want to know what they should look out for in the way of detection?
I never really see myself as anyone who is any different from anyone else. I guess my point of difference lies in that I am someone who has experienced something that others may not have. And I guess that always sparks an interest in people, especially from women who are in the same age bracket as me and become aware that in fact, this too, could happen to them.
So once again with fear I took the microphone and it wasn’t with expertise that I stood up there, but with passion. I have always believed that I survived breast cancer to pass the message of awareness and body connection on to every person I come in contact with. My point of connection with people is that I am real and somewhat of a normal person like them, and breast cancer did happen to me.
I never like to hear of the worry, but recently a friend of mine felt something alarming in her breast. She went through the series of appointments that you do when this type of thing happens and I could empathise completely with her while she played the waiting game. I was delighted that she had received the all clear but my joy came when she said to me that she never would have done anything about it until she met me; until someone who made cancer something real to her, told her what I had been through.
They often say people can’t learn lessons until they’ve experienced it for themselves – but why should we be like that? Why can’t we get smarter and learn from other people’s experiences to make our lives better? Why should we be complacent and wait until breast cancer happens to us? I am a firm believer that we should all be equipped with the knowledge of something to give us the best fighting chance of survival, if that unfortunate day was to come our way. I want to be the one who got sick so others don’t have to. I have taken this one for the team.
So the crux of what I had to say at the fundraiser was a combination of all of the above thoughts so as to address all the concerns some women might have. It may not have been the most polished presentation but I hope that it inspired at least one woman to take notice of their body. The most important message for me to share (and I fear continuously repeating myself) is to know your own body. Sometimes people need to hear things over and over until the message sinks in.
Breast cancer does not present the same way in every woman. It is so important for you to know your body all over while it is healthy, so that you can notice if they were to change. I know it sounds silly but feel your body, feel your breasts and feel every nook of you. You are honestly the best person to see change in you and you could save your own life.
There are so many fabulous people who organise events like this one because they are selfless people who have in some way been touched or motivated by cancer in their lives. Breast cancer research and survival rates have improved enormously because of their combined effort.
I encourage each and every one of you to get behind something that drives you. Do it from the goodness within to make this world a healthier and better place. Nothing is hard work if you enjoy it and if something you enjoy becomes rewarding, so too does your life in so many ways.
A company that is doing just that is New Zealand Company Flat Out Tali. The founder Tali was inspired by her encounter with a double mastectomy and choice of no reconstruction to create a world of flattering fashion and emotional empowerment. FLAT OUT TALI has been created to offer a contemporary and chic collection of stylish tops and accessories for women with flatter physiques.
FLAT OUT TALI also shares my beliefs of empowering women to feel good about themselves — and truly love and appreciate all the wonderful qualities they possess — whatever their physique.
FLAT OUT TALI’s designs for flatter women offer superior quality, classically fashionable,smart-casual garments that flatter the figure using luscious fabrics, intriguing patterns, and higher necklines. These can be perfectly accessorised with their beautiful scarves, unique jewellery, fashion tips, and much more.
If this appeals to you, I encourage you to visit their website. They kindly sent me two tops which I show you today and I couldn’t get over how comfortable they are to wear. While they have a great accessory range of their own, I today pair the plain black top with some fantastic jewellery from Adorne. I hope you find something at Flat Out Tali that suits your beautiful breastless chest.
Have a wonderful week,
I am breastless and beautiful.
Love, Gen x