This month marked 6 years since a weight was lifted from me – I became completely breastless. Of course the real game changer was 6 years and 6 months earlier, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer and had my first breast removed. But the day I no longer had breasts, has its own significance for me. The uncomfortable 6 months of treatment, the awful preventative medication, the self-conscious living with one breast and the awkward inability to know what to wear with one, was gone. My life really changed forever in April of 2014 and I love the fact that I can safely say, it has only gotten better and better since then.
With time, anyone can get over something that happens to them, but you will never ever go back to the way you were before; you can’t. I mean let’s get real, even just from a physical point of view, being completely flat chested left me feeling like a teenager yet to develop, not to mention the emotional changes I faced. I reflect on how I felt back then (it seems so long ago now) and considering it all, I think I did pretty well taking it all in my stride. I’m giving myself a pat on the back for punching through it all, because now, I can really appreciate all the wonder in life.
Today, I am more than comfortable in my own skin and really wouldn’t know what to do with boobs if I had them back. I’d probably find them a real inconvenience actually, not to mention how annoyed I would be having to spend money I’m on bras and the like again! This I can say from a really clear head space – time and reflection have helped enormously. However, I would have to say that the emotions of living with the aftermath of breast cancer still flare up for me, although less frequently. I imagine they would for all cancer survivors, if they are honest.
4 months ago I started writing a blog, as I was feeling incredibly sorry for myself, feeling that this memory of breast cancer never leaves me and hating that it had ever happened to me. These feelings didn’t come out of the blue for me – my emotions relating to breast cancer are usually triggered by something that’s happened. So here goes…
On Christmas Day, a fall off my bike had me land with the full force of my handle bars onto my scars. The pain was agonising and I was left bruised and battered with a hematoma and fractured ribs. When the paramedics arrived, I had to share my story all over again, bare my scars and be reminded of how once again, my cancer chest had made my injury that much worse. I kept cycling over and over again in my mind, that if I hadn’t had this silly cancer and still had breasts, none of this would have happened. If the handle bars had landed anywhere else, none of this would have happened. I don’t really think about my cancer much anymore, but the memories of my cancer came rushing back in an instant.
I spent most of the following month with minimal movement, sitting on my lounge feeling sad and sorry for myself. It’s fair to say, I was well and truly down in the dumps. And what I know from my experience is, that no matter what the cause, when you are feeling extremely low physically, it can be so hard to drag yourself out of that despair. The world around you goes on, but for you, the injured, it’s a very different story.
Not long after my injury, a friend of mine had a terrible accident which left her with a horrible knee and ankle injury. It dawned on me that during my 6 weeks of injury, I was playing the breast cancer victim but in reality, unfortunate things happen to people all the time, not just poor little old me. When I reminded myself that bad stuff doesn’t just happen to me, I started to snap out of feeling sorry for myself. Gradually I stopped dwelling on the negative and changed my mindset. I focused on the physical improvements from my injury and when I did that, both my body and my mind began to slowly heal.
But here’s the thing. Once you’ve had cancer, you can sometimes have a fearful mindset, just waiting for the next bad thing to happen. And my injuries on Christmas Day, really brought back all those memories. While I don’t feel my breast cancer has any particularly traumatic memories for me, I guess when it comes down to it, it was just such a life changing experience for me. Anything that is life changing, even if the outcome is a positive one, really stays with you. The death of someone close, the end of a special relationship, the loss of a body part or your mobility, all of these life changing experiences change you irreversibly. It’s very hard to not go back to the fear you remember, when other things go wrong.
Which makes me think about life now for everyone. My injury prevented me from doing what I would normally be doing. It took control away from me and really affected my mental health. Right now, COVID-19 is having this same effect on everyone, not being able to do what makes them feel good and normal. I feel grateful for not having to go through my cancer at a time like this. Right now, it would be so hard to cope when you need the hugs and the close contact with those who love and care for you. I’m sending so much virtual love and care to anyone right now having to isolate from those they need the most. All of life’s upheavals really are proof that our journey of life is always full of ups and downs, lack of control, change, new beginnings, shock, uncertainty and loss. The more we can open ourselves up to go with the flow and accept that life is always going to be somewhat unpredictable and uncertain, the more we will cope and thrive no matter what life throws at us.
On a positive note, online shopping has been one of the only things that has remained a constant for me in this time and for that I am truly grateful. I have had ample time to explore lots of different breastless options and while we don’t have anywhere to go and don’t have any reason to buy them just now, we will again. Being wardrobe prepared is essential for any breastless babe so we need to relish this opportunity.
Most of the time, we recover and come out the other side of adversity. After all, I recovered from my cancer, I recovered from my bike fall and we will come out the other side of this COVID-19 experience with a wardrobe of amazing clothes to wear and an appreciation of life’s highs. And while the lows feel like they will go on forever, hope is so important. Spreading that hope to those we love, who need help to feel it right now, is even more important.
So with all the time we have on our hands, enjoy the online browsing and shopping. I’ll leave you with these breastless bargains I found in my solitude and hope they bring you as much hope for the future as they do me. And here is the beautiful breastless dress which nearly killed me on my bike last Christmas!! Have a laugh – I know I am now 🙂
Mister Zimi Cleo Dress is Sea Breeze
Now enjoy some of the items I have in my wishlist right now. I don’t have many pictures of me wearing these breastless items but let’s face it, I’ve had no where to go.
Portmans has some great dresses and tops at the moment with beautiful patterns that don’t sit tightly on the chest. I am a particular fan of the tops with lace detail or layers which detract from the chest perfectly.
Spell have some gorgeous fabrics and love to add in a ruffle or feature at the chest which blends the breastless chest making it unnoticeable.
Spell Hanalei Blouse
I loved the features of this Forever New top with the pattern and pleat to make hidden the breastless chest.
This gorgeous Tigerlily Dress was a winner for me this summer (I had it in a pink colour but can’t find a pic of me wearing it), sitting just slightly off the chest to make it comfortable but disguisable.
And last but not least, Mister Zimi will always be a favourite label of mine with their loose, colourful and feminine designs which are so often perfect for the breastless chest. These are my favourite from their new range.
Have a wonderful week.
I am breastless and beautiful.