Ch 1: Ugly Diagnosis
Ch 2: Sexy lingerie
Finding myself a bra that was comfortable and that made me feel sexy once again had suddenly turned into a herculean task. I wanted to continue to define myself as a woman; not a cancer patient with one boob. The process was an uphill struggle to say the least, surely finding a well-fitting bra that would hold a prosthetic shouldn’t be this hard? Am I the only person my size who has ever had a mastectomy? Granted I am smaller than the average 23 year old, but I wanted to wear pretty, colorful bras… not the ones from the 1950’s that were repeatedly thrust in my face in ugly styles and non-trendy colours. What stung me the most were the ladies who handed them to me. The initial disbelief then condescending sympathy by double-breasted women at the retail outlets was the last thing I needed. I struggled to find anything that would even fit, let alone be appealing to look at and make me feel sexy.
I know that there is plenty of support available for people dealing with cancer on both ends of the spectrum, Children, Middle aged and elderly. But for a young woman in her 20’s first diagnosed with breast cancer… sadly things have been a little more than just difficult. I am not a child, I did not need to be told that my situation was ok and that everything would be fine when quite frankly it was not; it is not ok to have breast cancer at any age, especially at 23. What I needed was to be told what to expect, to hear those intricate little details from someone who had been through this before, with no filter and at a relatable age. Naturally at age 23, I needed some support from someone who wouldn’t have settled for anything less than to feel sexy again.
Ch 3: Finding Purpose
My goal now is to help young women who have been through or are going through this, so that they have someone who can really relate to them when they are going through this dreadful life threatening experience. I want to be that someone who they can share their thoughts with; that someone they can shop for their sexy lingerie or bikinis with! I want there to be a greater awareness that this is a disease that affects younger women too; that breast cancer is not simply a disease restricted to the more mature. I could have done without the isolation, the disbelief and the sympathy. I could have done with someone who really knew.
If you’re a younger woman with a diagnosis, send me a message and we will get through it together.
*The writer is a commercial pilot, a university student, a fitness enthusiast and a cancer survivor. She currently resides in Auckland, New Zealand.