Ten years ago, I was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Breast Cancer. As I stood in front of the mirror following my double mastectomy (minus reconstruction), the despair I felt threatened to swallow me whole. Like a female humpty dumpty—I didn’t know how to put myself back together again.
Drains, scars, body-altering lumpectomies, mastectomies, painful lymph node removal, and reconstructive surgery are the reality that women undergoing breast cancer surgery face. Ten years ago, products that helped women recover were designed for comfort with little thought of style. We pinned revealing drains to hospital gowns and clothes, wore men’s sleeveless undershirts to protect healing scars, and traded in our bras from Victoria’s Secret for mastectomy bras best described as matronly looking.
Like many women, I found it hard to reclaim my identity and self-esteem as I put on my new post-surgery uniform. My husband’s sleeveless undershirt, large button-down top, and sweatpants. Comfortable? Yes. Soul destroying? You bet.
When I felt better, I became determined to help women facing all forms of cancer to have a positive, well informed, practical-yet-fashionable recovery. I co-founded a company, Cancer Be Glammed to prepare women for the body-altering, appearance-related side effects of cancer surgery and treatment and to empower them to recover with dignity, self-esteem, and personal style.
Fast forward to today…
It is Fall 2017 and a fashion revolution is underway. It is not being led by well-known designers but by cancer patients or their families and friends. These “survivor-entrepreneurs” are improving the recovery experience by designing and producing products that are functional and fashionable. They understand firsthand that the desire to look good and to feel confident about yourself is vital to physically and emotionally healing from cancer.
Beautiful bras designed for breast reconstruction, mastectomies, and lumpectomies, ultra-soft camisoles that hide drains, hip lymphedema sleeves featuring multiple patterns, and stylish ostomy swimsuits and lingerie are just a few of the survivor-inspired products that are refashioning cancer recovery. The cancer fashion police have even rehabbed the scourge of the patient experience—the depressing hospital gown. Today designer gowns and personal wraps for radiation are available.
On Cancerbeglammed.com we showcase and support survivor-entrepreneurs and their innovative, style-infused products. Like them, we want women diagnosed with cancer to know, “Cancer is ugly, but recovery doesn’t have to be.”