Sunday, 3 July 2011

Future Imperfect

Over the last few days I've been thinking about several things. The first was triggered by a question from a friend, the rest by discovering how breast cancer affects your life at even the most mundane of levels.

Thinking about the future.

One of the first things that crosses the mind of anyone diagnosed with cancer is 'do I have a future?' It was certainly one of those thoughts that popped up time and again as I dealt with not only having cancer in the first place but knowing that my 5 year survival rate was less than spectacular. In my darkest hours I didn't see much point in planning for any sort of future at all, convinced that I'd soon be dead anyhow. Common sense did finally kick in at some point when I decided that whilst the percentage for survival wasn't brilliant there's no point in panicking just yet when I've only just finished 8 months of gruelling treatment.

Someone asked me recently if I had drawn up a 'Bucket List' and was rather surprised when I responded with an emphatic NO! Why not? To me the thoughts of having a definitive list of must do things is an anathema because I plan on being around for as long as possible and having this sort of list says to me that I know cancer is going to kill me soon. The thing is, I don't plan on dying any time soon so I won't be compiling any sort of list of things to do before I die. What do I do when I get to the end of the list and I'm still here?? I know of course that I'd probably feel different about this if I had stage 4 or secondary recurrence but I haven't, so this sort of planning really does seem kind of defeatist to me.

On to the more mundane!

OMFG but it's hard to find clothes and underwear that actually fits, never mind the outrageous cost of most mastectomy clothing! I've realised that finding clothing that works and looks age-appropriate/pretty (as in not 'mutton dressed as lamb') is proving to be extremely hard to find. Pretty much all manufacturers of mastectomy bras don't go down to a 30D or if they do they want twice the price of a standard bra in the same size which I cannot afford. Ditto for clothes; it's absolutely fine if I want to live in t-shirts and jeans/capri pants but what about when I want to wear something floaty, pretty and summery? The answer to that is pretty much 'tough luck' because specialist mastectomy clothing mainly starts at a UK 10 and I am a size 6/8 and most things on the high street in sizes that would fit come into one of two categories - seriously not age appropriate and cut too low that even with a mastectomy bra just wouldn't look right or cover up the scars that are not under the bra.

It is so depressing!

It feels like anything even resembling a 'normal life' is very hard to achieve. It's difficult enough when you are dealing with the emotional trauma of it all to find that things are compounded by being unable to do a quite basic thing like buy suitable clothing.

Manufacturers wake up and hear me roar!

I am not the only woman in the world (or indeed the UK!) facing this problem, please do something about it. We are standing here with the cash to spend and nowhere to spend it!

I am seriously considering a letter campaign to many of the top manufacturers to bring this to their attention. Breast cancer is hard enough to deal with in the first place without it being very hard to buy even a basic bra or clothing that fits!

This is something that I am sure I will be posting about again because I feel so strongly about it. You have been warned and the next time you get in touch for a chat please don't ask me what once in a lifetime trips/experiences I have lined up because I'm not going anywhere just yet!

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