Friday, 4 January 2013

A new direction for 2013

The main reason I started writing this blog in 2010 was to provide myself with an outlet for my thoughts on dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis and to chronicle what happened to me along the way. I think it is fair to say that thus far, it has not been an easy road to travel with so many awful things happening along the way. I am however, over the worst for now and whilst I will still be adding posts about my treatment and life generally in respect of how it all affects me both physically and emotionally, there are other things I also want to write about.

One of the things I have noticed over the last two years is that although there are some truly wonderful blogs and websites out there, there are in fact very few that offer a place where those with breast cancer can find honest reviews on things like mastectomy bras for different occasions, sizes and budgets. Where to purchase a wig and how to wear it and look after it. What sort of hats suit different faces and where to buy ones that not only fit but do not break the bank! Cosmetics that help make us feel and look a little better both during treatment and after it has finished especially advice on how to do things like drawing on eyebrows during chemotherapy. If like me, you do not live near a support group or too far away from places where you can attend something wonderful like a Breast Cancer Care Headstrong session, information on how to do some basic things like this makes such a difference to your quality of life at a time when small comforts mean a lot.

It's the little things that make all the difference.

Then there is all those important things that help you deal with the effects of treatment. Yes, there are plenty of lists floating around detailing all the sort of things to consider but I could find very few places where there were proper reviews written by those who were actually most in need of the products - us! For example, I wanted to know not just that X type of toothpaste helped with sore gums but which brands were best and why. It sounds silly but you would not believe the difference it made knowing which actual makes of things were the most chemo-patient-friendly and, if you were on a small budget, which of the lower cost ones worked best. I went through 3 different types of toothpaste and umpteen different types of toothbrush before getting a combination that worked for me. As I suffered terribly with Mucositis and mouth ulcers this was a very big deal at the time.

Having discovered for myself just how hard it is to actually find much of this information in just one place, I decided that I would have a go at providing as much of it as I could myself, based on my own experiences and that of friends in a similar position. I will draw on almost 20 years experience of writing various types of reviews in my quest to bring you the kind of information I was unable to find.

It doesn't stop there however because one of the things that has truly aggrieved me since having a mastectomy is just how poorly we are served as far as mastectomy wear is concerned. Yes, there are plenty of very good brands out there selling very pretty bras but at such a cost that for most of us these are special occasion items not ones we can afford for everyday use. Oh and absolutely forget it if you do not conform to what most manufacturers see as a 'normal' range of sizes. If you require a larger cup size then the chances are you will be faced with virtually no choices at all and if like me you are very small, then once again the number of bras available to you is pretty dismal. Then there is the confusing advice about exactly what sort of bra one should be wearing. I have had so much conflicting advice that I really don't know who to trust when it comes to this sort of thing and as a result I've pretty much given up on ever getting something suitable.

The same actually applies to mastectomy-friendly clothing, in that basically it's more a question of finding out all the things that don't work than discovering what does! I used to love wearing dresses now I live in jeans and T-shirts as it's impossible to find things that work in either my size or my budget.

I want to examine why, when so many women (1 in every 8) have to cope with these problems, so many of us are left struggling to find the basic necessities that breast cancer surgery leaves us needing. I will be endeavouring to enter into a dialogue with some of the manufacturers and retail giants to see if there are ways in which some of these issues can be addressed.

That's for the future though. In the meantime I am building up a list of things I have here at home that I want to review for you. I will start very shortly and these will come in the form of both written and filmed reviews, plus I am going to provide some 'How to' videos to pass on some tips I've learned over the past couple of years.

As they say - watch this space! :)

1 comment:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.