Why did I open Mastectomy Lingerie and More?
To provide a place with beautiful products for women that have just been diagnosed or have been through breast cancer that help them feel confident and comfortable.
It is a store where women can browse through a variety of clothing products, bras, swimwear and tops knowing that all clothing products can accommodate a breast form. They can feel that they have choices just like they did before breast cancer.
I was diagnosed with breast cancer in July 2007 at the age of 35. With never having anyone close to me (thankfully) go through breast cancer, I was unprepared for the shopping experience of buying mastectomy products - breast prosthesis, special bras and bathing suits with pockets to hold the breast forms.
My bra drawer before breast cancer was filled with colourful bras and some matching panties - now my choices seemed limited and in styles I would never have considered before. It was disappointing and it became about buying a bra out of necessity – not for fun.
I did not feel comfortable or sexy in them, and did not feel confident about my appearance. I started looking at myself in the mirror more often, and frequently asked throughout the day "Are 'they' even?" "Do 'they' match?" and engaged more people to look at my chest with these questions!
Then there was 'the photo' – you know the one where you are all smiles but you had taken your baggy sweater off, as you were having hot flashes, and your tight t-shirt shows 2 bumps on your chest in 2 different places!
It was during one of those "not feeling good moments" that I wondered why there wasn't a place where I could go shopping and see and feel beautiful products in different styles and colours, just like I did before my breast cancer. I was sure I wasn't the only one feeling this way, and then I was challenged with "Why don't you open a store?'... so I took up the challenge and Mastectomy Lingerie and More was opened May 17, 2011.
The result is a place with a comfortable atmosphere, variety of products and options for clothing and prosthetics and people to help and chat with that have been there.
Getting dressed has its challenges for everyone. My hope is that women can find lingerie and other products that make them feel great about themselves. They will be confident in their appearance and will not have to worry about 'the photo' or constantly checking in a mirror – as they will know they look great!