Friday, 5 August 2011

The Big C, Part I: Mastectomy Fashions are Ugly

Today's topic touches on something near and dear to my new boobs. I spent part of my afternoon at the Cross Cancer Institute. I have spent a good deal of time in and out of hospitals and doctors offices over the past two years, and there is one constant at every place: the hospital gowns. They are terrible. Always too big, too long, made of bad, itchy material, and more often than not have some kind of nondescript stain adorning them. Basically, you can't work with a hospital gown. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING will make it look more fashionable. Sure you can try and spice it up, but at the end of the day it's still gross. Today, to add a bit of sunshine, I wore my 4 inch, yellow lemon stick wedges from Anthropologie, and I am glad I did because the gown was so huge that it would have dragged on the ground. Fashion has always been important to me, and being diagnosed with cancer has only fueled my love, and made me consider what people with cancer can do to stay fashionable.

If there one thing that I have learned, it is that yes, you may have cancer, but that doesn’t make you any less fabulous. I’m serious. So what you had a mastectomy. Buy a new fabulous, lacy bra with matching underwear. Who cares if the only people who will see it is you and possibly your doctor. It will still make you feel like a normal person and not like a cancer patient. If you have to spend all day in a hospital gown, make sure you wear some completely and utterly fabulous shoes, preferrably ones that sparkle, and have the ability to potentially blind someone if looked at directly (I recommend a pair of glittery toms. Not only are they super comfortable and easy to take on and off, but they sparkle. And who doesn’t love that!?). People will advertise things like “mastectomy fashion gowns”, that have the ability to hold drains discretely and that gives you easy access to bandages. Don’t do it! Don’t buy them! Hospital gowns are gross enough, and no amount of colorful prints or a handy pocket will make them better. Those drains, they can be pinned to the waistband of pajama pants. Seriously, those mastectomy fashions are ugly. Do yourself a favor and go out and spend money of some red or pink, or even leopard print (which is fabulous!) satin or silk pajamas. The button up shirt still gives you easy access, and they don’t make you look like you are wearing an oversized potato sack.

Embrace your scars. I have a giant scar on my back from where they removed a muscle and skin to rebuild my boob. I love it. It is part of who I am. Plus, bigger scars make for better stories. I know that after I was sufficiently healed I was worried about what guys would think of my scars. I was self conscious, more so than usual. If someone tells you that they are not and have never been self conscious about their bodies, they’re lying. Everyone, at some point in their life has been self conscious. I was super self conscious before I got cancer. I was extra conservative, and was super uncomfortable wearing low necked shirts, or even going braless. Having cancer really does wonders for this. Conservatism flies out the window. Everyone and their dog will have seen you at least partially naked at some point. After cancer, the only thing I was self conscious of was whether or not guys would be weirded out with the fact that one of my boobs is completely and utterly fake. But then I remembered, what guy doesn’t like fake boobs?! That being said, embrace your new body. Wear a backless dress, and when someone asks you what happened or how you got your scars, you either tell the truth, or play it up. That’s your choice.

Cancer doesn't mean you can't be awesome, and sassy and fabulous. Sure you can show up to your appointments in sweatpants, not having showered, with your unwashed hair shoved up in a ponytail, and you will have days when that is all you want to wear, but believe me, if you dress up to see your doctor, you will feel better. Don't let cancer take your personal sense of fashion and style away. So, here is my advice, dress up, put on some makeup, even if you normally don't, and walk into whatever hospital or doctors office you are going to, and own the place. Believe that you are the most beautiful, best dressed, most badass cancer patient out there, and you will feel better. You will win.


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