I don’t have a bra review for you today, but rather I wanted to share a personal story – and it actually relates to my next bra purchase.
Family. Apart from the family that I created for myself (my own hubby and kids), I don’t have much family. I came to Canada as an immigrant only child of an only child. I have a few cousins, in England, and only one girl cousin. She is the closest thing I have to a sister. Though we grew up an ocean apart, we’ve maintained a special relationship. I’ve crashed her English seaside holidays. She’s come to see me in Ontario. We’ve been lost in Paris together. We watched her brother be married in an Irish castle together (I lucked out with that invite didn’t I?!). We’ve sailed down the River Thames together and we’ve giggled our way through London more than once, and yet long expanses of time can go without us even contacting each other.
And so it was up until that fateful day about six months ago when I noticed her Facebook status. Something about being frightened of a hospital procedure she needed to have done. I messaged her right away. She’d noticed a lump on her breast some time ago. She’d had it biopsied, was in pain and the hospital had called wanting a further biopsy. I was scared for her but I was still confident that this would be all right. Of course it would. She’s my cousin. She’s seven years younger than me. She always gets sick too, but it is always minor really. Like the time we had gone to Madame Toussaud’s famous wax museum and she had been unwell. She had sat down to recover on a bench beside a wax figure, all pale and waxy herself and a man had walked up and touched her, not realizing she was a real live person! We laughed about it for hours after. I wouldn’t allow myself to think of it any more seriously than this. This would be dealt with quickly and efficiently and we could all move right along. Easy peasy.
The results of the second biopsy showed that she had the dreaded Big C. Cancer. Specifically Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma of the Breast. An uncommon cancer in the UK. 3500 miles apart, we cried together into our keyboards. A third operation was scheduled to remove more tissue as well as her lymph nodes. I wanted answers. She didn’t have answers. In retrospect I’m pretty sure she wanted answers too and I probably wasn’t actually following the What Not to Say to People with Cancer stuff. But she is my family so I think (I hope) I was forgiven.
The third surgery was completed and we waited to hear the results. By now I wasn’t feeling confident any longer, and neither was she. Just as well too, because more cancer had been found. A fourth surgery was scheduled.
The fourth surgery was completed and the eventual result was that unbelievably they had found a different type of cancer in her breast. What are the cruel odds of that?! A fifth surgery was booked. She would have a full bilateral mastectomy.
The fifth surgery was completed. It took in excess of six hours and left my cousin in extreme pain but at last the cancer was completely removed. Fillable implants with expanders had been placed inside her so that her breasts could be reconstructed. She joked that now she could finally become like Dolly Parton. I joked that now we’d both be made of plastic / wasn’t that fantastic. We both think we’re comedians. It runs in the family 😉
Unbelievably, my poor cousin got an infection in one of the incisions and had to have a sixth procedure to clean the infection out. She’s just now, AT LAST, had the ‘all clear’ from the surgeon. The cancer is gone. The infection is gone. She’s healing well (fingers crossed) and, although she will still have to have three weeks of daily radiotherapy, she can start having her new boobs filled.
While family and friends sent flowers and chocolate, I had a different idea of a celebration gift. Once her breasts have been filled and have settled and she has been cleared by her surgeon to wear a wired bra, I plan on buying my brave and beautiful cousin her first ever Polish bra (and matching panties too of course). A strange gift perhaps but I hope (literally) that it will be a fitting one. One that will support her new breasts and help her to again feel confident, beautiful, feminine . . . all that good stuff. I think she deserves that, and so much more.
Until next time,
7 thoughts on “Cousins Abreast”
I am so glad to hear your cousin has come through cancer free, even if the process was long and hard on her. It sounds like she is on the path to recovery, and I know she’ll be excited to get a new Polish bras set too. I am sure she appreciates your support as well throughout her treatment. Thanks for sharing this experience with us!
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Thanks very much for your comment Erica. I just read about what you and your own family have gone through. So awful. Life really can throw us some curve balls!
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After breast cancer every single woman needs to regains hers confidence, and I am sure a beautiful bra from you will make a difference! But probably the most significant gift has been made by your overseas support! Best wishes for her healing, and thanks for sharing, unfortunately these experiences are too much common!
jelzzz, thank you so much for sharing this very personal family journey with not only your AEE family but all of our follower as well. As always, please let me know if there is anything that I can do for you and your cousin. Love you much!
Awww, I think that’s the perfect gift for her to feel powerful again!
I know what it like to have a dear one facing cancer, but I can only imagine how scary and painful it must be to have such an experience… I’m glad she defeated it ❤
My Fashion Insider
Hi Jelz, I so hope your cousin is done with her ordeal and enjoying pretty lingerie again. I have just placed a huge order through Jaimie as I am myself at the end of my post double mastectomy and expansion process. I have been reading your reviews, which I love BTW, to make my decisions on which bras do I like most. I was so depressed throughout 2016 – diagnosed with an aggressive triple positive breast cancer, I had 5 surgeries and 5 months of chemotherapy. Very quickly, cancer stripped me of breasts, hair, eye lashes and brows, but most importantly, of my confidence and hope for the future. I did not want to buy anything thinking I might not be able to enjoy it – what if I am not around next year? After my surgeries, I was left with boxes full of my beloved Polish bras, some still unworn with tags – I will never have boobs that could fill those cups – contrary to what many people think, mastectomy is not a “free boobjob”. I felt defeated and devastated. I felt it was a strange irony that after living my entire life with big boobs and ill-fitting bras, I get breast cancer shortly after discovering the exciting world of pretty and well designed Polish lingerie. This lethargy dominated my mood for most of the year. But now that chemo is done and I am getting ready for 6 weeks of radiation, I decided to buy a PL Ewa Michalak bra in my new size from Jaimie because I had no bras to wear under my work clothes and it was difficult to get dressed in the morning – lo and behold, it fit me like a glove. Then Ewa Michalak herself reached out to me – we are friends on Facebook and she must have read some of my posts. She sent me a PL Triumph as a gift. What a kind gesture! All of a sudden, I felt so uplifted (no pun intended). I felt excited about future and more confident about my looks. I decided to invest into my bra wardrobe even though the uncertainty of my future still looms over me. Time to move on and live. Lingerie really does have that power. I hope your cousin felt the same exhillaration donning the bra set from you. Wishing you both all the very best! And, please, keep those reviews comming!
First of all, I am SO sorry to hear that you have been battling breast cancer and I thank you for sharing your story here. What a horrendous year you have had! You are absolutely right that reconstruction after mastectomy is very different than a ‘boob job’ and shame on anyone who thinks otherwise. I’m glad that Jaimie was able to help you with sizing and to get you into a proper fitting bra. She’s such a sweet lady. And I loved hearing that Ewa herself reached out to you! How thoughtful of her. I’m very glad that you have invested in a new bra wardrobe. You most certainly deserve to feel confident, beautiful and feminine again in your brave, new world. I will have to do an update post on my cousin. Nothing is ever straightforward with her! 😛 She had her permanent implants put in just four weeks ago but she is less than thrilled with the outcome and plans on seeing another surgeon later this month. Most importantly though, her most recent cancer screening came back clear! 🙂 I hope that your radiation treatment goes smoothly and as easily as possible and I wish you all the best for a happy and HEALTHY 2017! ~Jelz