Cousins Abreast

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.

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Until next time,

Jelz

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