A mum of 2 trying to stay sane in an overly airbrushed world.

Friday, 8 June 2018

Post Surgery Fashion: George @ Asda

I'm now 5 months post surgery and life with one 'normal' boob and one 'altered' boob is still a learning curve when it comes to clothing. The threats of Summer are getting more frequent and the need to wear less in order to stay cool (and keep hot flushes under control) is a very real issue.
I have already braved the 'first swimsuit since surgery' moment and was surprised with how at ease I felt with my lymph node removal scar and radiation tattoos being visible. People's eyes are now drawn to me for a whole new reason, they instantly know I've had cancer...I don't mind it, but I know it makes others feel awkward (which makes me feel awkward) and i’d much prefer people to come and ask all the questions it instantly conjures like:
  • are you going to die?
  • how did you find out?
  • what treatment have you had?
  • are you ok?
Not everyone is like me, I know there are loads in the cancer club who would much rather keep it a private matter and just live without the constant reminder of it. That's why the clothing options available for those recovering and moving on are SO important. My previous post 'Don't blame it on the booby' explored the range of non wired 'normal' looking post surgery bras and underwear available; I had found some great options (I still wear them now) which were comfortable, inexpensive and available in realistic sizes. 
Following that, I was absolutely thrilled to be invited to a focus group with the designers at George at Asda to discuss their range of post surgery clothes. It was all about how they could make it more customer friendly, they’d invited ladies of all ages and stages of the breast cancer journey to discuss their different needs - it brought up some great feedback and discussion points on what was being designed and things needed for future collections.

Personally I had never really looked at George when I was considering my own post surgery wear, simply because the things I had seen in store always looked a bit 'granny' and were never in the FF bra sizing I needed - so I gave up. I raised all this at the session and was advised that online George offers most styles in everything up to a G cup, I was also delighted to see even the over 60's in attendance saying that all the styles were very frumpy and lacking any excitement or colour. In short we all wanted the same thing - the same clothes and designs as the normal collection, just with modifications for the various restrictions surgery brings.

They were so keen to improve their collections everything was taken down to be considered and worked on in future. Some of the top suggestions that came up were things like:
  • front fastenings
  • items which don't require being pulled over head
  • lowering the sides so not to interfere with lymph node removal site
  • optional and removable padding for single/double mastectomy and lumpectomy breast changes
It was greatly positive and I can't wait to see the results!

For now here are some of my favourite bits from the current collection:




Thursday, 17 May 2018

The Bucket 'F**k It' List

Moving away from the cancer chat now I have no evidence of disease in my body, life is starting to return to some form of normality. Part of leaving it behind is accepting it'll always be in the back of my mind and learning to forgive it a little for 'choosing' me. Its not got many positives but it does give you a renewed purpose in life and make you realise that had maybe you had become a little bit too focused on things that didn't really matter. 

Post cancer life for me is about doing things I want and saying no to more of the things I really cannot be arsed to even bother doing just to please the 'unimportant others' in life. Not everyone gets to survive cancer and I'll be buggered if I am going to waste my second chance.

This is my list: aims for the future...some things  serious, some things trivial and  stupid, but nothing is impossible and where is the fun in a list I can achieve in the next 5 years. Some of this stuff is pie in the sky and  that's what really makes me tick - proving people wrong and doing things I probably shouldn't! 

The journey starts here!
Back flip
I've wanted to do this since I was about 6...there is no way its impossible; I just need to get it done while my body still works with me and not against me. Adult gymnastic instructors in Leicester anyone??! 

London marathon
I hate running. Never been good at it and god knows I have tried many times, this time I really want the medal though and I want to be able to say I did it!

Get married in Vegas
One of the easier ones to achieve. I want to get married in that place Britney did, by an Elvis and then parade around the strip in a wedding dress. Simple.

Be in Emmerdale
As the photo shows I've made it on I just need to get myself some form of part.

Travel 1st class (flights)
To make this worthwhile it really needs to be a long haul could possibly be combined with Vegas or an Olympics (see below).

Carpool karaoke with James Corden
Combines 2 of my great loves...Karaoke and James Corden, to sing a few of my faves in a car with him would be half an hour well spent.

Host a radio show showcasing 90s pop
Think Alan Partridge with more early Westlife and choreographed dance routines. Showcasing some forgotten gems and just generally having fun playing some of the tunes that have stood the test of time with me for an hour a week - surely there is a local radio station somewhere looking for someone to do this in a graveyard slot - I'll make it work!

Win an award
Being totally honest...I'll take it for anything, as long as I get to wear a nice frock and make a speech.

Be in a Steps tribute act 
I'd happily take the Lisa Scott-Lee role, I've been in training and ready for this one for 20 years...can't sing for toffee but hey turn my mic down and just let me live my best life. 

Attend an Olympics
Dick head that I am, I turned down tickets to London 2012 (WHY?!. The next 3 I have to pick from are Tokyo 2020, Paris 2024, Los Angeles 2028. L.A. looks like a good bet!

That's my 10 to work towards - no time scales just a list of things I need to think about.

Can you help me?

What would be on yours?

Challenge yourself to make your own list!

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Fourmones or Foresight?

First it was the terrible twos, then we moved on to the threenage year and now we’re calling it fourmones… its comforting to know a stage is so common it has its own nickname but what if its more than just a stage?

Through every single day of these ‘stages’ I have wondered that question – pushing away my motherly instinct in favour of a million other options…

  • I don’t parent well.
  • I haven’t set clear boundaries.
  • I’m not cut out to be a parent at all.
  • I need outside help.
As parents we’ve tried all the different techniques…naughty step, time out, removal of privileges, early bedtimes, avoiding situations likely to cause tantrums, sugar reduction, daily routines, increased talking around the plans for a day and increased independence/confidence building.

Still we are left in situations where we run a gauntlet of terror; constantly trying to second guess and prevent anything that may set off the most epic of tantrums. I know tantrums are normal, but something niggles me with my eldest, its like he cannot calm down – what other would have forgotten about and moved on my son is still escalating beyond recognition.

The top triggers at the moment are trivial things that he’s trying to control or disagree with like if he doesn’t have a pair of black leggings to wear, if his favourite pyjamas are in the wash, if I have driven to pick him up from childcare and he wants to scooter or if you break a puzzle he has completed. I could carry on the list is endless – it can be about anything that goes against his belief of how a situation should happen.

I’ve sort help from those around me to more or less get the same few responses:
•he’s no different to any other 2,3,4 year old.
•he never does it at nursery, pre-school, whilst in the care of others – if he can control it , it can’t be. anything more than stubborn behaviour.
•don’t be so desperate to get him ‘labelled’ as troublesome or having a disorder.
•its a sign of his intelligence and him being ‘beyond his years’.

But that’s the thing, I am desperate, desperate to enjoy being his mum and not dread every interaction for fear of getting it wrong. The fact that I have even thought that makes me feel a failure but I know that away from this side of his personality he is and can be such a caring, thoughtful and considerate little boy.

I have thought about going to see the doctor or health visitor but will that help or will it just underline my poor parenting and open the airwaves to hearing yet more useless solutions.

I need help! How and when will I know if these tantrums are not just tantrums and the sign that my little boy needs more specialised help?!


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