You Can Stick "No Bra Day" Where The Sun Don't Shine


Before you get the wrong idea, there are a lot of things about "Pink-tober" that seriously resonate with me as a breast cancer survivor.  I am all for awareness, annual mammograms, genetic testing, and breast-exams.  Hey, if early detection can save another woman from enduring what I've endured the last 10 months... I approve 100%.  Pink-tober should most definitely be a celebration of those who have battled breast cancer.   That little pink ribbon means a lot to this survivor, and it's a great way of connecting one woman who has a personal story to another who has been there and done that.  I have many pink ribbons, and I will proudly display each and every one of them.  I am blessed to be a survivor, and more than happy to share my story, or my wisdom and advice from the journey that I have taken.

But, no bra day.  Oh, this one boils my blood.  And I'm not an angry person.  Do you mean to tell me that the above picture is respectful to a breast cancer survivor as a woman who has had her own breasts cut from her body?  I think not.  It's lewd.  It's disgusting.  And it's trivializing the importance of education and awareness.  Running around for 24 hours without a bra on really means nothing in the grand scheme of things, it's just plain old sensationalism.... and this breast cancer survivor hates it.  It accomplishes nothing at all.  This had to have been dreamed up by a man.  I'm sure of it.

Here's what got me started on this rant.... other than the above picture.  The last week, I have been cleaning out my closets and my drawers.  I couldn't help but get a little bit saddened by the fact that I have 2 full drawers of beautiful bras.  I have collected bras like some people collect porcelain figurines over the last 10 years.  There is no color that doesn't appear in those drawers.  I should probably have an insurance policy just for the bras.  If you're anything like me, you've probably noticed that a certain bra can completely change your mood.  For example, I have an adorable bra with black polka dots, and a pink ribbon.  It always cheers me up when I see it.

Several weeks ago, prior to starting radiation, I attempted to put one of my favorite bras on my "post cancer body".  I mainly wanted to see if my new chest was the same size or bigger than my old chest.  I can tell you quite honestly, it was a no-go.  The "breasts" that I am living with, are not in a good place for one of those gorgeous, lacy bras, and most definitely not for an under-wire.  My expanders were placed almost where my original breasts were, but had to be a little bit off to each side because of the need for radiation on my chest wall. (If you've ever wondered what a tissue expander feels like- here's a good analogy:  It's alot like having an entire breast that is as hard and as unforgiving as an under-wire.)

So, while I look completely normal, there is no lacy, sexy bra that's gonna work with these expanders.  I can't wear any of my gorgeous Victoria's Secret's bras. I haven't worn a bra since surgery, and I'm completely comfortable, but I miss my beautiful, lacy bras.  I suppose that once I have my exchange surgery, I'll once again be able to build a whole new collection of wonderfully sexy bras.  But, for the time being, not wearing a bra isn't a statement, it's the only option.  I could wear a sports bra, but that's a little challenging.  Getting one of those suckers off with these expanders is not pretty... comical maybe, but not pretty.  And my skin is still a tad on the dry side from radiation, so having something else rubbing against it, just isn't appealing.  This is much closer to the reality of the situation for a breast cancer survivor.

So, my suggestion is this:  If you'd like to do something to honor the survivors, and those who have lost their lives to this horrible disease.... how about sports bra day?  I'm sure that most of my fellow breast cancer warriors would agree, it's much more in tune with what we're living with on a daily basis.  There is nothing pretty about a mastectomy, and while I joke about getting fabulous new ta-ta's, it's really a serious matter, because nothing about this process has remotely resembled a "boob job."




4 comments

  1. Thank you for this Marianne. I had no idea. I'm thinking I want to wear pretty bras in your honour.

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    1. Thank you Carrie! How about something with polka dots... I can see you having one with polka dots!

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  2. I didn't even know about No Bra Day. When I first saw the photo, my response was ... "MOST of my days are no bra days." If I don't have to wear a bra, I don't - and now that I'm retired, that's most days. My dogs don't mind seeing me without a bra. That wondrous invention has done nothing but haunt me, poke me, dig into my shoulders, hurt me, stab me, irritate me, and annoy me - ever since my mom gave in to my relentless begging and bought that silly "training" bra. As to this special day ... I really don't see why it should be connected to breast cancer awareness; I just don't see the point. I'm not offended by it, but I haven't experienced breast cancer. A couple scares, yes, but that's all those experiences were. Had I experienced what you have, I might well react just as you are. However ... today, for me, is a no bra day. Cleaning house doesn't require an underwire. :)

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    1. Maryann it sounds like you feel the same way about a bra that I do about my tissue expanders!

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