• Donna Rockey

My perfect bra would be something that is aimed at ladies in my age group!

I’m Donna, I'm Welsh, I have a wicked, dark, sick sense of humour. I’m fluent in a colourful 3 languages and I’m clumsy and a little dippy! Thanks to my deafness I've responded to the news of someone's death “oh that's lovely” far too many times I'm shocked I haven't been punched yet!! I have 4 daughters, 2 gerbils, 2 kakarikis, a stray cat and one boob.

I have a creative streak, I love photography, sewing and embroidery. I've also started a graphic design degree and I dream of making this a big success so that I can buy a house that’s big enough to swing a cat in *I don’t swing cats around don’t worry, Tiddles the squatter cat is safe with us!! I enjoy swimming, bootcamp and chocolate.

I’ve recently turned 40 although I have decided to skip celebrating my birthday this year for two reasons...there’s a pandemic going on and I am newly diagnosed with breast cancer. I'm not exactly in the party mood, instead I chose to set up a Facebook page where I can share my cancer journey with family, friends and beyond but also to raise awareness about breast cancer. My initial post reached over 11k views, which made me happy. I hope that a lot of boobies are being checked!

I discovered a spot a few months back, which initially I dismissed as a pimple but anxiety got the better of me and thankfully my GP did refer me. I was diagnosed in July just days after my youngest's 3rd birthday, with Grade 2 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma breast cancer. I was told I would need to isolate for a fortnight and have a single mastectomy in August which meant I had to bring my 13 year old daughter's birthday forward.

As the tissue size was 83mm and had spread to 6 lymph nodes, I was told I would need Chemo and radiotherapy. I would be put into medically induced menopause and be on hormone therapy tablets for 10 years plus annual MRI and a mammogram every 18 months. My chemo started on the 8th of October, 5 days after my eldest daughters 21st birthday. I should have my last chemo cycle just before my other daughter 7th birthday!

The breast cancer diagnosis is still very much raw. I have more bad days than ok days. I feel like I've cried more in the last 3 months than I have in the last 3 decades. I do use humour as a way to get me through the days. My family and friends think I’m very strong but it's all a front. I’m actually petrified, I just put on a huge front and make people laugh with my dippiness, deafness and "unibreast".

Due to the pandemic I have not been to town since February, I haven't actually been to any non-essential shops at all since the start of UK lockdown, and when the lockdown was lifted in Wales I had to isolate and I have been recovering from surgery for the last 6 weeks! I’ve been online shopping for mastectomy bras but the majority of the ones in my budget are actually hideous and frumpy!! I cried when I first went bra hunting, they looked like granny bras you would find in Shaws (no offence to grannies reading this, I’m talking about my actual grannies who would be 90 & 105 if they were both still here!) I cried again when I added a few bras in my shopping basket wincing at the total amount abandoning the cart a few times. In the end I purchased one for a fiver in the sale which was front opening, navy with some funky pattern going on 2x sizes too big for me. I figured I would buy it anyway and that I would get my sewing machine out if it was too big, and that it would do for recovery. As it turns out after surgery, I was swollen so having a bra that was too big actually was more comfortable than the one hospital provided me with in my size. I have since dug out an old wireless cami style bra as the hideous fiver job bra is not really practical with most of my clothes you can see the straps as they are wide and the funky pattern really clashes with my clothes.

If I could design my perfect bra, I would ask for something that is aimed at ladies in my age group that doesn’t make us feel any uglier than we already feel in our skin thanks to cancer!

It would need to be non-wired, comfortable as most bras have seams which rub against my scars. A bra with a nice lining inside like a jersey material which feels nice and soft against my skin would be great. A padded cup so it matches the other side so we don’t feel lopsided and a built-in pocket for our prosthesis or softie. Ideally the price wouldn't cost the earth either!

My wise words would be take each day as it comes, stay off google and find a distraction.

You got this stay strong xxx

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