As a BreastCancer Survivor and new Fashion Designer, I had a vision. As I awoke in my hospital bed, time and time again, surgery after surgery, and looked down at my breasts, all I wanted to do was to see a colorful stylish world in my empty chest.
Sure, by now I had accepted the fact that I had lost my breasts. The cold hard facts set in. The devastating realization a woman accepts when she hears the words "you've got breast cancer" and then, they say "you should get a double mastectomy".
I fought those words for a little while. I had thought the most non-invasive surgery (lumpectomy) was the way to go, even with bi-lateral breast cancer for Stage 0 and 1 DCUI. Yes, I know it was really unheard of. The hospital had never treated someone like this - they automatically performed a double mastectomy no matter what stage. But for me, I felt I would be safe and the numbers sounded good for my stats. So in and out of the OR over short weekends, one breast at a time for lumpectomies followed by 16 weeks of radiation scheduled either before or after my working hours. But no, it didn't work out that way.
Yes, I got through the biopsies and surgeries and even started radiation but complications set in. I really didn't wear any "fancy" undergarments back then. But what I did need was to "balance" the boobs. I became lopsided immediately after a bilateral lumpectomy and it was difficult to hide. One breast larger than the other to ensure they captured the cancer margins. Tops would shift throughout the day. No I didn't plan on that happening. I kept running back and forth to the ladies room to adjust the ta-tas!
The post-op lingerie was white, utilitarian, ugly, and uncomfortable I might add - my 3 Ughs! I just could not get away from it. Then they (the docs) threw this accordion type garment on me that felt like I was wearing rubber pants on my breasts. These were supposed to be compression undergarments? What? I didn't know what to think of all that and to top it off, that the fabric had little baby roses and pedals on it. Who in the world envisions wearing undergarments like that? Believe me this was not floral sexy or alluring! All I wanted to do was to recover in style and return to my professional life feeling whole again and stylish. I felt like I was being treated as a prisoner recovering in children's uncomfortable underwear!
Remarkably while away in South Beach for some R'nR one week, I found these fabulous Top Secret Bandeaus and I think I bought out the store that day. Turquoise, leopard, black, navy lace -- all the sexy styles. Blouses were not shifting anymore during Monday morning sales meetings and no need to adjust those darn bra straps to different lengths. That was the beginning to my 'feeling confident, looking beautiful' theme. I thought I had it figured out temporarily anyway.
Until one day. . . my bandeau dropped to my waistline. Size C breasts front and center in front of my sales staff. Oh my! Well may be they didn't notice but I sure did! OMG - What's a gal to do? "Hey team, let's take a 5 minute coffee break!" Away I went, running back to the ladies room to shift and pull up the bandeau! LOL! This was a nightmare. When was this drama going to end I thought?
All I wanted was to be whole again without all the hassles. Why couldn't I find the right Bra to fit my needs? By then, I was already scheduled for a bilateral mastectomy over the upcoming holidays and it was only October. Sometime in November I remember sitting down with my kids for a chat. "Mommies gonna be under the weather over Christmas. Just imagine Mommy being scooped out like our Halloween Pumpkin or a Thanksgiving Turkey and stuffed back up again" and that's how I told my kids to prepare for my procedure.
After all, what do you tell your 7 and 10 year old children when diagnosed with breast cancer? It was a little humorous and we all got through it, with tears and laughter. It was my way to deal with the agony and ordeal ahead. I pushed through all sorts of pain. I had thought I was done months earlier and that was just the beginning to my 4-year saga, one surgery and complication after another as it was, and one ugly uncomfortable bra after another.
I desperately wanted to design something special for me, just in case I needed more surgeries and for other breast cancer survivors. Since I felt I had almost every type or surgery in the book, I had experienced many post-op procedures first-hand to know the type of undergarments needed in the marketplace, and as a women who loves fashion, I desired style!
I envisioned a line with beautiful, bold colors, comfortable and stylish for all phases of breast cancer or post-op breast surgery including augmentation and other reconstructive surgeries.
Look no more! I made our dream come true with the CRISSCROSS Intimates LUXE Collection! Our trending palette incorporates the theory of positivity, evoking the link between mental and physical health with the psychology of color! Fashion forward with CRISSCROSS to evoke good breast health and wellness using emerging textiles!
And SHOP your favorite color and style today! Post-op undergarments for single or bilateral lumpectomy, mastectomy, augmentation, reconstructive surgery for women and men and also Gynecomastia surgery for men too. Ensembles that made me happy and I hope they will make a difference for all patients and survivors! All the breast! Jean