My story is that I underwent genetic testing when I was 19 and found out I have the BRCA1 genetic mutation. My sister underwent testing a few years later which confirmed that she too has the mutation.
My surgeon was very supportive and understanding and met with me several times to explain my options. Having said that, the mental preparation for my mastectomy was a surreal experience. This was over 10 years ago (before Angelina Jolie brought the BRCA genes to the attention of the world!) and there wasn’t a huge amount of information out there about BRCA1 or young women undergoing mastectomies. It felt fairly isolating; I remember that my surgeon had a photo book of post-surgery photos, but it was hard to imagine what my body would look like after surgery because the photos were all of women in their 50s or older. I spent hours looking online, desperate to find pictures of younger women, so I could imagine what I would look like. I wanted to find someone with a story like mine! I want Valiant Lingerie to do that for other women so their experience feels less isolating.
I decided to have a mastectomy with immediate reconstruction with under the muscle expandable implants in 2011 when I was 24.
I think it’s interesting that when people talk about this kind of surgery, the discussion is around the immediate recovery but actually the impact on mental well-being lasts for a long time too. It has now been almost 9 years since I had my first surgery and building a relationship with my body and self-image has been an uphill battle at times.
Following the initial period of physical recovery, I became increasingly distressed by the lack of feminine post-surgery lingerie that was available.
I felt like before my surgery I had a world of options when it came to choosing lingerie that made me feel confident and beautiful. After surgery, it felt like all these options had been taken away from me and all that was left was fairly beige and uninspiring.
That’s why I’m doing what I’m doing and why I created Valiant Lingerie!
(Disclaimer: This webpage may contain general information relating to various medical conditions and their treatment. Such information is provided for informational purposes only and is not meant to be a substitute for advice provided by a doctor or other qualified health professional. Patients should not use the information contained herein for diagnosing a health or fitness problem or disease. Patients should always consult with a doctor or other health care professional for medical advice or information about diagnosis or treatment.)