How it all began...
For those of you who already know me, you know this story, or most of it anyway! For those who don’t, here goes.
I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013. Honestly, it wasn’t a shock. I had a feeling that something wasn’t quite right and a dream I had just confirmed it for me. The dream was strange and involved me washing dogs with a friend who then offered to wash my hair for me. As she did so she said I had a lump behind my right ear and I was adamant that it was left (this was the side where I found a lump). Well, it turns out she was right!
My diagnosis was quick and I had an operation within 2 weeks followed by 5 weeks of radiotherapy. Although it was a worrying time I really didn’t let it affect me that much and life pretty much returned to normal. Granted my boob looked a bit funny as I am not a good healer but other than that all was ok. A year later I had my first post-cancer mammogram and all was fine.
A year after that, in 2015, things were different. A fat envelope came through the door and I instantly knew the cancer had come back. This time things were more serious as the cancer had spread to my lymph nodes. I knew I would have to have a mastectomy and the major decision I then made was to NOT have reconstruction. I have had blood clotting problems in the past and this was part of the decision but basically I just wasn’t comfortable, or confident enough, to have a replacement boob made. My husband was 100% behind me which made that choice even easier.
We found humour in as much as we could, often helped by the children, who would say things like ‘one boob isn’t going to be much fun for dad!’ And that is honestly how we coped. I can’t see us having dealt with it any other way. I wanted people to be normal, to say funny things, to be my friend without feeling sorry for me. And that is exactly what happened. Yes, I got tonnes of flowers, which was lovely but my house felt a funeral parlour! So I then felt hugely ungrateful!
After the mastectomy is really when I started to question our lifestyle. I always thought we were a pretty healthy family and that I’d been using natural skincare products but it turns out I was wrong! Yes, our diet was pretty good, but could do with improvement, and yes my skincare products contained a few natural ingredients but they were swamped by other not so great ingredients.
So, using my science background and knowledge of formulations I then began to make my own skincare products and Puremess was born! I knew something good had to happen after the cancer and this was it. I decided to make it my mission to make others feel happy in their own skin, just like I did.
So I got busy making and was happy, but something was niggling me. I felt lopsided, couldn’t get on with having an insert in my bra and also felt like my left boob was a ticking time bomb. Again, something felt off. I went back to my consultant and asked if I could another mastectomy to make me even and they agreed.
By now it was early 2017 and I had the operation in February. The results of the biopsy of the breast tissue showed that cancer was indeed beginning to form in the left side and so I was completely convinced that I had made the right choice, for me.
It was amazing how it affected my self-esteem. Although boobless, and scarred, I felt more confident. I just felt like this was the new me, and I wanted other people to feel confident in their bodies as well. I then did a topless photo shoot to raise awareness of what having a bilateral mastectomy looks like and it was picked up by You magazine.
I was then given the most amazing opportunity to take part in a photo shoot with other women of all different shapes and sizes. I had the best day, ever! They were all so encouraging and supportive that it gave me more confidence. I will treasure that day forever.
Puremess is the way I know how to make people feel and look great, whatever their body shape. I spend a lot of time researching the best ingredients to use because it really matters to me that everyone’s skin is nurtured and nourished. Our skin is our biggest organ and if we can keep it happy and healthy then that is certainly a start towards a happier, healthier life.
I also truly hope that if you, or anyone you know, is going through breast cancer, you’re your beauty shines from the inside out and that whatever we think our flaws are, we are all special. Please feel free to reach out to me if there is anything I can do.
With lots of love and wishing you all a healthy and happy October!