The evening I found out one of my very best friends in the world was diagnosed with breast cancer my heart sank. I felt sick. Tears welled up in my eyes. I did not sleep at all that night.
I had dinner with her a few nights later and she was so stressed. Her life was consumed with medical appointments, lymph node biopsies, more breast scans, doctor visits, and surgery consults before her double mastectomy and reconstructive surgeries. She was running around like crazy trying to juggle it all, plus her career, and her children. Time was precious.
All I wanted to do was find some way to help her, to make going through this tough journey easier.
She mentioned that on top of everything she had to do, she also had to go shopping for soft, button-down pajamas because she was not going to be able to lift her arms well after surgery.
Problem was she had no time to do this. All she wanted comfortable but decent stuff. I had no idea this is something breast cancer patients who go through surgery need.
The next day I went to a mall and ran from store to store searching retail shelves for soft, comfy button-down pajamas. Thankfully I found a couple of pairs.
Then I thought, “Wait a minute, she needs more than just pajamas! What if she wants to go for a walk? Run to the store? Go to a doctor’s appointment? I want her to feel comfortable and not like she’s stuck in pajamas!”
So onto more I went. I found cute shirts that buttoned-down, and a cozy fleece that zipped up. She has such a great sense of style. I wanted her to feel pretty, not like she was in some sort of recovery limbo before she could wear fashionable stuff again. I wanted her to feel as normal as she could.
I dropped off three bags of clothes for her and she was so, so, so thankful. I felt like I was able to at least do something for her that was helpful.
I made sure she knew the clothing I bought was very reasonably priced, so if anything got stained she could wash them. If they got ruined she shouldn’t feel guilty if they had to be tossed.
Wanting to help more, I tried to try to find a website that had a list of everything breast cancer patients need with online, one-stop shopping for fashionable, cute, chic and affordable clothes. From button-down pj’s and shirts, to drain pocket tops, but I didn’t find anything quite like that.
I thought, “I should start a website!” And laughed to myself. I’m certainly not known for being a math or chemistry genius, so I thought computer programming certainly wasn’t going to come easily. Though I do have a couple of decades working as a journalist under my belt, I knew how to research! So I started down the path.
The interviews I conducted with breast cancer patients were incredible. I spoke to and emailed with the bravest women who have been through so much. They were so upbeat and willing to share their stories and opinions. It was inspirational. Their enthusiasm also helped fuel my fire to start this website.
The doctors and surgeons I interviewed were so knowledgeable and knew exactly what to recommend. I took notes, I started making lists, and soon I had great insider information that could be so helpful to patients and their loved ones.
I opened my laptop, clicked on the WordPress website, signed up… and stared at the screen.
How the heck was I going to do this? I had no budget to hire a web designer so I started experimenting with different themes and designs, slowly it started coming together.
But the only reason the site ever got up, and I didn’t give up, was because of the WordPress customer support ream. They were amazing.
I’d send them pathetic emails begging for help. And they would respond right back with directions, custom made instructional video snippets on how to get things to work and even sent me computer code to insert on the back pages of the website. Yes, I was dabbling in computer code. Never did I ever think I’d see the day!
I even made Widgets work! And just let me say until I created this site, I thought Widgets were only defined as the handy devices that help you scrape adhesive goo off your windshield…
After many late nights, Chic Cancer Couture was born. It’s dedicated to my friend and other women fighting breast cancer. It’s designed to help other people who felt like I did, kind of helpless, and unsure what to do when someone you love so much that dreadful diagnosis.
As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. But what’s easier than being able to just click, order, and send things right from your Amazon account?
Chic Cancer Couture will donate a portion of the profit it receives to the nonprofit group, Global Oncology, an organization my friend going through breast cancer volunteers for.
The other advice I can give you: Tell your friend or family member how much you love and cherish them. Tell them you are there for them. Give them a big hug. Ask them what they need.
And to my friend, Chrissie, I love you to the moon and back!
Chic Cancer Couture