October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Soma® is here to support you. The most common of cancers in women, we all know someone who’s been affected by it. In the U.S., there are over 3.8 million breast cancer survivors, the National Breast Cancer Foundation tells us. In October, we are spotlighting the stories of just a few of these women. This week, we talked with breast cancer advocate, Allyn Rose, about her diagnosis journey.
How did you feel when you found out you were carrying the gene?
Allyn: I am actually BRCA negative, which shocked my doctors due to my strong family history. I am, however, a carrier of a rare x-linked genetic disorder that is currently being tested to determine if it has a link to increased rates of breast cancer in carriers. I’ve known about my mutation since I was a little girl because I lost several uncles to the disease.
Is there a family history of breast cancer?
Allyn: Yes. My mother was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer in her 20s. She was diagnosed in the other breast at age 47 and passed away when I was 16. My grandmother and great aunt were also diagnosed with breast cancer and at a very young age.
What have been the hardest obstacles you’ve overcome since diagnosis?
Allyn: Learning that I had a mutation that could affect my future children was really devastating. I was fortunate to be able to undergo IVF with genetic testing and feel so incredibly grateful that my children will not have to face the same fears that I did.
What makes you feel beautiful when you’re getting ready?
Allyn: I really love the ritual of getting ready because it feels like a right of passage of womanhood. Of course, not all women have a full glam routine, but we all have our own special things to make us feel ready to face the day. What makes me feel beautiful when getting ready is putting the finishing touches together. That might be buttoning up a freshly pressed white shirt (my mom uniform these days!) or putting on a dash of mascara to open my eyes after a restless night waking up with a baby. It’s the little final things that pull myself together that make me feel ready to champion the day.
I like to look at my scars as a representation that I was stronger than what tried to kill me. Try to put one foot in front of the other until you realize that mastectomy and breast cancer are a chapter of your book but they aren’t the full story.— ALLYN ROSE
What’s most important to you when it comes to bra fit?
Allyn: Cut and comfort are key for me. Having a mastectomy can lead to your body feeling a little “anatomically incorrect,” so it’s important to have a bra that is cut for your unique body shape. Lots of things change after surgery, so it’s always a bit of trial and error to find the best fit for your body. I also really appreciate a bra that doesn’t make you feel like you took off a torture device at the end of the day. Soma is so good at creating products that look AND feel great.
Did you use a Soma bra for post surgery or during treatment? If so, which one?
Allyn: The Vanishing 360 Perfect Coverage is a favorite of mine for post-surgery. I tried not to wear a bra immediately following surgery, but once I was healed and cleared by my doctor, I loved wearing bras like the 360 because it gives you full coverage, wireless comfort, but you’re not sacrificing the lift that you want. I was also really proud of my “new me” and wanted to feel sexy. And I think that bra manages to do exactly that!
What message would you want to give other women experiencing this?
Allyn: Recovery takes time, and the timeline is different for every woman – try not to compare. Give yourself grace to mourn the loss of your former body, but also allow yourself the opportunity to fall in love with yourself again. I like to look at my scars as a representation that I was stronger than what tried to kill me. They are representative of bravery. Try to put one foot in front of the other until you realize that mastectomy and breast cancer are a chapter of your book but they aren’t the full story.