Nikki’s Story

My name is Nikki Allman, I’m 47 years old and was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer last July.  Since then life has not quite been the same !

We all never want to hear those dreaded words but some of us sadly do. Following the discovery of a lump a few months earlier nothing was found but then in early July as I was taking a top off there it was a huge indent in my right breast, the hospital did wonder why I was back so soon but quickly confirmed the diagnosis. From the initial diagnosis of requiring a lumpectomy, which was a huge relief, following scans and further tests my options dwindled away. The cancer had gone into my lymph nodes and the MRI showed pre-cancerous cells in the left. I couldn’t believe this was happening to me. I had to make a tough decision – have a double mastectomy or have one breast removed and see what happens on the left. There really was just one option – a double mastectomy.  I decided not to have reconstructive surgery as it just sounded horrendous. 

I underwent the operation on the 8th October – it’s the most terrible ordeal waking up and such a part of you is gone. But I coped and kept smiling. I endured the Chemotherapy from November to February with the loss of all my hair followed by daily trips to the hospital for Radiotherapy. I had done it !!

It wasn’t until one day near the end of my Radiotherapy I realised in a way this was just the beginning … I wanted to treat myself to feel good … new underwear !!! I called into a local department store and wandered through the lovely selection of lingerie … I asked the lady if there was any bras for me … I was shown a rack which was hidden at the back of all the displays with a selection of 3 bras … all which were hideous and when I asked if there was any underwear to match the lady looked at me and said – oh no dear not for these types of bras. I hastily left and cried all the way back from Edinburgh to Kelso.

It’s then I realised the lack of feminine lingerie for ladies like me. We should not be different, that’s what’s so inspirational about the idea and concept of LoveRose Lingerie, it will allow us to feel feminine and confident because that’s what we are. This is a journey and I look forward to being part of this exciting opportunity.

Rosemarie’s Story

My name is Rosemarie and I am 49 years old. I found a lump in my left breast in April 2018 and in July, whilst still denying it’s existence, my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer following her first mammogram. I felt at this point I needed to support her and it just wasn’t the right time to tell her or my family about my own findings. 

My sister was due to go on holiday the ending of July so I seized the opportunity to get myself checked out. On the 9th of August I was told I had breast cancer and would have to have a mastectomy of my left breast.

I decided to undergo the same surgery my sister had opted to have when she returned from holiday in August. On the 20th September 2018 and coincidently my sisters birthday, I underwent a mastectomy of my left breast and reconstruction at the same time, using tissue from my thighs. I underwent my surgery with the support of my sister and my family by my side.

Unfortunately my reconstructive surgery was not successful and I was left with a breast that was not ascetically pleasing to me and also half its original size. This meant I will have to undergo further surgeries in the future to get me the desired size and in the meantime I have to wear a prosthesis. This has left me feeling self conscious and choosing bra’s a little distressing. 

The launch of LoveRose Lingerie would definitely help boost my confidence. Having a selection of beautiful and well crafted  matching underwear would be so empowering and enable me to feel sexy even whilst wearing a prosthesis.

Debbie’s Story

My name’s Debbie and my nature is always to see the sunny side of things – even living in rainy Fife, Scotland.

Being positive has helped me smile through life because if you can’t laugh even when things get tough, what can you do?

Things got very tough when I was told in July last year that I had breast cancer. I’d somehow known the leaky boob was more than just embarrassing. But hearing that word, in the consultant’s room with my husband Mark squeezing my hand, was a shock.

The news came on the first day back from our summer holiday with our daughters, Neve, 13, and eleven-year-old Emily. I’d had tests just before we left for Spain, and it was hard not to worry while we were there. But watching the girls laughing in the pool and playing cards against the sunset on the hotel balcony made me appreciate my family’s closeness more than ever. Mark and I agreed we’d share whatever results I had with them.

But the night we told Neve and Emily during dinner broke my heart. I explained the news gently, with lots of reassurance that my cancer had been caught early and was very much treatable. But it was the hardest moment of my 44 years.

The thing is, when you look for brighter things even in the darkest times you’ll always find some. And seeing how well Neve and Emily coped with everything made me really see what selfless, strong girls we’d raised. The encouragement they gave me while I went through four lumpectomies and a full mastectomy bolstered me.

I saw it as my job to keep everything as normal as possible, so I just got on with things as wallowing was never going to help. So the girls went to school on op and appointment days, attended karate and never missed gymnastics training.

My friends rallied, turning up to offer lifts to hospital for treatment. Having people who ‘get’ my sense of humour was a tonic. Few could believe me and a friend sang “Bye Bye Boobie” to the tune of the Bay City Rollers’ song “Bye Bye Baby” on the way to hospital one day. But we did – and I laughed my head off.

I opted against reconstruction, just so I could recover quicker. That meant I had my mastectomy one Monday and the following Saturday was in a gym hall watching Emily win first place at a big gymnastics competition. I’d lost a boob, but gained a gold. At the gymnastic club’s annual awards, she won the bravest gymnast prize for training so hard even when I was ill. It was such a proud moment for me – isn’t it funny how your kids’ achievements mean so much more than your own?

By the time our next holiday came around, my girls hoped I’d join them in the swimming pool. And I wanted to show them that family life was pretty much the same. It’s a strange feeling, having to get to know your body again after surgery. But it was important to them so I wore a post-surgery swimsuit and loved being in the pool again.

I don’t love wearing big, ugly post-surgery bras every day though. The thought of having a pretty one in a delicate print or fabric, or a matching set, seems like the last step in returning to normality. It’s funny how happy such a small things make you feel.

And that’s the thing about surviving cancer. It changes your life. It gives you new realisation that you, and your family, are stronger than you ever knew. It makes you appreciate good things even when the news seems bad. 

I’ve always felt, and now I know for sure, there are beautiful and positive things to be found absolutely everywhere.

Nichelle’s Story

I’m Nichelle this is my story.

I remember it was Valentine’s Day and my hubby took me away for the night, (kid free) he had got me some beautiful underwear which I just loved. Fast forward 2 weeks and I find the lump, 3 surgeries later one being the biggie a mastectomy and reconstruction surgery on my right breast.

I worked in a department store, so after I was all healed I went up to their lingerie department, they always had beautiful matching set so thought I’ll definitely get some nice new sets. That would be a NO they didn’t do post surgery lingerie at all. I was so disappointed, so went to another high street shop. They did have a few bits but all very plain and only black and white.

Having matching beautiful underwear on makes me amazing.

Karen’s Story

I’m Karen, I’m 47 and I am Mum to Tristan (aged 12) and partner to Alistair.

I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer 3 years ago, at the same time I found out that I also have the mutated BRCA1 gene. Unfortunately, after getting the all clear it has since come back a further 3 times. In September 2018 I found out that it was metastatic and that’s when my world changed, we knew things weren’t going to be ‘normal’ again. I am now on a targeted treatment drug which I pray keeps my cancer at bay for as long as possible and gives me a good remaining quality of life with my family. I am devastated that I am now constantly living with cancer. As a family there was so much we had been looking forward to – the holidays we’d go on and watching my son grow up, all of that now seems uncertain. I am absolutely terrified that my son is likely to have to grow up without his Mummy and that I won’t have the future with Alistair that I thought I would so I want to spend what time I have left enjoying life to the full and trying to look and feel good as I do it.

During the last 3 years I have had various surgeries including a double mastectomy and an LD flap surgery (where they take muscle and skin from your back and ‘swing’ it round to the front to form part of your breast!). I was actually quite pleased with the results of the surgery as it gave me a better shape than I had before but I then found it was difficult to find nice lingerie that both felt good and looked good. I am looking forward to LoveRose launching as it will give me a selection of lingerie designed with women like me in mind. After everything that we have been through we still deserve the right to look good!

Karen x