Lori’s Story

A Small Charity Making A BIG Difference

“You have breast cancer” – words that stop you in your tracks. You go through the motions, in a fog. , Mammogram, biopsy then the appointment with a surgeon. Then the words that change your world: “We can’t save the breast”. And you’re packed off with a ton of paperwork that is completely overwhelming and hard to take in.
There was one paper in that stack that would make a huge difference. It was from Breast Cancer Action Ottawa and offered me a referral to Kelly’s Boutique for a post operative camisole. At first, with so many things to do and so many doctor’s visits and trying to prepare for the unknown, I kind of forgot about the camisole. Then about two weeks before my surgery I found the lifesaing post mastectomy camisole paper, and called for my appointment . I was fitted for my camisole and also given a heart shaped pillow. I had no idea what this was for, but Diane, the owner of Kelly’s showed me how to use it as a support post surgery.

Surgery went well. Or so I thought. That evening I was rushed to emergency with post-surgical complications. A four day hospital stay, several blood transfusions during my visit and I was finally discharged.

So how do the post mastectomy camisole and heart shaped pillow fit in? I don’t know what I would have done without these two lifesavers for the many, many weeks of recovery. While in hospital (living in hospital gowns) I mistakenly took off the camisole when getting ready for bed. BIG MISTAKE! My drains were left swinging freely and of course when I rolled over, both drains were pulled out. The camisole not only gives you support for your bandages and incision, it also has two pockets inside the front at each side which hold the drains to keep them safely tucked away. This might not seem like a big deal but it is. Drains are stitched into your skin and when they get pulled, it’s excruciatingly painful.
I used the heart shaped pillow for about four months following surgery. I slept with it under my arm every night to reduce the pressure against my chest. I carried it everywhere I went and used it under my arm while sitting up and in front of my chest in the car. The one day I forgot my pillow in the car, the pressure of the seat belt was excruciating. I never made that mistake again.

Why am I telling my story? Because I believe that the post mastectomy camisole and heart shaped pillow saved me a lot of unnecessary pain post-surgery. And that is thanks to Breast Cancer Action Ottawa – who provide every woman in Ottawa facing a mastectomy with a post mastectomy camisole and post op pillow

The organization operates on a shoestring budget and these camisoles are expensive – at about $XXX per camisole. But, in my opinion, they are an essential requirement for any woman going through a mastectomy.

I’m asking you to donate to BCA to help provide post mastectomy camisoles for women in Ottawa who will need them. In 2019, over 400 women were gifted camisoles and pillows. Already since January 1st 26 have been gifted with post mastectomy camisoles and heart shaped pillows.
BCA is here to help women facing a breast cancer diagnosis in Ottawa. But they can’t do it without your support.