Flat Friends UK Trustee, Sarah began a year long fundraising campaign in aid of Flat Friends UK on 1st January 2020. Sarah, who is also the founder of fashion blog website Flatter Fashion, will be sharing a daily selfie of what she is wearing to raise awareness of day to day life living, and dressing, without two breasts after a mastectomy.
“During the past five years since my mastectomy I have never regretted my decision not to have reconstruction; bit the doesn’t mean I don’t have days when I feel self-conscious. The days when it feels like nothing looks right on me; when it feels like everyone must be looking at me, trying to work out what’s missing. In an online world where we are encouraged to share only our best moments – the enviable events, the picturesque location, the perfect outfit – I have often fallen into this trap.”
This is why Sarah will be sharing unfiltered photos of herself everyday for 366 days (as it turns out 2020 is a leap year!) in her outfit of the day. Except her’s will be her ‘Outflat’ of the day!
You can sponsor Sarah to support our work here, and follow Sarah’s latest weekly blogs below…
On Day 61 Daisy the cat suddenly became unwell – not eating, watery eyes, and lethargic. Her 17th birthday was coming up next month and we have been family since she was 6 months old. She was rescued with her sisters and Mum by a member of the public at Ipswich Docks, and came to us via Cats Protection League. She has been living well with kidney failure for the past four years but sadly they decided to stop filtering this week. Initially the vets treated her for possible cold/chest infection; Daisy didn’t get any worse, but also didn’t improve. Every day I left for work having kissed her on the head telling her she is a good girl who is very loved, and to have a good rest. Every day I drove home with a rising tension in my chest wondering how she would be when I got there.
I find solace in maintaining everyday routines when stressful things happen – ‘just keep swimming, just keep swimming’. So, the #Outflat posts carried on, and on Day 66 when Daisy and I said our goodbyes at the vets I then carried her home; got changed into that day’s outfit; took the photo, and went to work. Work colleagues asked if I needed to come in after such an upsetting start to the day. But, I wouldn’t know how else to get through the day. The morning I was diagnosed with breast cancer I was back at work by noon. The world keeps on turning, and so we get up, dress up, and turn up while we are fortunate enough to be able to.
Someone walks into a breast clinic appointment and is diagnosed with breast cancer. The surgeon explains that they need a mastectomy to surgically remove the tumour, and begins to go through the reconstruction options. The patient says they don’t want reconstruction; their preferred option is mastectomy only, with a neat, flat scar.
The surgeon and breast care nurses encourage the patient to reconsider,
“Implants are very safe nowadays.”
“If you don’t have reconstruction you will be very flat.”
“You won’t be able to find nice clothes.”
“What about your partner?”
The patient begins to doubt themselves, so goes away to think about it. Their friend says,
“I’d love a free boob job!”
“If you have reconstruction you can wear whatever you like at the beach.”
“What does your partner think about you going flat?”
Their partner says to them,
“Your figure has always been so important to you.”
“If you don’t have reconstruction will you still feel sexy?”
The patient flicks through a magazine, switches on the television, and scrolls through Instagram. They see a constant stream of images, articles, and comments that remind them that their chest is integral to how the rest of the world sees them. Pert, sexy, attractive.
Now imagine the patient is a man.
To celebrate International Women’s Day 2020 please sponsor me at Virgin Money Giving to support the work of Flat Friends UK to empower women to have the surgery that’s right for them, and to move forward positively in their new body.
I work as a social worker in my local hospital. On Day 74, whilst at work, I heard that the hospital had its first three confirmed cases of COVID-19. I had planned on popping into town after work to have a browse. But after this news I decided to go straight home, rather than spreading any germs I may have around the shops.
I thought I would share some tips for shopping online, in case you are self-isolating, or social distancing to help protect those who are particularly vulnerable to this virus. To be honest, my favourite shop at the moment is eBay!
1. Take your measurements and check the size charts. Make a list of what size is usually your best fit for retailers you have bought from before.
2. Read the customer reviews. Look for comments about sizing, fit and fabric to get an idea of whether you may need a smaller or larger size.
3. Know which fabrics you like to wear. It’s very difficult to tell what an item will feel like and how it will hang by looking at a photo. So check the labels of your clothes to think about how different fabric contents feel on you. Also, it doesn’t always matter if an item has bust darts if it’s made from a light fabric. So don’t be automatically put off by the structure of an item if it’s in a fabric you think may hang well on you.
4. Read the return policies. Not everything you order will will be what you had in mind – that side of clothes shopping is the same as when you had two breasts!
Lastly, I have put together some photos with fashion terms that are used to describe some of my favourite styles, which you can use to narrow your online searches:
It felt like a long time coming, but the UK is now on lockdown. As we all try and adjust to a new way of living; managing our anxieties and finding daily essentials it seems odd to be taking a selfie of what I am wearing every day. I had a think this week about stopping my campaign. I started it to raise awareness and money for Flat Friends UK, and in such an uncertain time I realise many will want to be careful with their cash.
However, even in a pandemic, I will still be getting dressed everyday and I still don’t have two breasts! So, I’ll continue posting everyday and it would be great if you are able to carry on liking and sharing them. Stay home, save lives, and keep safe x