Six-year breast cancer survivor, 63-year-old Kathy Thompson, selflessly serves the community by offering helpful post-recovery information for women who have gone through breast cancer.
“I think to a great extent people think they are going through this alone,” said Kathy. “I just want to help them through their journey and through this process. It can be frightening and if I have something to help others why keep it to myself?”
For six years Kathy had regularly visited the doctor’s office to receive mammograms and sonograms, and even after moving from southern California in 2005 she continued her appointments. One day Kathy realized something abnormal on her chest before heading to the doctor’s office. The doctor saw nothing wrong. Having been on edge before as to whether she might have breast cancer or not Kathy visited a second doctor. The second doctor checked but found no tumor, but she didn’t stop there. Kathy then visited a breast surgeon who took a biopsy and confirmed Kathy’s worst fears – a tumor on her left breast.
“The world kind of stops for you and continues for everyone else,” said Kathy. “The idea of having to go through chemo terrified me, but I felt like I could do anything to get well again.”
The cancer was invasive lobular carcinoma – a breast cancer where abnormal cancer cells start by forming in the milk glands and spread throughout the breast tissue. About 15 percent of women are diagnosed with this particular disease. The American Cancer Society estimates that 232,340 new invasive breast cancer cases will be diagnosed this year– a number that may seem high but is low in comparison to the currently 2.8 million cancer survivors in the nation.
After receiving the diagnosis, Kathy went through chemotherapy every three weeks for six months in hopes of shrinking the tumor – a therapy that proved successful. Even so, on November 28, 2006 she went through a double mastectomy surgery – a removal of both breasts. Immediately after, she received a post-surgical camisole to wear. The camisole proved to be an unexpected surprise that greatly helped with Kathy’s recovery.
The camisole is a well-made soft garment that helps deal with post-surgical drains. Pockets within the camisole help hold the drains and keep the tubes secure. The camisole also has a prosthetic bra. The garment can be worn throughout the day and night, is washable and easily adjustable. After going to a support group for a couple months Kathy soon realized that many of the women had never heard of the camisole.
“I decided that was wrong,” said Kathy. “I made it my mission to try and get my information out there.”
Phone calls to manufacturers and research led Kathy to making her own website, which provides information and a listing of stores where women can buy camisoles – costing between $55 and $80. The name of her website is Camisole Connection. Five years later, Kathy continues to have a passion for helping women.
For more information about post surgical camisoles go to camisoleconnection.com.