A regular look into the lives of women Loose Debra admires...
Today I had the pleasure of meeting one Nicola Price, and an 'inspirational breathing' session.
I was going to try to tell you what happened in the breathing sesh, but Nicola's a walking encapsulation of positive energy, vibrant health and clear instructions that go straight to the solar plexus, so it's hard (even harder than usual!) to get the emotional experience across verbally. All I can say is that Nicola lay me down and guided me through free-flowing breathing, putting me in touch with areas of control I'd never noticed before; and that afterwards I felt freer and truly inspired. And that I would recommend her, check out what she does here.
Nicola has had breast cancer twice, and chemo treatment for the last bout ended earlier this year. She writes a Blog about her chemotherapy here. What strikes me most about it, apart from her honesty, and the great alternative health tips for dealing with the symptoms, is an unwavering ability to stay authentically positive. I don't mean 'trying to see the bright side', or pushing away negative feelings, or 'putting on a brave face'; rather I mean actually transforming the suffering into a kind of irrepressible joy which is evident in her diary entries. She calls her chemo "clearing" (as it's sweeping away all the possible cancer cells that may be roaming around), and refers to her "intense willingness to be alive".
Alchemistic talent is rare, and it shines through Nicola's words and actions (if today's meeting was anything to go by!). I'm guessing when life has given you a few lemons, not only do you make lemonade, you squeeze those lemons and stir in that sweetness with a determination and practice that verges on genius. As I say, it was a pleasure to meet her.
So, I went along to take some pics of Nicola in her favourite top to go with an experience, quoted below, that she had written for Loose Debra. Nicola is flat, following bilateral surgery, and is proud and overt about her newly flat chest. She likes it and, as you can see from the pictures, looks great. Who was it said "Just remember that ultimately dressing is always about attitude, feeling comfortable and confidence"...? Oh yeah, Kate Moss.
The flowery, lacy top is from Hearts and Guns in Brighton, who specialise in making bespoke, hand-sewn pieces out of vintage fabrics and garments. Nothing is wasted as it's all re- or upcycled. The designs are "feminine with a striking edge".
Nicola's Dad bought her this top after she'd had her breasts removed, and it hung on a hat-stand cheering her up every morning when she woke, reminding her of her connection with her father and lifting her spirit. Amazing how garments can resonate with so much, and how we can connect to them from the very fabric of our being.
This is Nicola's experience...
"In 2014 I was diagnosed with 3 tumours in my right breast. After 2 months of deep internal exploration and negotiation with my physical and emotional being and my family's input (including a brother who works in cancer research and his pathologist wife, my husband and children - a damn good team!) I decided to have a double mastectomy with no reconstruction.
I should explain that I also had breast cancer 20 years ago. Then I had a lumpectomy and radiotherapy. 5 years ago in 2010 I decided to have surgery to even my breasts up. I had a left D cup and a right B cup. The falsie, (it looked like a chicken fillet), that I used to put in my bra, plumped out the right breast. One day it dropped out in the middle of my dance class … and I was the teacher! Another time I simply forgot to pack it when I was working away and nobody seemed to notice. I felt fine about it, so never wore it again. But I did feel uneven and wonky with the different weights and this contributed to my decision to have both breasts removed. Also, I was hell bent on breast cancer not happening a third time! Removing the healthy left breast reduced that probability.
I am a bit of a 'hippy chick' and very kinaesthetic and touchy feely too; relying heavily on my body's senses and physicality. How I feel physically is very important to me. I love natural fabrics on my body; and so the thought of having ANYTHING unnatural IN my body was a big NO! Contemplating reconstruction, I didn’t like the idea of the intrusion, taking other bits of my body, thighs or stomach for the padding in my chest, earlobes for nipples. It was abhorrent to me and I was most distressed when watching a DVD I was given to tell me all about reconstruction. 'Mutilation' came to mind: and my body had been through quite enough already.
I have to admit that sexually, it was tough to get used to at the beginning. I missed not having those zones! My husband found it difficult and awkward too. We both mourned that part of our life which had gone, and it was challenging. I found that surrendering to, and acceptance of my situation, and not wanting it to be different was the route to peace for me.
I am 1 year on from my surgery now. I can honestly say that I LOVE my body. I love dancing and the freedom I have to move. After downsizing my left breast 5 years ago, I rarely wore a bra. Looking back in photos of me braless, even though I had 2 B cups, it wasn’t a great look in T shirts! I had breast fed 3 children and I am just over my half century.
When I see my scars I see courage in their authenticity and also the reality of life. I chose to give myself the best possible chance of survival, with minimum intervention and complication. I have never had a nanosecond of regret. I fully expect people to see WHO I am as more important than my physical look. And on the whole I find most people don’t notice, or if they do, care about the detail!"
So, huge thanks to Nicola for getting in touch, walking her talk of "having the guts to be yourself", and sharing her story. The combination of conventional and alternative practices to safeguard life has worked brilliantly for her, and she looks so hot we're cheekily hoping she'll model for Loose Debra in the future :-)
Do get in touch if you'd like to feature in "Loose Living".
Karen Dobres, Chief Freedom Fighter