The Project

Cups of Prevention: The Project
Release the Bras! Follow me for the next 31 days on a journey to release my bra collection, gain closure from breast cancer, and offer healthy breast cancer prevention tips to others. Since my diagnosis in 2012, I have dramatically changed my own diet and been studying all things health and nutrition. I would love to share with women what I have learned and I am using my extensive (pre-diagnosis) bra collection along with healthy cancer fighting foods to illustrate this. I hope to bring a smile to your face along the way. I have held onto these bras that no longer fit for too long... and it's time to let them go.

My secret revealed

“………..53, 54, 55, 56, 57” Up until now, no one other than my husband, Randall, would know that I have a rather extensive collection of bras! Perhaps more surprising is the fact that so many of these bras are colorful, lacey, girly and even at times a little racy! I collected and loved them all and enjoyed my little secret. Why is this surprising? Those who know me well, only ever see me dressed in simple black and white clothing. It’s how I’ve dressed for years and I’m guessing they would assume that what’s underneath was exactly the same. This is where they would be wrong!

The times they are a changing

After my bi-lateral mastectomy in 2012 and final reconstruction in spring of 2013, I went into my closet opened my drawers and systematically tried on every bra. None of them fit anymore. During the expansion and reconstruction process, I got by wearing stretchy, sporty type bras (so NOT me) and I was ready to start wearing something beautiful again.

There began my quest to build a new bra collection.

I was a little insecure in the early days, about going to a store, as my scars were still healing and “not too cute” and I didn’t want to freak anyone else out! I myself had grown very comfortable with my scars, and actually rather enjoyed documenting their amazing power to heal, change and fade. So I attempted to measure my self and order online. That led to a whole host of failed fits, some of which I’d taken the tags off, before I realized what a poor fit and how uncomfortable they really were. Next, I ventured into the stores but didn’t ask for help, and would head to the dressing room with armfuls of bras and usually come out with 1 or 2 successes, that didn’t turn out to be successes once I really tried wearing them. I then plucked up the courage to go for a fitting and get some help. That visit yielded a few hits and a few more misses. The problem also seemed to be, that all the super cute, fun versions that I would have previously been drawn too, no longer seemed to fit me. I knew that the shape of my boobs had changed, but didn’t realize how much until I tried to dress them! Now, don’t get me wrong…I am so thrilled with the results of my reconstruction and immensely grateful for how the entire process went. I was just a little sad thinking I would never own a fun bra again :(

Brallelujah

Everything changed one day when I met Carol Stevener, the “Bra Whisperer” at Nordstrom in Richmond, Virginia. I explained my plight and she whisked me in to the fitting room and before I knew it she was coming in with cute bra after cute bra. I was thrilled!!! I think I went there three weeks in a row! Not only was I beginning to start my new collection, but this also marked yet another turning point in my recovery.

Out with the old

By now you may be wondering what happened to all those bras, 57 to be exact, that no longer fit, plus, the many that were failed attempts along the way. Well, I had bagged them all up and stored them in a cupboard out of sight…but not out of mind. I didn’t know what to do with them. I couldn’t just throw them out, and for some reason, I just wasn’t ready to part with them. Over the past three years I’ve pondered what I might do with the bras. My first thought was that I would take them all out to the beach, create words with them meaningful to my breast cancer experience, photograph the words and then burn them on the beach when I was done. I liked this idea, but didn’t get around to it. I told myself I would do this project in September 2013, but to my surprise, I just didn’t have the energy. I then aimed for 2014, but it too, came and went. September 2015 rolled around and I said to Randall, this is the year I’m going to deal with my bras.

Parting is such sweet sorrow

I had read “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo this past summer and just fell in love with her method and the meaning behind it all. It struck me that holding on to my bra collection was an unhealthy tie to my past and perhaps even a block to my future. I knew I had to part with it.

The perfect match

If you read “My Story” you’ll know that after my breast cancer diagnosis, I became fascinated by all things health and nutrition, which led me to study at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. This has brought me to a different level of awareness when it comes to food and its influence on our health. As I pondered what to do with my bras, this crazy idea popped into my head. I would photograph them with Breast Cancer prevention foods. What’s the point, I thought unless I share them with others? Gulp, I’m actually a pretty private person, so that idea was terrifying and exhilarating all at the same time! The next day I pulled out the bag of bras, grabbed some produce from the refrigerator and took a few photos. I realized it was a little trickier than I imagined getting fruits and veggies to cooperate, but I found ways. I got totally engrossed in the process of taking the photos. I spent days staging my shots out on our balcony. It was a very therapeutic, almost meditative process and a nice way to reconnect with my collection. The fun part was matching the bra to the food. Sometimes I went for contrast, and sometimes for matching. Some I felt were just meant to be together. So much fun!

A project was born

This is how Cups of Prevention came into being. I have created a photo for each day of October, Breast Cancer Awareness month, showing a cancer-fighting food nestled in one of my bras and have written a description of each foods amazing power. My hope is to raise awareness of “Food as Medicine” and the importance of our diet to our overall health and disease prevention. I want to help women understand that they can make small changes every day towards breast cancer prevention. I want to empower women to take charge of their own health and wellbeing.

Life should be fun!

Despite the serious message behind this, I wanted this project to be fun!!! So I have combined two of my favorite things: Food and Fashion with a little humor to carry this message. This is the first step in using my new passion, to help others by sharing Daily Measures that can lead to better health.

Its good to share

Please feel free to share my blog with anyone you think might benefit from, or enjoy it: your sisters, daughters, mothers and friends … It’s good to share! Here’s to many years of great health for us all, email_signoff1_name

8 comments on “The Project

  1. Great job Alison! You did it!!! I am so proud of you. I LOVE this and know this is just the beginning for you. Best of luck, prayers for continued health, and much love to you my friend! XOXOX

  2. I LOVE the whole project. What a beautiful circle of how it came to fruition. I am so proud of you and impressed by your creativity!

    • Dear Amy,
      I am thrilled you love my project! Thank you so much for your kind, thoughtful words and support!
      Love,
      Alison
      xox

  3. Alison,
    This is beyond exciting! I am thrilled to hear of your new found passion and quest for helping other women! You are an inspiration in more ways than one and I can’t wait to see where this journey takes you. I look forward to your posts and can’t wait to see what you learn and share! XOXO

    • Dear Kaitlin,
      Thank you SO much for your kind words! I hope you are enjoying the posts as much as I am enjoying creating them! Thank you for all your help and support.
      Love,
      Alison
      xox

  4. Alison,
    I shall be following you blog with great interest. What a truely unique way of dealing with your experience and sharing your knowledge with others. This is simply wonderful.
    Health to enjoy. x x x x x

    • Dear Heather,
      Thank you so much for following my new blog! It’s lovely to have your support.
      Love to you and Daniel!
      xox

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