Cancer Clothes

I’ve written before about all that advice one gets at the time of diagnosis–mostly about how much I dislike the “avoid the Internet” cries. Some bits of advice worked for me (don’t eat anything I love during chemo, I’ll wind up hating it–yeah, kind of true for me & suck on ice chips during infusion to prevent mouth sores–no didn’t work for me). One other bit of advice I cannot quite make up my mind about was the clothes.

My friend/guide (who died of metastatic ovarian cancer a few years ago) advised me to wear shirts with a few buttons at the top during infusion to provide easy access to the port. Yeah, that was pretty good advice. A few breast cancer-centric groups/pamphlets advised button up shirts for after surgery, as it would be difficult to pull shirts over the head after mastectomy or even lumpectomy.

Here’s the thing–I hate button up shirts. I’m more of a casual, pull-over type of gal. Even when I have button up men’s style pajamas, yep, I leave it buttoned and pull the top over my head. I just hate messing with them!

I’m fairly certain I heeded some of the advice just after my surgery. I seem to remember going back to my pull-over shirts as soon as I felt able.

The thing is though, I’m one of those people who has to wear an item of clothing out before tossing it. Or, since I’ve gained so much weight post-treatment/post-menopause, I have to really not fit into it before donating. This is in spite of hating those button up shirts. This is in spite of having bad cancer memories associated with those clothes.

I realized recently I’m down to 2 items of clothing from that time. One is a pair of soft, comfy yoga pants I remember I wore nearly every Herceptin infusion day. I mean, in the beginning, while on the Red Devil, right after I was diagnosed, I tried to wear jeans, look like I was just going to the store of something. I quickly learned not to give a shit–to just be as comfortable as possible. I think everyone knows I’m not the heels and boa wearing kick ass warrior type by now. Amazing the damn things still fit, considering my weight gain, and how much I’d lost during treatment.


The other item is this set of Christmas pajamas. I still have them, wear them even, despite the bad association–hating Christmas 2010 because I was still “newly” diagnosed, and sick and so, so frightened. I still wear them even with the damn buttons–and yes I just pull it over my head, buttons be damned. I don’t hate them, I tolerate them.

But the other day I found a hole in the leg. I think after the new year begins I’ll let them go. Besides, I have a nice Darth Vader onesie type thing. It has no bad memories (the prequels, Star Wars 1,2, and 3 don’t count). I don’t have to button it up or pull it over–I step into it and zip up.

And rule the Galaxy! Just kidding.

It’s nice to get rid of these cancer associated items. Even if I do have a hard time throwing stuff out.

Author: Cancer Curmudgeon

Oct 2010 diagnosed with Stage 3, HER2+ Breast Cancer. Completed treatment Jan 2012. Waaaaaay over pink. Applying punk rock sensibility to how I do cancer.

4 thoughts on “Cancer Clothes”

  1. Interesting and glad to know I’m not the only one who developed an aversion, unexpectedly, to clothing I wore to particular the turquoise hoodie I wore to the first infusion.. along with a shampoo I was using when I had my Lifetime movie moment in the shower with hair coming out in handfuls…thank you for being there ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank YOU–I expected the food aversions and even the scent issues. Didn’t expect the clothing one!
      Funny you talk about the Lifetime movie moment–I will be sharing one of my own such moments in an upcoming post. Hugs!


  2. I have so many cancer associations. My least favorite is ATM, my genetic mutation, because I get reminded all the time. Can’t avoid money machines or their signs. My mother bought me clothes especially for chemo days. I hated them (she doesn’t know this, yet), because they matched what my grandma used to wear during her chemo days. And yes, she got those clothes for her too. I kept them. I’ve been a little scared of throwing anything away because a part of me knows I can face this again. It’s a psychological trap I’ve created for myself. Like you, I love comfort clothes. Glad you’re able to detach yourself from those cancer associations. I find it difficult to do so.


    1. I confess, I’m still hanging on to the hats that were specific for hair loss. One person made me a VERY cute hat for that time, and I use it for outdoors, I love it and have managed to disassociate it somehow. I never learned how to tie the scarves around my head. I have some “pre-tied”. But I’ve shoved them in a bag and buried them under junk–out of sight! I am skilled at distraction, LOL!
      Ugh, ATMs, you’re right–they are everywhere! No escape. It’s funny, there was some “normal” phrase or thing I heard in a radio ad the other day which has a different meaning in CancerLand–wish I could remember what it is. If I hear it again I’ll jot it down. But yeah, it’s like ATMs–which are a part of the everyday landscape for us, as a thing to get money out of. So its sinister double meaning, hmmm, tricky. There’s got to be other stuff like it, right? I’m thinking like how I used a metronome app on my phone to steady the drip rate for my my Lyme patient’s IV. Regular (ahem, healthy) people probably use it for music related crap. But I can’t think about beats per minute outside of regulating infusion rates. See what I mean?

      Liked by 1 person

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