About Kelly Bee Designs
Helping Others Look Good and Feel Good During Cancer Treatment
In 2013, I heard the words no one wants to hear…”You have Breast Cancer”. I was 36 years old, had two small children and I was shocked, to say the least. It turned out to be stage 3b and I was going to have “the works”. It would be a full year of treatment that included chemotherapy, hormone therapy, mastectomy, radiation and then a final reconstruction surgery. I felt completely overwhelmed and was worried about how this would effect my family and how I would get to all my appointments when my kids were still only in preschool part time and we had no family in the area to help watch them. My husband was wonderful through it all and was able to be pretty flexible with his work schedule to be home if needed. I will be forever grateful to the wonderful preschool they went to, Kesher Israel in West Chester, who made me feel that my kids were in the best hands and they would help me out in any way needed.
I was lucky to get through it all with minimal side effects. I was more worried about how my kids would get through it. Luckily, since I felt so good through all my treatments and they were very young, they were mostly unaware of what was going on. They just knew that Mommy was taking medicine to help her get better, but it would also make her hair fall out. Other than being bald, I never felt like a sick person and my kids never saw me that way. I continued to exercise, play tennis and do everything that I enjoyed doing before my cancer diagnosis. Doing all the things that I did before cancer helped to distract me from all the worries and fear that come along with a cancer diagnosis. The only time I really needed to take a break was when I was recovering from surgery.
I really didn’t know much about what was involved with a mastectomy. It was only a week before my surgery that I found out I would leave the hospital with four surgical drains hanging out of my body to collect excess fluid that would build up from the surgery. These would stay in for two weeks and needed to be drained four times a day. It was a gross and painful process. I had no idea what I was supposed to do with these drains. I consulted a friend who had gone through the surgery recently and she described a frustrating process of pinning the drains to the inside of your shirt so they weren’t just hanging out and painfully swinging around. Each one would then need to be unpinned and then repinned four times a day for draining. I decided to sew pockets inside a couple of my shirts to hold the drains and manage them more easily. After my surgery, the wonderful nurses who helped me were amazed by my drain pockets and thought they were so helpful. I had already started thinking about ways to help others who were going through this process and now realized this was it. I created Kelly Bee Designs to provide affordable, helpful garments to anyone going through a mastectomy. My goal is to create clothing that doesn’t feel like a surgical garment and helps women to leave the house with their surgical drains feeling normal during a very abnormal time.