Happy, healthy and whole – with a side of courage (and a great sports bra, too)

Robbin Alex had already been through a double mastectomy and breast reconstruction. The last thing she needed was a bra that sucked, too.

“I hate those surgical bras,” says Alex. “They are itchy, scratchy and you have to pull them over your head when you already hurt.”

Robbin, who lives in Papillion, Nebraska, has found much-needed comfort in sports bras from H2W Apparel, with their wireless design, breathable fabric and zip-front closure.

“I got home from the hospital and have been wearing it every day for six weeks,” says Robbin. “It’s much easier to put on, keep on and it doesn’t scratch. I love this bra.”

Robbin hadn’t been diagnosed with breast cancer. But she knew she was very, very likely to get the disease if she didn’t make a tough decision.

Two of her sisters have breast cancer. One of them is currently in remission after being diagnosed in 2013.  

The other – younger sister Kandy – was diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2016. Doctors told her that she had, at most, 18 months to live. Her tumor was too large to remove surgically. What’s more, the cancer had spread to her bones, lungs, liver as well as a spot on her brain stem.

Robbin (left) and sister Kandy  

Kandy’s outlook was bleak.

 With two sisters diagnosed with breast cancer, Robbin decided she was taking no chances.

“I didn’t want to live wondering if I would have breast cancer,” says Robbin. “Breasts or no breasts. To live or not to live. It was a constant worry.”

 She adds: “I talked to my husband. We decided, ‘it’s a done deal.’”

After Robbin had both breasts removed, she learned that she carries the genetic marker for a BRCA2 mutation.

According to the National Cancer Institute, BRCA1 and BRCA2 are human genes that produce tumor-suppressing proteins in the body. Specifically-inherited mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 increase the risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer. 

The NCI says that about 72 percent of women who inherit a BRCA1 genetic mutation will get breast cancer by age 80. Of the women who have the BRCA2 mutation – like Robbin – about 69 percent will develop the disease by their 80th birthdays.

Kandy, for her part, has defied the odds. She took a dream vacation to Disneyland last July.  Doctors have since been able to remove much of the cancer and she has had her ovaries removed. Doctors are so far able to keep the cancer at bay and prevent it from spreading further.

Kandy has remained upbeat and optimistic throughout her treatment.

“Her positive attitude has helped her so much,” says Robbin. 

 Robbin and her sisters are living their lives as best they can in spite of their circumstances. They are H2W women – happy, healthy and whole.

 “I’m glad I don’t have to live wondering if I’ll have to live with cancer or not,” she says. “More and more women are making decision that are proactive for them instead of letting people talk them out of it. We just need to take it day by day and be happy.”

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