Having traveled the breast cancer journey, I want to share that a mastectomy may not always be necessary. A second opinion can give you a different perspective. A lumpectomy may be all that is required.
When I went in for my surgery, we discussed a lumpectomy as my lump was small. In my research, I had learned that it was possible to have a clause written into the Surgical Release Form that you wanted to be woken up and informed if they felt a mastectomy was required. I did this.
In the end, my surgeon would have performed a mastectomy which would have necessitated wearing mastectomy bras with inserts unless I chose reconstructive surgery. He felt he didn’t get clear margins. A follow up and second opinion with the cancer team indicated that my continuing treatment – radiation and chemotherapy – would get whatever was left. So, I never had a mastectomy even though my small lump had spread to 13 out of 22 lymph nodes – and I’m still here with no recurrence – 23 years later and counting.
It pays to be informed and be assertive with your own treatment plan. You can also find out more at our sister site – www.cancerhelphub.com.
Having a mastectomy is never simple. The surgery itself takes time for recovery, but often longer is the recovery from a change in your body image. We women are attached to our bosoms. They nourish our children. They matter in how we dress. They can be an expression of our sexuality.
With an adjusted body, comes an emotional adjustment to losing part of us that was important. For some, this is easier than for others. Some women even have mastectomies to prevent a cancer risk depending on their genetic profile.
But for all women who have undergone a mastectomy, there is the need to find comfortable, functional, yet feminine mastectomy bras. This is a viable solution for many women. With proper fitting, body image and self esteem can co-exist with your new you.
For those whom these mastectomy bras is not workable, reconstructive surgery is a viable option. Another topic for another day.
Several issues arise after a mastectomy which are not always apparent in the moment. I’ve heard a few variations of similar themes among my ladies when they get chatting in class. Here is the gist of some of these conversations.
- It rides up. When the band around your chest under the bra is too narrow, the bra tends to ride up on the side of your mastectomy. Having a wide band or better yet a torso band will help keep your bra in place.
- Hurts on the side. Often an envelope of skin or skin tags are just where the bra side seam sits. It hurts and rubs. Look for bras that have no side seams.
- Can’t reach around the back anymore. This happens when shoulder mobility is compromised. There are lovely front closure bras for this situation.
- They don’t breathe. Menopause happens after chemotherapy, so finding bras in cotton or an absorbent material is critical to absorb sweat.
Finding mastectomy bras that feel comfortable, look good, and are functional will help your self-esteem. You will feel and look great knowing that your underpinnings are in place and will stay in place.
How do we think of ourselves? Do we often focus on our body – our image that presents to the world? In this day and age, there is a great focus on looking good, being fit, staying slim, etc.
We all come in different sizes and shapes, colors and nationalities. With that come different ways to look at our body – what it symbolizes. Can we be okay with who we are inside? Can we celebrate who we are on the outside – no one has the perfect body, even models.
For women with breast cancer, this can become an issue after a mastectomy. I’ve heard that this surgery has shifted relationships, creates decisions about whether to have reconstructive surgery or be content wearing mastectomy bras. A lot of the decision depends on lifestyle. For those who are involved in active sports, reconstructive surgery is their choice. For others, not.
Regardless, the saying holds true – you are more than your body. Truly, what counts is who you are inside. Beauty starts within. That energy creates a wonderful aura around you. Here’s to magnificent you.
Absolutely – is what I’m sure I’m hearing. Just because you’ve had a mastectomy does not diminish your femininity and desire to look attractive and sexy to your partner. Well, for that matter, looking fabulous does wonders for any woman’s self-esteem.
Thank goodness there are wonderful bras available for you to choose from – mastectomy bras for every occasion, whether it’s for sports, everyday or a special occasion.
When you’re looking, make sure that the design allows for comfort and utility. This means looking for mastectomy bras that:
- have a wide under band so they don’t ride up
- no side seams to rub on scars
- allow for your prosthesis to be well anchored so it doesn’t slide around
- and most important, are comfortable.
Even though you want sexy and beautiful, you still need to feel comfortable – it will show in your demeanor if you are not.
Surgery and/or radiation scars are often high on the chest wall which makes them difficult to disguise or hide. Nowadays, most T-shirts, bras, camisoles, etc. are cut low and often designed to be worn with multi-layers.
I haven’t found any mastectomy bras that come up high, but I have found a camisole that comes with a high neckline. It has several style options that are both practical and dressy. The mastectomy camisole was also designed to be worn over a bra.
This mastectomy camisole is extremely comfortable – it has stretch to the fabric. It was designed with input from many women who had undergone breast cancer treatment – women who know.
Wonder where that statement came from? Well, one of the comments I’ve heard about mastectomy bras is the issue of the bra sliding up as there is nothing to hold it down and in place.
Other issues are the need for a soft, comfortable fabric, some stretch, and no side seams to irritate scar tissue. Finding the right bra for your situation can be a challenge
Here is one with a long line that hugs the torso providing the ‘anchor’ for your bra. Worth having a peak at this style of mastectomy bra, as well as others to see what works for you.
Finding a regular bra, without the issue of having had a mastectomy, can be a challenge for some. So imagine finding the right bra when you have had a mastectomy.
First, the mastectomy bra does need to be functional. Comfort comes up at the top of the list. No side seams, soft fabric, proper band around the bottom to keep the bra in place, and pockets for the prosthesis.
However, functional does not always need to appear functional. Looking and feeling feminine are important for one’s self-esteem and self-image. Losing a breast to cancer may be necessary for your health and life. Losing your sense of being a woman does not have to follow. We are who we are inside. That is what counts.
So have a look for the mastectomy bra that suits you and your lifestyle. There may be several looks you want to have in your wardrobe.
For women who undergo a mastectomy, it involves changing how you wear your clothes, especially bras. For some, there is scarring on the chest from either surgery or radiation. These scars are visible when wearing some necklines, especially if they gape at the neckline when you bend over.
Also finding something for those dressier occasions can be a challenge. These women want something a little special. Something with pizazz.
I found just the item – beautiful mastectony camisole tops which are made of stretch lace, hug the body and are worn over a bra, come up high enough in the front and also under the arm to hide all scars, and look fabulous.
In fact, what woman wouldn’t want one of these. They are so versatile – and comfortable.
For any woman who has undergone a mastectomy, you will know that finding proper garments that provide both comfort and support is sometimes hard to find.
Post surgery, when the incision is still sore, comfort is key. There will be drains to manage for a few days at home. After the drains have been removed, while the incision is healing, wearing a soft cotton mastectomy camisole is a great option. This camisole will have both drain management and a pocket(s) for an interim prosthesis.
These mastectomy camisoles are wonderfuly cozy under a sweater, shirt, or T-shirt providing practical coverage and function.