Tag Archive | breast forms

Fair and Balanced, Again

I finally got around to ordering my breast form and mastectomy bras, and then waited impatiently for what we had decided to order to actually come in. I was more than ready for some new bras, since most of mine currently look like this:

One shredded bra

One shredded bra

I wasn’t about to buy new bras while I was in the middle of treatment. During radiation, I didn’t even wear a bra unless I was going out somewhere special. The other problem is my expander is a full cup size larger than my natural breast size, so my current bras don’t quite fit. Of course, when my breasts are two different sizes, nothing actually fits them without some help. That’s part of the reason I went back to Pennsylvania Artificial Limb and Brace. My lop-sidedness would be very apparent with most of my summer clothes without some boosting on the left side.

This is the breast form we went with:

My breast form to even up the sides

My triangular swim form to even up the sides

The breast forms come in triangular or teardrop shapes. We went with the triangular, swim form shape to add as much to the upper part of my left breast as possible, to match the completely unnatural shape of the expander on the right. Because it’s a swim form, it won’t float when I take it in the water. Now I really need to check and see if it fits in my bikini, preferably before I go on vacation and actually want to wear a bathing suit.

The breast form slides inside the pocket of a mastectomy bra and then just sits on my breast.

The pocket of one of my bras

The pocket of one of my bras

The pocket if the other bra

The pocket of the other bra

I tried on several bras, and decided on these two as the most comfortable. The biggest problem was most of the bra straps sit right on top of my port, which is not at all comfortable. With these two bras, the straps go to the side a bit.

After wearing both bras for a few days, neither bra is as comfortable as my old bras. They are quite snug in the chest (which probably just means the elastic isn’t dead) and the straps aren’t over as far as I had hoped. They also irritate the expander a bit, which I don’t really understand how. I like being even again (which tells me I made the right decision in doing reconstruction, because I wouldn’t want a breast on only one side), but the increase in cup size is surprisingly noticeable. I’m glad I decided not to increase my cup size with the reconstruction. At least keep one thing the same, right! I’m sure I’ll get used to the new bras after a while.

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Mastectomy bras and breast forms

Since it will be six months until reconstruction surgery, I decided I needed to go back to Pennsylvania Artificial Limb & Brace to talk about breast forms. My lopsided breasts aren’t too noticeable with winter clothes on, but it’s harder to hide with summer clothes. So, it was off to try on bras.

The tricky part of trying on bras was when the woman who was helping me asked what kind of bras I like. I don’t know – I found a style I like on Victoria Secret (T-shirt bras) and just buy those when they’re on sale. I just want to make sure the straps don’t go over my port. So, I got measured and then tried on a couple of options with breast forms to see how they fit and looked.

A breast form is a partial breast prosthesis that is put over my existing breast to make it larger to match the expander. The expander is a full cup size larger than my natural breast, so I need a little boost on the left side. The trick is getting the boost in the upper part of the breast, so I need an oval breast form instead of the more typical triangular form. We’ll see what it looks like when the stuff comes in in a week or two.

I did ask about swimming with the breast form as well. I just need to find a bathing suit to hold the breast form. My bikini might actually work, since it has pockets in the breasts, but I’ll check out Lands End and see if I can find anything else. They have mastectomy bathing suits that I can return to Sears if it doesn’t fit.

How do you like my sleeve?

My new LymphaDiva sleeves came in, so I picked them up on my way to the Cancer Center (more on that appointment in a later post). The woman I’ve been working with at the Pennsylvania Artificial Limb and Brace Company (yeah, it’s a mouthful) has been extremely helpful and knowledgeable about what’s available to help a breast cancer patient.

First, we tried on the sleeve.

The Flutter LymphaDiva sleeve and gauntlet

The Flutter LymphaDiva sleeve and gauntlet

I’m pleased with the pattern choice I made. I also got a plain beige one to wear under long sleeves, but I wanted to try on the pretty one first. I had help putting it on this time, and I’m sure it will be much more difficult to do on my own since it’s so snug. I got the small short sleeve and the small gauntlet (for my hand). The sleeve itself isn’t too noticeable when I wear it, but the gauntlet makes the muscle in the ball of my thumb cramp up. I might wear the sleeve around just to get used to it, but there’s no way I’m wearing the gauntlet unless it’s absolutely necessary.

Since I was there, I mentioned to the assistant how lop-sided I am after the final fill on my expander. It’s going to be months before I get the expander exchanged for the implant, and I was wondering if there was anything I could do to even things up. Turns out there is. I can get a breast form to up the size on my left breast so it matches the expanded right side. I can also get a partial form for the right side so there isn’t quite the drop off on the underside of the breast. If I’m going to go in that direction, I probably want a mastectomy bra to hold the forms in place as well, so I’ll have to go back for a fitting and to pick out a style that will work without irritating my port.

Oh, and while I’m at it – check out the hair!

Look - there's hair!

Look – there’s hair!

It feels like real hair, finally, and you definitely can’t see my scalp through what’s come in. It’s even long enough to stick up occasionally! I’m still waiting to get to the point where I can style it, but at least it’s enough to keep my head warm around the house now.