I decided it might be a good idea to get myself a new breast prosthetic. At the moment, my shaped Victoria Secret bras do a decent job faking a right breast, but the shaping may eventually collapse and more fitted shirts compress the bra. So, I scheduled a new appointment at the Pennsylvania Artificial Limb and Brace Company. I wanted to make sure and get my stuff while we’re still in this calendar year and my insurance is way maxed out.
As per usual, Julie did an excellent job helping me out. It was a little tricky because apparently, most of her patients have a much larger cup size than I do. It also doesn’t help that I have to keep the straps off to the side because my port is in the way. There were few bras that I could actually try on. We did manage to find one in my size – 34AA. Yes, yes, very sad, but I didn’t like being a B cup. I’m much happier back at my normal size.
My new mastectomy bra. It kind of feels like a sports bra
The inside cup for my prosthetic
I was a little leery of this bra because the straps do go right over my port. However, I wore it all day today and it didn’t bother me. The straps are wide enough that they go around the port, and I think I’ve finally gotten used to the port (over a year later).
Here’s my new prosthetic:
We ended up going with a size four because I have a bit of concavity in my chest from the nasty expander. With this bra, it squishes it all to my chest and I needed a bit more oomph. I wore it today and felt a bit more balanced. I don’t mind going around without it, but it was kind of nice to have two breasts today instead of just one.
I’ve got another bra on order that will allow me to wear tops with a deeper dip into the decolletage. We’ll see how it works once my size comes in.
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.
I have been enjoying my first week after radiation. My skin is almost completely healed – there’s a bit of a tan line around the main treatment area, and I’m peeling on the expander. I can still see evidence of all the hives, but at least they’re not itchy anymore.
Even though I didn’t have radiation, I did have a doctor’s appointment. I met with Dr. Kang (the plastic surgeon) this afternoon for an update after radiation. I just wanted to touch base with him and see what the time frame was for replacing the expander with something squishy. We’re talking six months down the road to schedule the surgery. The big delay is to let the skin heal and the tissue relax a bit (everything has tightened and the expander has ridden up a little in the chest wall). I was a bit surprised at the time frame. I had remembered something more like six weeks rather than six months, but I might just have thinking optimistically.
Take home message is I need to make that appointment with the Pennsylvania Artificial Limb & Brace Company (isn’t that just a mouthful – we’ve decided just to call it PALB for short) for a breast form to even up the breasts. I can get away with the unevenness pretty easily during the winter, but it will become much more obvious over the summer. I’ll put it on my list of things to do for Monday, I guess!