7 Things I Learned About Clothes After My Mastectomy – Chatelaine

7 Things I Learned About Clothes After My Mastectomy – Chatelaine

(Photo: iStock)

Almost 14 years ago, I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. After a radical mastectomy with lymph node removal on the right side of my body, I knew that my relationship with clothing would forever change.

I was forced to rethink my approach to how I dress. But the biggest challenge was not having the resources or information to help me navigate this new experience after my surgery.

For many mastectomy patient, such as myself, dressing up to go out in public can stir up feelings of self-consciousness at first. People who have had both breasts removed often wonder if they should go flat-chested or get prostheses. Others, like myself, who have had one breast removed, wonder if getting a prosthesis for the surgical side will make us look as we did before surgery—or whether it will make us look unbalanced.

Once you realize that you are losing one or both breasts, some—like me—may assume you can’t wear specific clothing like halter tops, spaghetti-strapped dresses, or off-the-shoulder tops because your bra will show you need one to support your prosthetics.

Over time, I learned a lot of things when it came to getting dressed after having a mastectomy. I have some tips to help others in the same predicament. The most important lesson: you shouldn’t limit what you can or can’t wear after surgery.

Get fitted for a bra by an experienced specialist

Before you can even think about clothing, you need to figure out bras. Going to an experienced bra fitter at a specialty shop or a drug store with home health care that offers bra and prosthesis fittings is critical. They will have the experience and background to help women determine their needs. After my surgery, I went to a chain lingerie store to find a bra. A sales associate gave me a larger-sized cupped bra and said I could put my prostheses in the cup to hold it. That was not the right solution—the prosthesis was visible and could fall out. Also, the bra did not have any support.

Carol-Lynn Lucas of JUST CALL US – Health Solutions Inc., a bra and prosthesis fitting specialty store in Halifax, says that women should think about what they do in their everyday life—that will help determine what bras will work for them. (That is, if you need a bra at all—some women with flat closures opt to go bra-free.)

“The key is to listen to them to find out what type of lifestyle they want to get back to, so are they active physically? Are they a runner? Do they do Zumba? Are they someone that likes to go out and enjoy the nightlife dancing? Even the types of tops they want to wear – I find that a lot of women tend to want to hide because they are afraid that someone is going to look at them.”

The most popular line of mastectomy bras is Amoena. They offer great support and have pockets to insert a prosthesis. They have been my go-to bras since my surgery.

“The Amoena line is so versatile and covers so many different areas …….

Source: https://www.chatelaine.com/style/fashion/clothes-after-my-mastectomy/

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