Shopping for body parts
I’m not sure how long you grieve for your old breasts before you replace them with new ones. For me, it was exactly one month. Technically, I had window shopped, but it wasn’t until last week that I thought I should commit. My scars are healing nicely and my arms are mobile enough that I can take a t-shirt off by crossing both arms, grabbing the bottom and lifting it over my head. I’m not sure if that is the official barometer, but it was mine.
I went back to my new favourite lingerie store (Mastectomy Lingerie and More) where I could purchase specialty bras and the body parts that fill them. An elderly woman, shopping for the same thing, remarked “It seems unnatural, doesn’t it?” Yes. Yes it does.
The advantage to having a bilateral mastectomy vs being a uniboober is that you don’t have to match a prosthetic with the original. You can start from scratch and get a perfectly matching set in whatever size you’d like. You can also choose to go completely flat if you wish and not worry about bras for the rest of your life. I like the idea of having the choice. Breast cancer doesn’t give us many of those.
Speaking of choices, I have mentioned before that I do not intend on having reconstruction. It’s a serious surgery with risks and I have already had my share of hospital visits and recovery. Wearing prosthetics seems to be the easier way to go for me and frankly, no one can tell the difference when I’m in public. Let’s keep this between us.
If you’re in the market for prosthetics, they aren’t cheap. They run about $800 a pair. Thankfully, I get the majority of this covered by my insurance company and a generous government subsidy. I had to try on a few different sizes with a few different bras to figure out what looked and felt best. The whole process is a bit exhausting. Maybe four weeks after surgery is a bit soon, now that I think about it.
I finally made some choices with a LOT of help from the store’s owner, Sue. Ladies, please make sure you get professional help when doing this. It will make your life a lot easier. Sue said she would put in an order for me and would call me in a couple of days when my “foobs” arrived (Not her words). I swear I will keep the breast talk to a minimum after this blog.
Recently, I was asked to host the kick-off party to the Bright Run. The Bright Run raises money for breast cancer research at the Juravinski Cancer Centre where I am being treated. Basically, they saved my life so I’m taking part in the run/walk September 9th. The kick-off event was to get people excited about it and start their fundraising. I thought it was a bit risky of them to ask someone only two months post chemo to emcee, but who am I to say no? I figured with enough studying, I could pull it off and blame any mistakes on chemo fog. Let’s face it, a room full of survivors and hospital staff isn’t the toughest crowd.
That afternoon, Sue gave me a call and said “Since your big event is tonight, I thought you’d like to have your prosthetics. They’ll be delivered today.” Yes, my friends. These are the kinds of conversations I now have.
Getting ready for this kind of outing now requires a little more effort. I feel a bit like a spy, or a female impersonator, especially when I add the pink wig to the mix. On the bright side, my eyebrows and lashes have made a comeback so I no longer need to draw them on. It was nice to be in fine form (in all respects) at the Bright Run party.
The most important thing is that I feel better every day regardless of how I look. Radiation, I’m looking at you next.