It was finally time for me to buy a bra…or two. Since having my mastectomy I have only been able to wear light, cotton sports bras, that offer support without pressing on my incisions. They are “practical” . They’re fine but I want more. I want to look and feel like a woman rather than a girl waiting to buy her first training bra. Apparently that is supposed to be a “momentous” occasion in a girl’s life…buying your first training bra. Mine certainly wasn’t. My very first training bra was presented to me by the boys in my 7th grade class as I was the only girl who hadn’t “developed”. My nickname was “Flatty Patti” and they teased me incessantly. After that, my mother just went shopping and left a bra on my bed to wear…a subtle hint that it was time! So I certainly don’t have any positive memories of my first lingerie purchase.
All the bras that I owned “before”, certainly don’t fit now. I am a completely different size and shape. Fake boobs “foobs” also don’t move and adjust the way real boobs do. You know what I’m talking about ladies. You can adjust the “girls” to fit into bra….but that doesn’t work with implants. You have to find, as I just discovered, bras that will adjust to your body rather than the other way. It’s true that I don’t need as much support with my foobs but I still should wear a bra. But it’s difficult to find one that works. I still have a lot of swelling and the incisions are still be painful. Also, if I push on the foobs, it causes the saline inside to ripple so my cleavage looks like a Lays potato chip…ridiculous. And if the ripples aren’t bad enough …well then there’s the thick red scars that are very hard to cover. I realize that I am no Victoria’s Secret model, but it would still be nice to look and feel good.
It was a very difficult thing to do…to shop for a bra. I had to be measured carefully, which meant I had to explain and show exactly what the saleswoman was going to have to deal with. It’s hard to shed your clothes and watch someone’s face as they see what’s revealed under your clothes. I had to undergo several fittings in order to find a make and model that actually worked…that “fit” the foobs, covered the scars, didn’t press on the incisions, held in the swelling and didn’t look like something out of an old 1950’s Sears catalogue. It was emotional, frustrating and exhausting. Not to mention expensive. Guys, you don’t know how lucky you are that you don’t have to shell out the $$$$ that we girls do for lingerie…especially “specialty” bras that I have to wear.
I have been waiting 16 months to make this purchase. Waiting until the hematoma under my arm was removed and I could finally be measured properly. With my daughter’s wedding next weekend, (November 2nd) and my birthday this weekend (October 27), I figured it was time to take the plunge. I went to a store that I used to shop at but obviously hadn’t been in awhile. It is not located close to where I live now, but I wanted to go there for a few reasons. One, because the owner and I both started our businesses the same year and have had a lot in common; two, because she was probably wondering where I was as I hadn’t been to her store in ages; and three, because for the month of October I know that they donate $5 for every bra purchased to Breast Cancer Research. I used to make a point of shopping there every October as I thought that was a nice thing to do and a very good cause. Now, I am that cause. What a strange turn of events.
I am still grappling with coming to terms with my mastectomy. I don’t think some of the feelings I struggle with, will ever go away. But, like today, every step forward makes a difference. Today, I came to terms with the fact that I am a new shape and size. That I will never be able to wear things that I did before, or feel the way I did before. But, I also came to terms with the fact that I can still find and wear things that are pretty. Things that are not just functional but also feminine.
My shopping trip today was not just about buying a bra. It was about making progress. It was about adjustment and acceptance. It was about coming to terms with my new reality and trying to make peace with that. Hakuna Matata…no worries…hopefully for the rest of my days.
President of As You Like It Marketing & Communications Inc. Award winning speaker and author. Breast cancer fighter and blogger. I’m sharing my journey…the good, the bad and the ugly. Hoping to help anyone else that has been touched by breast cancer be it you or someone you know or love.