Breastfeeding and Breast Cancer Blog

From breastfeeding to being diagnosed with breast cancer and then back to breastfeeding. This is an account of my experiences.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Bras and the Quest for Symmetry

I often wonder if bra shopping will ever be the same.

After my first surgery, I noticed my breast was a bit smaller than the other.  It wasn't very noticeable in clothes and I didn't worry about it.

Then I had my second surgery and now I had one natural breast with a nipple and one breast mound.  I found that a padded bra felt more comfortable for me.  It hid any imperfections of my surgery and my one nipple.

The next bra scenario happened when I was pregnant.  All of the pregnancy hormones were headed to my one breast and it grew and grew.  The other did not.  I finally sought out a local mastectomy boutique to see what my options were.  They fitted me with a padded mastectomy bra and sold me a mini prosthesis.  It was actually more of an enhancement designed to give someone with breasts a little boost.

Finally I am even bigger, full of milk on one side, and nursing.  My bra options seem to dwindle even further.  I would like a nursing bra, but I also like the pocket on the mastectomy bras for my "enhancement."  I see what the mastectomy boutique has to offer.  We find a couple stretchy bras that will work for nursing and have a pocket.  In addition, I find some of my old nursing bras and sew in a pocket on the one side.  These options seem to work well.

As the years pass, I wonder if I can just shop in a regular store.  I know what seems to work and what doesn't.  I find a great fit and figure I can cut near the lining seam a touch to allow me to slip in my prosthesis.

As my mini enhancement prosthesis starts to degrade and lose it's firmness, I head back to the mastectomy shop.  Initially I was very much turned off by the full prosthesis.  I went through reconstruction and have a bit of a cleavage, I don't want to hide all that with a prosthesis and a full bra. But I was curious about other options.  I was happy to find a small prosthesis that is not a full one, and it has a small nipple.  I was so tickled to try it on with my bra and shirt and notice through my shirt that I have two nipples again.  My brain sees two and feels symmetrical again.  What amazes me most is that they look identical.

At some point I may consider more surgery to even things up.  I will have to wait until I am done nursing and my natural breast gets back to it's final size.  I still am not thrilled with the idea of a artificial implant inside my body.  And even less thrilled that I may need to replace it in my lifetime.  Right now, I keep the prosthesis in my bra for a couple days at a time and just put the bra on and off.  I do wear a different enhancement in my swim suit which is a mastectomy suit.  But I am comfortable around my family with nothing and in my nightshirt.

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