May love and laughter light your days, and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours, wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world with joy that long endures.
May all life's passing seasons bring the best to you and yours!
~ Robert Frost


Welcome to my blog. This is my story of how I faced my risk of breast cancer, the decisions I made, the support I received and my week by week recovery from surgery. I chose to have a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy with immediate DIEP reconstruction at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston (March 2010). For more information on my 'Medical Team' please see tab above. I also have a wonderful circle of friends who have supported me throughout. They have provided us with lots of delicious meals and desserts. Many of those recipes are included above under "Feed the Flap" recipes. "Feed the Flap" is a term I coined when trying to increase my abdominal (fat) flap to ensure that I was a good candidate for the DIEP procedure. This was not something recommended by any medical professional, it was just something that made sense to me. I think it worked!! Feel free to join me on this journey and feel free to post comments.

Select the tabs on the left side marked Week 1, Week 2, Week 3..... to go immediately to the surgical/recovery part of this blog.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Post-Mastectomy Bra Fitting and Follow-up in Boston

Last week I had lots of things going on, not the least of which were my follow-up visits with both the breast surgeon and the plastic surgeon. Additionally my computer crashed - that's the reason I wasn't able to post any updates - my work has picked up again and I was fitted for post-mastectomy bras. All of these things made for a hectic week.

Life is truly back to normal. Let's start with the bra fitting. I requested this via my PCP. It was a wonderful visit with an old friend. I knew her back in the days when I was the Chair of the Race for the Cure. Being fitted for a bra for my new breasts was informative. It seems that for years I have worn the wrong size bra - or I have grown. That could have happened after all my efforts at feeding my flap (more on that in a later post). With my new breasts I am a 38A. There are very few places you can find a 38A bra, so this service was great. Even though I have breasts (ones that I am very proud of and ones that I truly earned), it still felt good to add a prosthesis to a 38B bra and to some bathing suits. These post-mastectomy bras are comfortable and look good. With them I am actually bigger than I was when I started all of this.

The next day I was in Boston to see my doctors. With Dr. Tobias we discussed what Stage 2 surgery would be all about. Basically a little bit of lipsuction (I was hoping for more!), a little tuning up of the dog ears on the ends of my abdominal scars, and a bit of filling in of the spots where the breast surgeon took tissue above my breasts. It all made sense. I thought he might be able to do some more lipo and plump up my breasts a bit, but that's not exactly necessary according to the doctor. Next I was off to see the breast surgeon. She did a breast exam, which wasn't uncomfortable at all. I thought that since my breasts are quite numb that I might find it uncomfortable, but I didn't. After that she cut me loose. My annual breast exams will be with my local breast surgeon. I was surprised, but grateful that I don't have to make a 4-hour trip for that.

When I told her that I had been fitted for bras with the post-mastectomy bra fitter, my breast surgeon was surprised. She said that I should just go to Victoria's Secret or some other places for bras and bathing suits since the whole point of the reconstruction was to avoid a prosthesis. I was surprised by her reaction. But, we headed out to do some shopping so I figured I would see if I could find something that would fit. My old bras and bathing suits don't fit so I had my doubts.

Well, after a few hours of trying on clothes (without my 38B bra on) I found a couple of bathing suits that worked for me. But, I couldn't find a bra to fit. They don't make 38A padded off the rack at Sears or JC Penney. When I got home I did go online to Victoria's Secret and saw that they do offer a 38A padded bra for $45. I won't order one, but when I get to a Victoria's Secret store I will try one on. In the meantime I am very happy to have the bras from the bra fitter as well as some sports bras that fit.

Now I have some versatility in my bathing suit wardrobe. Remember, I live at our camp in the summer and spend lots of time on and near the water. Right now I have bathing suits for watersports like waterskiing and tubing (non-prothesis) and others for socializing on the deck (full cup 38B). I am happy. Probably not all people will need or want both the non-prothesis bras and bathing suits, but it works for me. I am wearing the Full 38B in the picture!!!


Teri S said...

Hi! So this may sound weird, but why only an A cup after the DIEP? That doesn't sound right?

Joanie said...

Well, it all goes back to "Feeding the Flap". During a consult with a local doc, a year or so ago, I was told that if I weighed 175 and had given birth to 3 kids I would be a candidate for the DIEP, otherwise I would have to do the latissimus dorsi with implant. I've never had alot of excess weight, so I gained weight in an attempt to be able to make breasts from my belly. No one recommended this, but it was my only hope for being able to do the surgery. My doctor did tell me before hand that I would be going from "oranges" to "lemons". In the end, I love my "lemons" even if it is hard to find the perfect bra.

myblip said...

Oh, okay - so you just didn't have much excess body fat - gotcha! I did not have the same problem. heehee

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