Pretty Bras After Surgery? Wish I’d Known…

File this under the “wish I’d known” category:

Hy husband Pete has a colleague whose wife has just been diagnosed with breast cancer. She sent me an email yesterday, or rather, her husband forwarded an email to me. She’s not feeling too well.

But here’s the thing: She alerted me to the fact that Nordstrom, the Seattle-based luxury department store known for its service, has a free, in-store prosthesis program. You an make an appointment with a prosthesis fitter who will sew a pocket into any bra that strikes your fancy. She’ll do the same with a post-surgery camisole, or enhancer/equalizer post-mastectomy. She’ll help you navigate the strange world of “breast forms.”

You can see a video about the service here:

I am the most boring lingerie person in the world. I’ve worn the same two Warner’s bras and the same briefs for decades. Well, not the same ones, but the same styles! In the run-up to my lumpectomy, I completely forgot about the need for a post-surgery bra. If memory serves, I sent Pete down to the hospital gift shop to pick something up as I was being wheeled into the OR.

It was comfortable. Pretty? Um, no. It looked like something my great-grandmother would have worn 100 years ago before Lycra and elastic were invented. The post-surgery weeks are not exactly a time when you’re feeling sexy, but a more attractive bra would have made me feel a little better, especially since it took me two months to recover.

This does not have to be your fate. Check out Nordstrom’s service. It looks pretty sweet.

About leftbreast

I have had breast cancer. I was diagnosed at 47, and am now 49. I have finished "active treatment," two surgeries, chemo, radiation, monoclonal antibodies. These days, I only take a drug to suppress my uptake of estrogen, since my tumor was highly reactive to that hormone. I have been married to my husband Pete for 21 years. I have a stepdaughter, Maureen, 30, and a daughter, Erin, 10. I've been a freelance magazine journalist for 20-plus years, covering everything from Chinese foreign policy to Catholic nuns to endangered species. I have had a great life. I have lived in Asia and all over the United States. I have spent nights with tree-sitters in Oregon and with astronomers at the Mauna Kea observatory in Hawaii. I've been to a cocktail party on the poopdeck of a British destroyer docked in Shanghai. I've taken the bus to Tibet, and tramped through the cloud forests of Panama with biologists. A magazine sent me on a raft trip down the Colorado through the Grand Canyon; another sent me to cooking school for a week. I have spent time with celebrities, presidents and heroin dealers. I love my work. I have a loving, supportive family and more friends than I probably deserve. I have had the space and time to camp, ski, cycle, garden, cook and spoil my pets (an Australian shepherd, a German shepherd and a tabby cat). If it all ended tomorrow, I would have to say that it has been a really, really good ride. When I was in thick of treatment, I was simply fighting for more time. Now, I'm trying to connect the experience of cancer with the rest of my life, with the time that's been won. I hope the cancer never comes back, but if it does, I'll be ready. That's what this blog is about.
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4 Responses to Pretty Bras After Surgery? Wish I’d Known…

  1. Lee Ann says:

    What a great post — good info to be able to share. (And a reminder that pretty lingerie is a good idea anytime … at least, once in awhile!)

  2. Alison Quoyeser says:

    Hey, Heather. Nice to receive your two recent posts. All the best, Alison

  3. kymlucas says:

    In my area (Northern Ohio), there’s a great shop that specializes in prosthesis, etc. I’ve heard it’s a great service, although they weren’t able to help much with my situation. I had a Tram reconstruction and am very happy I did. However, I have scar tissue, which the elastic on the bottom of most bras — even the soft cup ones — rubs against. The only ones that are comfortable all day are sports bras. I did manage to find some in black and white that hook in front, but as you can imagine, this type of undergarment has a somewhat dampening effect on clothing choices, especially for work. I wonder if anyone else has this problem and has found a better solution than me.

  4. H. Schulz says:

    I had a bi-lateral mastectomy late last year. I have given up wearing my prosthesis & bras. Every brand is made of awful, scratchy fabric. What I wouldn’t give to wear my Victorias Secret bras again with soft, stretchy fabric.

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