Inquiring minds want to know about my breast prosthesis.
First a little background.
As a result of breast cancer I had a right side mastectomy without reconstruction. My cancer was fast growing and aggressive - I had my routine mammogram in May 2004 with no problems identified and was diagnosed in Sept 2004. My Oncologist wanted to start me on chemo asap to hopefully reduce the tumor size, then schedule surgery and then get me back on chemo.
As a result of this there was no time for reconstructive surgery. It would have meant a much longer recovery period - and getting back on chemo, (such a wonderful thing to look forward to) was my number 1 goal.
At the time - I didn't worry or think much about reconstruction - my goal was to live.
After being inundated with scans, Oncology appointments, blood draws, radiation appointments, chemo treatments and everything that goes with treatments - - I was done thinking about cancer.
But eventually I decided that I would look at reconstruction alternatives. There are two main types of reconstruction available - 1) implant with saline, or silicone or a combo of both or 2) autologous reconstruction (tissue transplanted from another part of your body (such as your belly, thigh, or back)).
Since I had radiation, option #1 was not available. As a result of being blasted by subatomic particles for weeks on end - the skin on my chest wall is very thin and non-elastic. Surgeons won't generally perform implant surgery because the chances of failure are too great. Option #2 involves removing skin, fat and sometimes muscle from somewhere else on your body and either reattaching it or literally tunneling it under your skin to form a mound to create a breast.
I have talked to several different surgeons and they agree that option #2 is the only option for me. I have never walked out of their offices thinking - "I want to do that!" I don't place enough importance on a breast to justify taking muscle, skin and fat from somewhere else to try and rebuild a fake breast. I have given cancer enough time and attention! I am fine with my single breast and will wear a prosthesis.
So what does a prosthesis look like and how does it stay in place?
This is my go to breast form. It is a little smaller than some of my others and works great for both everyday bras and sports bras. All my everyday bras are mastectomy bras, they contain a pocket within the cup to insert the breast form into.
For running and biking I just slide the breast form inside a sports bras. I use regular sports bras since they are pretty snug. I have never had any irritation or sliding in a sports bra.
I also have a simple form that is great for sleeping and some bras.
This one is very light and is easy to wear - it adjusts to the cup/pocket.
I don't normally wear a bra to bed - but if others are present - sleep overs, or in a hotel - I usually will sleep in a light bra and use this form.
Two funny stories about breast forms.
I was on vacation with a group of women where we rented a condo. I had taken a shower and set this light form on the side of the tub. One of the women came out of the shower later and mentioned the weird shower pouf / loofah. She was complaining that it wasn't very good - there was no exfoliating material. I laughed so hard and finally told her that it was not a shower pouf - but my breast form!
The other funny story involved yoga. For some reason I had worn a regular bra to work that day, I think I needed a black bra and didn't have a mastectomy version in black. I had simply set the form in the bra cup - it seemed to work fine at work. Well, I went to yoga after work and while in downward dog position - it fell out! I quickly picked it up and slide it back in my bra - hoping that no one had seen it! I had problems with it the entire class. Lesson learned - always wear a mastectomy bra to yoga!
Peace and Enjoy the moments!