How soon after surgery can a breast form (prosthesis) be worn
When I was anticipating my bilateral mastectomy I was desperate to get an up-close and personal look at what the possible results might be for nonreconstructed surgery. I didn't feel comfortable coming out and asking, and no one volunteered. So I've made a point of volunteering to show my chest whenever I hear that someone is faced with this decision. Also happy to share pix privately with anyone on the board who wishes them. I'm comfortable with my decision and don't think my chest is particularly traumatizing to look at!
After a mastectomy (breast removal) ..
Ok, there has been quite alot of discussion on this board regarding whether those of us who have chosen NOT to have reconstruction, prefer to wear our prosthesis or go for the "flat look". Several ladies who are still in the process of deciding, have requested pictures (in clothing of course ) from ladies who have gone the flat route. Since I actually had some free time today and was avoiding doing any real work at home, I decided to offer my input including pics on the "flat vs prosthesis" discussion.
First of all let me premise my post with a few comments. My choices and preferences are directly related to my personal life circumstances ie. age, marriage status, body type etc. In other words, each of us have valid and unique reasons for our choices as it relates to our BC and living with the aftermath. So view my post only as an "example" of what works for me but not as a solution for everyone else.
To keep this topic in perspective, because I know how much we all love to compare ourselves to each other, whether it is our pathologies, nodal count or cup size, I will provide some of my personal statistics just as a reference point. I am 53 years old, married 35 years to a great guy, am 5�'11" but over 6 foot in shoes, am about 40 lbs overweight at 205lbs, prior to bilateral mastectomy I wore a 38C bra, I now have a size 7 prosthesis when I choose to wear it.
I have been minus breasts for going on 18 months. I really never considered reconstruction, but I did anticipate that I would definitely wear a prosthesis. After developing LE in my left arm and then 6 weeks of rads where I wore no prosthesis, I found I appreciated the comfort level of not messing with bras and prosthesis. My original prosthesis was heavy and the bra bands across my chest were not helpful for my LE. I basically went flat all the time at home and out in public for a period of months, getting over my sense of embarrassment fairly quickly. Early this year I went to a new mastectomy fitter and purchased a much lighter prosthesis plus wear them in a stretchy torso length garment instead of a bra.
The following pics I took today to show a comparison between going flat or wearing my prosthesis in the same clothing. My personal observations are that it really does not make all that much difference in my perceived body image. In some ways I think going flat gives the illusion of appearing thinner. A lot of the visual appeal depends on the garments worn. I generally wear whatever is comfortable at home, but have learned that layers, neckline decorations and styles with fullness at the bustline tend to compliment the flat look. I do still wear my prosthesis, but usually only when I need to dress up for a special occasion. Sometimes it just depends on my mood. There are days when I enjoy filling out my clothing to best advantage, but in general personal comfort over-rules my fashion sense.
The pics on the left are my "flat look" and the pics on the right are while wearing my prosthesis. (EDIT: Hmm well if the images don't display side by side then the first image of a set is without the prosthesis)
Knitted Knockers are special handmade breast prosthesis for women who have undergone mastectomies or other procedures to the breast. Traditional breast prosthetics are usually expensive, heavy, sweaty and uncomfortable. They typically require special bras or camisoles with pockets and can't be worn for weeks after surgery. Knitted Knockers on the other hand are soft, comfortable, beautiful and when placed in a regular bra they take the shape and feel of a real breast. Our special volunteer knitters provide these free to those requesting them. Knitted knockers can be adjusted to fill the gap for breasts that are uneven and easily adapted for those going through reconstruction by simply removing some of the stuffing.