I thought I was done with the anxiety filled bra shopping days in my pre-teen years but I guess I was wrong….YES I am a 34 year old woman going bra shopping for the first time and NO, these are not my new boobs!!!
(Let me drop some knowledge on yall first…)After deciding to undergo a bilateral mastectomy, one can choose to have an immediate reconstruction, staged reconstruction or no reconstruction at all! If you’re having an implant inserted at the same time as the mastectomy (immediate reconstruction) and enough tissue is available to cover the implant, the plastic surgeon will place the breast implant under the patient’s chest muscle after the breast tissue is removed. If you’re having the staged approach to implant reconstruction like I did, (delayed-immediate reconstruction), the plastic surgeon places a tissue expander between the skin and chest muscle after your breast surgeon has removed the breast tissue. A tissue expander is an implant that’s more like a balloon. It stretches the skin to make room for the final breast implant. This “magnificent” apparatus is what all of my friends are asking about. “Do they (expanders) hurt? How long do you keep them in for? How do they expand?”
The expander has a port (a metal or plastic plug, valve, or coil) that allows my surgeon (s/o to Dr. Kilgo!) to add increasing amounts of saline over time until the skin gradually is stretched enough to accommodate the size implant I decide. The concept is pretty interesting I guess; being able to “choose” what size breasts I want ( T R U S T, I would never, ever everrrrrr say this is an “upside” to having breast cancer because I would choose my disease-free itty bitty B closer to A cup titties anyday of the week). Although I am grateful for these expanders, I legit can NOT wait to get them out. Trips to see Dr. Kilgo are extremely worrisome because I am well aware of the pain that is about to transpire. Slowly stretching the skin over these past few months has become tiresome and just plain ole annoying.
Expanders feel like cement bricks and because my “breast” size changes bi-weekly thanks to those saline filled syringes, bra shopping has been a complete joy (*insert sarcasm here*) After months of searching, I FINALLY found a comfortable and beautiful bra to wear during reconstruction. The ANAONO wirefree bras have been a God-sent! The designs are specifically made for breast cancer patients and our needs. They come with modest pads, gentle fabric to help with sensitivity during radiation treatment and even have deep-cut arm holes to accommodate lymph node incision scars and pain points. It may seem petty and minute to some, but a simple thing like finding a wire-less bra to conform to your new body is pretty difficult. The mental anguish is much worse than the physical. This year has taught me that I am STILL Deniece without hair, brows are even breasts! I SLAYED CANCER and I am much greater than the sum of my (saline filled) parts….
…..can’t wait for my new boobs tho…. hehehe. September can NOT come fast enough….