Any advice before i see my BCN for prothesis

Hi
I had a MX in Dec and i have found it very hard to accept life with only one breast. I struggled intially with the various nerve pain and sensations that you experience post MX. It was really pulling me down and now have that under contol and find each day alot easier and i am finding the confidence to ‘get back to normal’ I have arranged to go and see my BCN (She has been great) to discuss the various prothesis that are available and i would appreciate any first hand advice anyone has re this meeting, the types availble and swimming prothesis also. I am what i consider quite large 34GG/36G and have lived in the M&S soft crop tops since the MX. I have never really got on with the softie but i really want to get a prothesis that is comfortable and gives me my shape back.
Thank you in advance
Jo xxx

Please can anyone one on here help?
Any tips or advice on do i need to get a good bra before i go? are some types of prothesis better than others?
Jo

Hi. When I had my appointment with bcn I was told to wear any good fitting bra. She had lots of different prosthesis (size, shape and make) that we tried before deciding on the one that looked and felt the best for me. Hope this helps. Pam x

Hi Jojo
I had my (double) mx in December too and am now at the stage where I am starting to think about the permanent prostheses. I would be interested to hear how you and others have got on.

Rose

Hi Jo!
I had a mastectomy in late October and got my prosthesis in early December. The fitter had lots of different types in all kinds of shapes and sizes. I was a bit worried as I was a size 44E, that she wouldn’t have one that fit me.
Anyway I took along a well fitting bra and tried on several under a T shirt to see how they looked and eventually we settled on an Amoena light size 10. I took it away in what looked like a cake box and have found it so much better than the softie. They also sent me a pocket bra a few days later.
Other than that I wear a normal M & S bra (yes they do a size 44E) and the prosthesis stays put. Apart from that I was fitted in John Lewis for a Doreen bra and was found to be a 44DD with that brand. John Lewis sent it away for a pocket to be sown in at a cost of about £6.50.
As for a swimwear prosthesis try Nicolajane.com or Amoena.
I’m sure that you will feel much better once you have your prosthesis.
Good luck!
Wendy

Hiya - I had my mx in November, and had my prosthesis fitting just before Christmas. The proper prosthesis is much, much better than the softie, which I really couldn’t be bothered with - like you, I just lived in M&S tops, to give my one remaining boob a bit of support!

Go and get measured for a good bra before you go - we are all uneven to one extent or another, so be certain your bra fits your remaining boob - M&S can fit with just the one breast, so don’t worry about that! Your BCN will have lots of different styles of prosthesis for you to try, some work better with underwired bras than others, so you will still have a choice. Swimming prostheses are no longer available on the NHS, but amoena and nicolajane both do them - with prices starting from under a tenner for a basic foam insert to keep you balanced.

Once you have the prosthesis, if not before, do invest in some decent mx bras. I had an ordinary one from M&S, but even though much better than with a cumfie, it didn’t feel secure enough - and if you lean forward and gape a bit, the prosthesis is really obvious, and does try to head towards your cleavage. I picked up a couple from nicolajane, and my prosthesis stays put all day, no matter how much bending, twisting, dog walking I do.

The prosthesis should last for a couple of years, and if you don’t have re-con, or it wears out beforehand, you are entitled to another one free… and so on.

So, wear a good bra, don’t be in a hurry… and as you’ll be standing there with your top half bare… wear trousers that don’t give you a muffin top…lol… that’s the one thing I wished I’d thought of beforehand!!!

Sophie xx

Thank you all for the advice.
Its been a great help, it given me the confidence to not go to rushing into anything. I may go have a good look and chat with BCN Thurs and go bra shopping at the weekend with my mum.

Just been looking through my old bras, trust me Sophie, my muffin top will be the least of my worries if i was to take any of them, Gok would have a field day…lol…they all suddenly look really dingy and worn. I love my black leggings at the moment, comfortable and alittle more forgiving than jeans after two babies in close succession.

Wendy, thank you for the larger bra advice, do you have any experience with debenhams bras? I don’t have a John Lewis near by but i can travel to debenhams and M&S, our local M&S closed before xmas, I picked up a card (in the breast clinic) for an independent bra shop locally and went to that last week to find it had closed down so not having much luck.
Another question…sorry to be a pain…have you stuck to nonwired or do you find you can wear wired?

Rose, thanks for you message, i will keep you updated. I hope you are recovering well.

Pam thank you also for your response. It seems at good fitting bra should be top of my to do list.

I’ll kept you posted
Take care
Jo xxx

Hi Jo and Rose,
Just like to add that I bought the Amoena swim prosthesis which was about £35 and I didnt find much difference from the Amoena prosthesis as I have quite a heavy one. It is more concave on the side which fits against the skin, so a little lighter. But also it is almost clear-I had used my dailly prosthesis and it discoloured in the pool.
You might want to consider the stick-on kind too.I have very sensistive skin so didnt want to risk it, but Ive heard great reports about them.

Id also recommend the Asda £6 bra for everyday use. They have a great range of sizes online and wash well and have a decent pocket size.
BCC also do great publications on getting fitted and they might be available online, so speak to the staff on the helpline to check.
Best of luck with the fitting-as everyone else says, its a great boost to get it sorted. Ive had mine a year and its been nice to get some shape back(even if the cleavage is missing :frowning: )

Ps Dont forget, dont feel you have to stick with the first one you take home if its not comfy.

Cathie xx

Jo,
I was advised to get a well fitting mastectomy bra before the fitting and got a lovely one from Nicola Jane-just trying on for that took ages.
Then trotted along to fitting with a tight fitting T shirt as advised and ended up with a prosthesis that looked right on the day but has since seemed far too big-as if trying to escape from the bra, and feels a bit too heavy. It looks OK with clothes on top of it but does not make me feel good. I see now that if I had phoned up/gone back to the BCN within the next few days (?up to 2 weeks) I could have exchanged it but I didn’t and will now have to purchase a new prosthesis at my own expense.
So take your time on the day and check their exchange policy-and then try it on again at home till you are sure.
It might help to ask for catalogues from Amoena and Nicola Jane before hand to get an idea of what they are like. Most are non wired which I don’t mind, but there are some underwired ones.
Best of luck
Lavender

Thank you from me too ladies.

My BCN advised me to go to the local M&S to be measured and fitted with a bra which I should take along to the prosthesis person at the clinic. I admit to being a bit embarrassed at the thought of someone in a shop seeing my quite extensive scars. I am told that they have people there who are trained and will be used to this. Has anyone else been to have this done? How did it go and were you a bit reluctant like me beforehand?

Rose

Hi Rose,
I was determined to get my prosthesis fitted between chemos one and two - thought my bras still fitted OK and got what seemed like a huge and heavy prosthesis …so when chemo over I went to John Lewis and they fitted me with a good bra - very friendly, as I told them it was my first post MX fitting, very straightforward and helpful. Then when I went back to the prosthesis woman cos I was still uncomfortable she fitted me with another bra and a lighter prosthesis…I had had no idea they also did bras. At last, 8 months in, I was comfortable.
Hilarious tho, I was wearing my posthesis with two round ends down instead of one round end down and one in armpit…thats chemo brain for you!
Can’t recommend triple action bras highly enough for everyday use.
bw Nicola

Hi all

Here’s a couple of links to the BCC publication ‘A confident choice’ which gives information about prostheses, bras and clothing after breast surgery and the BCC web page information:

breastcancercare.org.uk/healthcare-professionals/publications/treatment-and-side-effects/*/changeTemplate/PublicationDisplay/publicationId/106/

breastcancercare.org.uk/breast-cancer-breast-health/treatment-side-effects/surgery/breast-prostheses/

Best wishes

Lucy

Hi All, thankyou again to you all for your advice.

Rose, i too am very nervous about ‘showing myself’ to ‘strangers’, have only just shown my mum today and that wasn’t easy. I find having to ‘explain myself’ to new nurses etc quite upsetting as you feel your going over ‘it’ all again. I did ring M&S in Lincoln before my surgery they have a lovely lady there who is trained to fit post op bras and takes real pride giving ‘her ladies’ the fitting service. I went into store before the op, my mum and I were very emotional during that shop for hospital slippers and knickers etc. but she great, kind, understanding, and confident in what she was taking to me about. She suggested the crop tops ive being wearing which are great. I don’t know if your anywhere near Lincoln, but if you are i would recomend calling them to find out when shes on shift and arranging to see her. But i believe M&S larger stores do have trained ladies to fit post MX bra. If I was you i would call the store before i visited and find out if they have a lady trained to fit and ask to speak to her and explain over the phone what you want and you’ll get a feel for whether you will like the person if you know what i mean, rather than heading straight into the store and trying to get help on the day. I hope we both get sorted sooner rather than later.
Take Care
Jo xxx

p.s lucy BCC thank you for the links

Hi Jo!

I’m not sure about Debenhams. We do have a local store but I’ve always thought it a bit too posh for me!
I don’t have any underwired bras because I’ve never got on with them.
It’s a shame you don’t have a John Lewis as the lady I saw was very empathetic and kind.
It’s odd that I’m a 44E in M & S yet a 44DD in John Lewis.
Once you get your prosthesis you’ll feel much better.
Good luck.
Wendy

Thanks Jo

I think I will take your advice and phone beforehand. My nearest place is Edinburgh.

Rose

Hi
Rose. We had our honeymoon in Edinburgh in 2008. Its a lovely city. Good luck with everything. I’ll let you know how i get on tomorrow.

Wendy, Debenhams posh? Well i must lower the tone in there, chasing my two kids around as the run off. lol.
I always thought John Lewis was quite upmarket. Maybe we both posher than we thought. lol. Thanks so much for your help.

Take care
Jo xxx

Wanted to add a bit more about my bra-fitting in M&S - the lady who did mine was perfectly experienced in mx fittings - but didn’t need to hang around whilst I had no top on, so there was no flashing! She measured me first in the bra I was already wearing, and then got the sizes she thought most appropriate - and left me alone to try them all on, coming back in between each one to check the fit/cup size etc etc - it was all very sensitively done and perfectly easy. Hope that’s a bit of reassurance for some of you.

Sophie xxx

I got bras in bravissimo, lovely full cup bit lace, not actually mx but prosthesis fits lovely, I too am larger in the boob 34 f/ff depending on style. The appliance lady (fitted the prosthesis) told me I can have 6 bras a year pocketed by them for nothing.
It was such a boost to have boobs in the right place again!
Pat

Hi Ladies.

Well ive have a full day (well within school hours)of boobs and bras.
What a choice, I tried loads in the best of a bad bunch of bras, I took my mum and the BCN was fab.

In fact it was quite an enjoyable experience. You ladies were soooo… right the softie has nothing on the ranges, makes, models and styles of prothesis breasts.

We decided on a shaped style is best for me as I am quite rounded and full to the sides into my armpit. I on my MX side ive been left with a bulbass bit that hangs out so this style hides that. We now just have to get me fitted with a good decent bra to the left breast then re look at the sizing and decide on a contact style(sticky one) or a traditional style.

Oh and my health trust still provide swimming ones too…so that was a bonus. Ive brought one home for the weekend, my mum has named her ‘Big Bertha’ to see how i get on and i am going back once ive got a bra im happy with.

Does any one have any experence with the contact style? I do really like the sound of that style.

Rose, I do hope you have as nicer experience as ive had. Keep us posted.

All in all, one of the better days of BC.
Feel like a little of me is finding its way back.

Take Care
Jo xxx

Hi Jo, I have a contact one, its totally fab. I have young children and an active lifestyle, and the plus side is that you can buy normal full cup bra’s, rather than mastectomy ones.
Good luck
Carole