I just wanted to say a heartfelt thanks to Poppyd, for putting me in touch with your daughter. We had a lovely chat today, and I was very inspired by her & the passion she speaks with about post surgery lingerie and her desire to make a difference for women affected by breast cancer. Our chat made my day... & helped me become more determined to follow my dream of building a post-surgery lingerie brand as there are like-minded people with the same vision.
She must make you very proud :~).
Today is my 2nd mastectomy anniversary...
I really was hoping to post that today its two years since I said goodbye to my right breast, had Mx & recon and Im still cancer free... However, last Thursday I had year 2 followup Mammogram & ultrasound, followed up with an MRI today -which coincides with the mastectomy anniversary date... It really is a strange zen circle of sorts.
My initial misdiagnosis has left me rather scared and distrusting of tests and hospitals. Its so hard, trying not to get caught up in a mental battle with myself! So, on the one hand, I'm trying to be rational & am telling myself off for the fear that keeps rising in me...' there is nothing to worry about, stop dramatizing things...'
On the other, I'm terrified... previously I have been told by nurses, surgeons,radiographers 'Don't worry, its unlikely to be cancer...' 'We are discharging you as you're far too young to have cancer..' 'You have nothing to worry about as the tests show you don't have cancer...' 'You really don't have to have those lumps removed, because it isn't cancer... ' To have my fears confirmed after my elective lumpectomy 'We are terribly sorry, you have cancer."
These past experiences keep coming up in my mind, and I'm struggling to separate the feelings of my past diagnosis form the here and now.
At midnight, I stamped gold coloured butterflies on my reconstructed breast, using a 19c vintage stamp given to me by my Rock-of-a boyfriend just after my Dx, as a symbol of the transitions I was undergoing with having cancer). This is the same thing I did before leaving for hospital two years ago... I cried. I also counted my blessings, as I am now,for even though I am scared, really scared, I am still here two years on, and will find the strength to cope with whatever the results are of these tests. I will continue to be the woman I am.
Thanks to the forum members who held me in mind today... without going into too much detail, I'm now waiting to hear the outcome of the MDT's assessment of the results.
Hi Buddawolf - and want to add my good wishes to the others. Hope it all goes well for you.
As an aside, it's interesting that the age of 45 is deemed significant and yet they don't start the mammogram programme in UK until 50 as I understand it. Makes you wonder....
Anyway, please let us know how you get on.
Just wanted to add my "voice" to what others have said - I'll be thinking about you tomorrow too... take care, n have a big hug from me too!
With much love,
Hi again, I just wanted to say will be thinking about you tomorrow and hope it goes well. Bi loves and hugs xx
Hi there Buddawolf, I have just completed your survey. I have found it very difficult to find post surgery bras in larger sizes apart from some real frumpy old granny bras! Im no spring chicken but I am not yet ready for old lady underwear.
Thanks to all who have posted over the last week. This venture is my recovery project... and its been really encouraging to be in contact with others in the forum.
Ive got to share with you women on the forum who've contributed to my survey have helped me get through the anxiety of my second year follow-up appointments.
Last Thursday when I started the thread, I just had my annual followup mammogram & ultrasound. Tomorrow I have to have an MRI, as the Mammogram & ultrasound couldn't detect if the thickening in my remaining breast is due to a re-occurrence or down to my age and the density of my breast tissue, because younger women generally have denser breast tissue - sorry, not my definition, just the clinical explanation I received from the radiographer. This was why my previous tumour was missed, & is an unfortunately common occurrence in women under 45 with breast tissue too dense for mammogram/ultrasound detection. Funny, Tomorrow's MRI coincides with my 2nd mastectomy anniversary... a zen circle of sorts.
Anyhoo, interacting on the forum over the past week has given me something else to think about, putting me in touch with you and helped me to focus on my potential, and not the limitations of have BC. So a big thanks to you, and please hold me in mind for tomorrow... I am trying to be brave, but am a bit scared. Ok, Im going to be honest - a lot scared. I will let you know how it goes...
Thank you Shelley61, I had not thought of such a simple solution.
Buddahwolf, I am 50, so again don't fit into your younger women classification, but still not ready to be an old woman!
Hi Buddawolf, I'm so pleased you posted that link because I was clearing out stuff from the attic and found some beautiful and expensive bras in all different colours I had pre the double mx. I wanted to donate them somewhere and didn't know where. So Oxfam it is!
The thing with age I think is that as you get older what you perceive as older changes. Also I do think women are changing and not falling into their stereotypical role for their age anymore. Thank goodness!
Good luck with the bras!
I would love to find nice undies, I ended up in sorts bras. I have big boobs at a 36g and trying to find anything nice is nigh on impossible.
Good luck with your venture too 🙂
Hi, I have just completed your survey and just wanted to add that I would like to see more A cup bras available. Debenhams have started to make their own mastectomy bras that look lovely, and Matalan do nice ones too (both are reasonably priced) but they start from a B cup.
I would also like to see some choice in strapless bras. I have got one (the only one I could find available)but it's not very good sizewise and is really quite uncomfortable. The bit that does up is also really chunky so it seems more like a surgical appliance than an item of lingerie! I wear it though because I want to be able to wear vest tops in the summer without flashing my bra straps.
Good luck with the venture,
Absolutely Ninja, I agree with you. I know for certain that as my age advances, I still wish to wear beautiful lingerie. I do not wish to exclude anyone, however, as I say (re-working a quote from Oscar Wilde really loosely!!) Youth is not limited to the young!
My comment was only said in response to elinda45's query 'I'm not sure what you age group you call a younger woman'.
As I was under 45 y.o. when diagnosed, BCN's, surgeons & BCC staff called me a younger woman. In fact I was initially discharged and had to elect to have my lumps removed as my BC was missed after Mammogram, ultrasound & biopsy because of the density of my breasts - and this was attributed to me being a younger woman. Through BCC I went on Younger Woman meet up forums for women 45 & under. I therefore adopted this definition when describing myself, as it is commonly used to describe women who develop BC at an age which is less common (though this too is changing)
That desire to wear beautiful lingerie didn't leave with my BC Dx - and in fact it spurned me onto wanting to do something about it! - and certainly wont with age. I'm sure I'm not alone.
BTW, here's a little food for thought I came across yesterday, on the topic of age, beauty & lingerie. I think it ties into our discussion:
Have a good evening all ...
Buddha, you said, "I am using the BCC benchmark of 45 & under as younger women Dx'd with breast cancer; however your comment about women of all ages want nice underwear is valid"
You don't stop wanting attractive, sexy undies on your 46th birthday!
Sorry Ive been a bit quiet today; it was my father's memorial day, and I have been in touch with the feelings around his loss. As it is close to my mastectomy anniversary, this day comes with a lot of emotions...
elinda45 - I am using the BCC benchmark of 45 & under as younger women Dx'd with breast cancer; however your comment about women of all ages want nice underwear is valid , and what is appearing in my survey's results. Youth is not limited to the young!
Shelley - thanks for the tips & links. You - in fact all of you who have offered suggestions- really highlight a key experience as a designer: you need people's feedback in order to design well for people.
Poppyd - holding you in mind, as I read about the treatment you're having at present. Wishing you the best outcome.
I'm not sure what you age group you call a younger woman. I'm 48 now and was diagnosed at 45 and certainly don't want horrible frumpy bras (although I often have to resort to them through lack of choice). I understand why you are specifically targeting younger women but quite honestly I think women in their forties, fifties and sixties want nice underwear too so would be interested in what you have to offer.
The main problem I find is the incredibly limited choice. Even when I went to a specialist shop there was hardly any suitable and hence you end up with what fits rather than what you want.
The biggest problem I have found is that bras don't go up high enough under the arms. this is a problem because of 1) my scar (and the bra then rubbing on the scar area) and 2) because of a small dog ear/fold of skin (which I understand is not uncommon following a mx).
The other problem is that, for some of us, it's nicer to have a wider strap on the shoulders to help. I have a shoulder problem following all the surgery and don't want the strap digging in. But again I'd like that strap to be attractive not some horrible thing.
Swimwear is another nightmare. I'm quite tall and I had the choice of one swimming costume in the shop. The rest were all too small. So I've ended up with something I'd never have chosen.
Don't know if any of that helps but what you're doing sounds great! It's bad enough going through all this to then end up with horrible frumpy underwear. It hardly helps the body image.
Here are some links to pages for pretty detachable bra straps, like I mentioned in my last post. Mods, hope it's ok to post these links - I dont want to break any rules 🙂
I filled in your survey yesterday - good luck with your venture. We definitely need people like you, who are interested in designing bras for us.
Just to add, there are bra straps on the market that you can buy for use with the 3-way mastectomy bras. They're the ones with straps that can be altered for halter-neck style, cross ways style etc. They usually come with those plastic, invisible straps as well as the self coloured straps.
The additional bra straps I'm thinking of are usually metal ones, and are really pretty. They might have coloured crystals on them, diamante etc. I'll do a search for them, and paste the links into another message here. The only thing I've found is that the post surgery 3-way strap bras seem very stiff as opposed to other post surgery bras, and the fabric can make me a little sore, until I've washed the bras a few times to soften them.
Anyways Buddahwolf, like I've said, good luck with researching lingerie for us, and please let us know how you go on. I filled my email address in, at the end of your questionnaire.
With much love,
I have just completed your survey and would like to wish you all the best with your endeavours. I would agree with the pretty strap request! I have found most of the bra's available are quite 'industrial', and the ones which are prettier are much more expensive!
It would be great to be in touch with your daughter - I am currently looking for pattern cutters & designers to refine my ideas with, so it is very timely & kind of you to offer. Is she training at De Montfort or London College of Fashion or...? I shall PM you to talk further..
My daughter is studying contour fashion and has done quite a lot of research into this producing designs for her course If you want to contact her could put you in touch
love poppy x
Good evening all,
Another big thanks to all who have filled in my survey - I'm taken aback by the number & quality of the responses; though still need more to gain more precise view of needs.
BTW - Pretty thin decorative straps feature high on my desired design list!
iamok - I hope to make camisoles for post surgery, but this will be determined by demand - I would love if you could send images over of the ones you find useful... it would be helpful to see what works for you.
lbx157 Thanks for the additional information! To gain experience of the post surgery lingerie industry, I am working with an online post surgery lingerie shop. I've encountered the issue of sourcing bras with small back & larger cup ratios frequently... Also when I trained as a wire-free bra fitter, it was a question I raised myself in my training. I am conducting this research (for myself) to try & gain a better insight into the sizes that women are requesting, so thank you!
norberte - again, thanks for your experience - its important to me to hear, and will make note of your suggestions.
Here's to everyone having a good healthy week ahead,
I tried to fill in your survey but I don't really fit into either "no boob" or "reconstructed boob" as I am halfway through my reconstruction & no bra on this earth would fit me at the moment as I only have half a boob!!
But what I would like to say is that I've had 6 years of wearing a prosthesis (prior to my reconstruction) & my main gripe is that all the specialist don't make many (if any) bras in my size 30B. The ones they did make resembled an old dishcloth!! I don't understand what the problem is making small sizes, I can't be the only small lady this has happened to. I ended up buying ones from M & S and sewing pockets into them which never really worked.
My other main gripe was the price of the "specialist" ones, particularly the swimwear, extortionate prices for something that's probably only worn for two weeks a year.
Anyway I'm longing for the day now that I can just wear an "ordinary" bra again & that day can't come sooner!
i may not be in the age group you're targeting, but what i want are some nice vests!
i had double mx no recon & now have lymphoedema so wear a rather fetching corset
the only vests i've found that are comfortable are men's ones - great!
would need to be quite high at the front & wide straps, but you young things might wear them as tops, too, i guess
& i suppose it'd be possible to make them flat & also make them with room foor breasts or prostheses
v limited market perhaps ...
good luck with your endeavour - great idea
I have just completed the survey but would just like to add
I have had a double mastectomy without reconstruction
I find wearing bras uncomfortable, so I buy cammi tops and stich in pockets, but I also buy rouched and cowl neck tops and go bra free, also rouched tankini tops are excellent as I don't have to wear 2 heavy prosthesis, I am happy to send pictures of the ones I have
Good luck in your new venture
Thanks for sharing; I will add this into the pool of anonymous responses.
BTW I don't think that your comments are trivial - the experience of a cancer DX means we are plunged into having to embrace changes of our self identity too... I found that my sense of identity was really challenged after my Dx, when I had to reconsider the way I dressed because of surgery's impact, and felt deeply dissatisfied with the choices available to wear to support my changed breasts. So I don't think trivial the dressing dilemmas women have trying to maintain a sense of self whilst going though treatment, recovery, etc and accepting their changed bodies. I consider it an important part of the process. But what do others think?
I have completed your survey but would just like to add something. I have had lumpectomy but am still trying to buy/wear non-underwired bras. Apart from the fact that they are difficult to find my pet issue is that none I can find have pretty straps. Summer is coming and I really don't want wide white straps looking like something a 90 year old would wear showing under my pretty strappy summer tops.
I know this is a trivial thing compared to everything else we go through, but still feel better for the rant!
Hey moorcow, thanks so much for the bump! I'm really grateful to all who've taken the time to respond so far, as each woman helps me to grasp a better idea of women's wants & needs after breast surgery...
Big thanks to all & keep 'em coming!
I am a younger woman who was diagnosed in 2010 with triple negative breast cancer.
I am conducting a brief survey as research for a new post-surgery lingerie brand, an endeavour I am starting in response to my experiences of buying lingerie after lumpectomy, mastectomy & reconstruction.
I’ve made a short survey, with a few multiple-choice questions and ask if you wouldn’t mind answering for research purposes.
I really value your input, and tried to make the survey easy to complete; just 12 quick questions. It can be reached from the link below:
Guided by your responses, I hope to create lingerie which will improve the self-confidence and the quality of life for women who have experienced breast cancer.
The survey responses will be treated confidentially and your privacy is absolutely guaranteed.
Thank-you in advance.