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Bras 101: The Great Post-Exchange Debate

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  • tamgam
    tamgam Member Posts: 83
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    Waldo- so happy you are enjoying your new squishies!  I can't wait to get a date for my exchange so I can put all the info on the thread to use!  I think I ought to start saving my pennies and join you in Vegas, baby!  2011!  I would love to meet you ladies and some of the other March Girls! 

    Deborah- you are too funny!  That bra looks like a contraption from hell! 

  • whippetmom
    whippetmom Member Posts: 6,028
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    Mantra:  If it were only true!  I could only pray dogs could live that long!!!Cry
  • waldo
    waldo Member Posts: 145
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    I am having a hard time sleeping on my back again and i know I should with these new implants.  Any suggestions?  And am I allowed to sleep on my side- 2 weeks post exch? 

    Laura, I can tell that this group is a very serious, non partying group that goes to Vegas for value and umm what else did you say???

    Tamgam, LOVE my new squishies- I think I was so unhappy with the TE's and how misshapen I was, I wasn't able to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I can visualize the outcome and I am pleased.  I figured out that if I am successful with the bra exchange at $60,00-$80.00 a bra and the slot machines, the trip to Vegas pays for itself-LOL  - I'm saving for the third annual trip too. 

  • MicheleS
    MicheleS Member Posts: 196
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    Wanted to briefly weigh in on the bra discussion.  I met with my PS yesterday for my 1st fill and asked him if he was a bra-man or not. 

    Here's the summary:

    1.  He told me that it all depends on the patient and on what he has to do at exchange. 

    2. *If* he has to adjust the capsule with minor revisions (ie the TE's weren't exactly where he wanted them) then he does ask the patient to wear a bra (not compression but supportive) during the day.

    3. If thre are major pocket revisions: bra 24/7.

    4. For those of us who do high-impact exercise, he said that a compression bra needs to be worn (assuming that you aren't exercising for more than 2 or so hrs per day and assuming that you take it off and replace it with a supportive bra after exercising...) He said "no-bounce" post-exchange.

    5. He *did* say he is almost always anti-underwire because he doesn't want to risk LE in his BC patients eventhough implants do better in underwires...

    FWIW~ He used to teach breast recon at Wake Forest so he has treated oodles of BC patients.  I trust his judgement, especially since he isn't a "one size fits all" type of MD. 

    I'm thrilled that most of what he said fits with Val's OP (except the underwire part which he *did* agree with Val but doesn't want to take the risk).

    Just another data-point for everyone!!

    xxoo

    Michele

    PS. We also talked a lot about exercise yesterday... I'll start a thread about all of that later.  I'm interested to hear what all of ya'll think about his thoughts!

  • waldo
    waldo Member Posts: 145
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    Michele, please update when you start an exercise thread.  I am dying to get back to it and see what others are up to.  How does a well fitted underwire bra contribute to LE?

  • Lilah
    Lilah Member Posts: 2,631
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    Waldo -- I'm still in a bra 24/7 (at 5 weeks post exchange) and was told to continue sleeping on my back for another two weeks, for what it's worth.  I have to say that I've gotten quite accustomed to back sleeping... it's as if I assume the position and simply sleep!  I usually have trouble falling asleep, so this is unusual for me.  It does help me to have a very soft, fluffy pillow under my head to sort of wrap around my head.  Gives me the sensation of lying on my side (from the head perspective anyway).

  • MicheleS
    MicheleS Member Posts: 196
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    Waldo,

    Binney is the LE expert around here so maybe she can reply.  From my perspective: I don't know that a properly fitted one would... but, is is so easy for an underwire bra to be fitted wrong.  I also think that there are potentially more pressure points with an underwire. At least that's my take.  (But, I'm not a bra-fitter and franky, I'm bra-naive post mastectomy.) 

  • whippetmom
    whippetmom Member Posts: 6,028
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    This Lululemon bra might be the answer for women who do not want to wear a bra, want to avoid an underwire, but need the uplifting support. 

    http://cgi.ebay.com/LULULEMON-BOOB-BOOSTER-BRA-SIZE-8-MEDIUM-/170491618929?cmd=ViewItem&pt=US_CSA_WC_Intimates&hash=item27b217a671

  • Lilah
    Lilah Member Posts: 2,631
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    Cool bra Deb... kinda like the chic shaper.

  • whippetmom
    whippetmom Member Posts: 6,028
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    Hmm..yes it is like the Chic Shaper.  Lululemon discontinued it though, which is why it is only available on Ebay...Maybe it is because the Chic Shaper is out there and less expensive...

  • val61
    val61 Member Posts: 969
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    Michelle - Thanks for sharing that great info from your ps!  He sounds like a ps who really knows his stuff.  I will add that you're right - a properly fitted underwire would be probably be less likely to contribute to LE, but so many folks just don't get a good fit.  I will ask my ps about the LE issue and his opinion, though.     Also, please do start that exercise thread.  As an aerobics instructor who also takes equipment pilates, I spent a good part of these past 18 months and 5 surgeries dealing with many exercise-related issues.  Let us know.....
  • johnson7599
    johnson7599 Member Posts: 10
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    Hey Ladies!  Anysuggestions for a bra that is a 32 band width.  I seem to be having a problem finding anything in a 32.  If I do, the only cup sizes offered are for d cup or higher.  I am roughly a 32C depending on the brand.  I have one bra from Victoria Secret, but the underwire seem to dig in at the center.  It'll have to do for now because it was all I could find.  Just hoping someone might have some insight into some styles that fall under this size range and websites were i can find them

    Denise

  • whippetmom
    whippetmom Member Posts: 6,028
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    johnson:  Do you have a Nordstrom or Dillards near you?  They carry your size.  Nordstrom carries 32 C in a number of styles online...you can try Marshalls or T.J. Maxx for discounted prices on bras - they often carry 32 band sizes.  Or you can order from www.barenecessities.com or www.herroom.com  I would stay away from VS underwires.  The wireless bras at VS are okay, but after breast recon, you want the higher end underwire bras like Chantelle, Freya or Natori - because they are just constructed better and the wire rests properly on the ribcage.  It is better to be fitted for the first time with an underwire, so that you know your exact size. 
  • whippetmom
    whippetmom Member Posts: 6,028
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    johnson:  And when I mean "fitted", I mean professionally fitted by a bra expert at Nordstrom or Dillards.  Nordstrom has the best fitters, from what I have heard/experienced, and you might see if your insurance company will cover a bra.  Most insurance companies will cover one post-MX and Nordstrom accepts insurance and will work with your insurance company.

  • johnson7599
    johnson7599 Member Posts: 10
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    Hmm.  Thanks for the info.  I do not have a Nordstrom, only a Dillards.  I actually went there but had no luck finding my size.  I didn't have someone fit me though.  I'll take your advice on that and try again.  I knew insurance would cover a post mx bra, but will they cover a post reconstruction bra?  I will have to check that out.  I had no idea these stores would work with your insurance.  Thanks for the websites as well.  As always, you have the best advice!

    Thanks Denise

  • Goldieknox
    Goldieknox Member Posts: 33
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    This information has been very helpful. I just had my exchange surgery from permanent expanders to implants on the 1st of June and since my PS performed a total capsulectomy and adjustment of pocket on one side, it has sorta left that side very loose, lopsided compared to the other and it just kinda falls to the side. I had tried shopping for bras before finding this post and it had ended in tears and grief. I would have just kept wearing the sport type one they gave me at the hospital, which seems to do nothing but push the implant back. I walked into Bravissimo today armed with the list of brands and styles listed here and walked out with a decent fitting bra (the Freya Pollyanna) in less then an hour and not a single tear shed! Thank you so much for posting this wealth of knowledge!

  • whippetmom
    whippetmom Member Posts: 6,028
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    Denise:  Call a Nordstroms store - the one closest to your city/state and ask for the lingerie dept.  Then ask to speak with a fitter - someone who works with post-mastectomy patients.  She could probably have you measure your circumference with the tape measure around the middle of the breasts to know your cup size in relation to your ribcage circumference.  Tell her you are interested in the Natori 136001.  She might recommend sending two sizes, but Nordies pays for returns. 

  • whippetmom
    whippetmom Member Posts: 6,028
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    Goldie:  Nice choice!  I have two Pollyannas...

    Val: Would you include the Natori Style 136001 in the "after implants settle" bra section?  A number of us have this style and the fitter at Nordstroms said that this is one of the most popular styles for breast reconstruction patients.  It has cups which have memory foam layers and so they form to the breasts and give nice coverage and a nice shape under clothing.

  • Sandy3170
    Sandy3170 Member Posts: 16
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    Dear friends,  i know some of you have been careful when shopping in e-bay. I am too, but found a Freya Pollyanna bra for less than $20 dollars, so i could not resist the temptation.  I did order one, paid using pay pall and i just got a tracking number that confirms the bra is on it's way.

     Hope they have in your size.  I didn't pay shipping and this seller has 14 days return policy.

    Here is the link:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=360210100080&_trksid=p2761.l1259 

     All the best.

  • whippetmom
    whippetmom Member Posts: 6,028
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    Sandy:  LOL - I hope you are not telling us, with that link, that you are wearing a size 32 K!  Whoa...how did your PS manage that?  But I also have had no problem ordering bras on Ebay.

    I would just issue the caveat re: ordering Freya online, is that you know your size or know that you can return the bra.  Freya can run a bit small in the cup.  I wear a 34 E in Freya and a 34DD in other bras.  You also want to make sure you are ordering the correct band size, as these European bras fit better if you go down a band size or at least wear your correct band size.  Most women in the U.S. do not wear the proper band size.  I wore a 36 band size for years prior to MX. 

  • waldo
    waldo Member Posts: 145
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    Bra Mavens, I just looked at some pics  I took today and compared to post op pics and it seems my left side is starting to migrate laterally, any suggestions? 

  • juliempw
    juliempw Member Posts: 191
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    In addition to Michele's comments, I've noticed that when I wear a bra that (I think) fits Val's suggested description, I'm much more numb at the end of the day.  Has anybody else had this problem?

    Julie   

  • packergirl
    packergirl Member Posts: 81
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    Bra Mavens- I have this bony protrudence in my medial area (right where the sternum ends and ribs are no longer attached to the sternum). I am finding it difficult to find an underwire bra where the underwires don't come up high in the center- the wires hurt when pressure is there. The only things so far I can find are pushup bras - they don't have wires come up in the center at all to allow the push up and in look. I know a bra without a wire is fine but I was hoping to find something with a bit more lift.

    Any suggestions on a bra that is an underwire that the center wires don't come up far?

  • Lilah
    Lilah Member Posts: 2,631
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    What size do you wear Packergirl?  I know -- from my pre BC days -- the larger the bra the higher those center wires seem to climb.

  • Sandy3170
    Sandy3170 Member Posts: 16
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    LOL  no, i'm not a 32 k...that will be too much.  I'm Latina; therefore i have a big butt, with bigger foobs, I will look like one of those Vegas dancers the 60s.

    I took my measurements following Val instructions, and came up with a 34C.  I guess, i'll have to wait until i can drive so i can go to Nostrums by myself to really be sure about these measurements.

    Now that you say Freya runs smaller, i guess the 34C i ordered will not fit me.  Good thing they accept returns.

    Waldo, i have the same problem, my TE migrated to my arm pit, specially the one on the left. Now that i had the exchange, my PS wants me to put 3 dressings, folded in half, under my arm pit. The dressings push the implants to the center. He said to wear these dressing 24/7 for 4 weeks. After those 4 weeks, he will decide if i need to keep doing this or it was enough. Hope it helps.

  • Sandy3170
    Sandy3170 Member Posts: 16
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    I just found another site to get your measurement for a bra.  I did tryed and according to this I'm a D cup...36 in band.... who knows... i guess i will have to wait until i can drive myself to Nostroums.

     Here is the so you all can try it: www.justbreastimplants.com/size/

    :-)

  • juliempw
    juliempw Member Posts: 191
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    Packer, I have something similar and do best with wacoal for that though it does still rub and I've noticed that the hard area is less sensitive than it used to be (I'm 6 months post exchange).  In the beginning I would sometimes place some gauze or mole skin in that area to make it a little more comfortable.  I think mine is more a bound up muscle or the alloderm all bunched up more than a bone protruding though.

    Sandy, though professional fitting is a good idea.  When I went to Dillards I had two girls measure me and both came up with 32C but every 32C I tried on did not fit (and the fitters agreed) so I wear a 32D and occasionally a 32DD but 32C never fits.  My thought is that was the case because I don't have the "fullest" part of my breast like a natural breast.  They're more round than pointed so the same amount of fluff is there for a D, it's just not in the same shape as a natural breast and does not measure accurately with this type of measurement.  I saw a site once that explained that the more accurate measurement would be to measure the breast itself (top to bottom/side to side) and measure the band separately this makes more sense to me in the case of implants. What do you think Val?

    Julie 

  • juliempw
    juliempw Member Posts: 191
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    Sandy, Oh, guess I should have looked a the website before I responded.  That's exactly what I was talking about.  Embarassed

    With that measurement I measure 28" ribcage and 8.5" breast which puts me between a 32C or 32D, in reality there's no chance of wearing a C.  With Val's suggested method, I measure a 30" ribcage and 33" around breast so that puts me in a 30C--there's no way I could wear that.  When I've worn 30" bras I have to wear 30DD or 30DDD. 

    Julie 

  • Lilah
    Lilah Member Posts: 2,631
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    Julie -- how are you feeling?

  • juliempw
    juliempw Member Posts: 191
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    Lilah, Doing better.  There's still a firm area in the top portion of my breast and my left breast is starting to feel cold again so I think the fever is down but today is my last day of antibiotics.  How are you?  Did you ever hear from my friend?

    Julie