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How have you adjusted to being Half Flat?

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  • sm627
    sm627 Member Posts: 142
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    Hi Beeline,

    Glad to hear that your clothes are working for you to hide the missing breast. Like you I have been able to keep most of my clothes too. Black it the best color it hides everything. I hope things continue to go well for you. Overall how have you been?

    Wow you used to live in San Francisco how many years were you there for? I live in the East Bay near Berkeley/Oakland. How long have you been living in NZ for and what do you like about it and SF?

    If you every decide to come and visit the Bay Area again let me know. :-)

    Wishing you a good week.

    Hugs,

    Sara

  • bennybear
    bennybear Member Posts: 245
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    just finished a good book called Flat. Was good to Read of another’s experience

  • MarilynIllinois
    MarilynIllinois Member Posts: 50
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    Hi Sara,

    One Pact camisole cost $17.99.

    Yeah, I was surprised-- Whole Foods. I found it in the aisle that also sold tights and scarfs.

  • alto
    alto Member Posts: 82
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    Thank you for sharing the book recommendation, bennybear. I'm going to check it out. Lopsided by Meredith Norton helped me a lot.

    I was fitted for a silicone prosthetic. It's a bit small, but it should work fine in a t-shirt bra (Amoena Mara).

    I'll still wear my homemade flannel boobs in my camisoles - they fill the cups out the best.

    So glad I'm finding some affordable options. The Amoena Mara is only $30something, the Valetta camisoles run $45ish; and homemade boobs, 4 for $6 plus a few finger pokes. I got a cheap cotton sports bra on clearance from TLC for $20 (it's very simple but fits and is good enough for the gym). Getting dressed is getting easier!

  • bennybear
    bennybear Member Posts: 245
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    Thanks Alto, I should look for lopsided! I have A few different prosthetics. This being an Amazon is an expensive sport😜. Still finding my way. I am a D so no easy way. Appreciate the support here. Found one prosthetic that is custom made and much lighter than my silicone one and can be worn with regular bras. Like the Amoena bras and swim wear as well.

  • buttonsmachine
    buttonsmachine Member Posts: 339
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    bennybear, I'm curious about the custom prosthetic - where did you get it?

  • beeline
    beeline Member Posts: 193
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    buttonsmachine, this company just started 3D printing custom breast forms in New Zealand. I bet there are similar options in the us!

    https://www.myreflection.co.nz/



  • aussie-cat
    aussie-cat Member Posts: 5,496
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    beeline, that sounds like such a good idea!

  • beeline
    beeline Member Posts: 193
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    I agree, Aussie-cat! I think there are some privacy concerns they’ll have to manage (what happens to the scan data of your breast and how is it kept secure), but I bet this becomes standard and really affordable soon.


  • bennybear
    bennybear Member Posts: 245
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    the one I got is from Bressante in Winnipeg Canada, very light and can be used with normal bras

  • amygil81
    amygil81 Member Posts: 42
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    Beeline, as to privacy concerns, if anyone really wants a scan of my mutilated chest, they are welcome to it. After all these years of doctors poking me, I have no modesty left. That myreflection looks like an excellent way of generating a new custom prosthesis. If it will work on my chest, it'll work on anyone.

    Bennybear, how do you like your Bressante? I've seen them on the web. Do they scan them, anywhere other than Winnipeg Canada? I don't travel that well, with my crutches and my LE. And can I ask how much they cost?

  • bennybear
    bennybear Member Posts: 245
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    Amygil, I was able to order mine in a different province, so I would check with the company where they have representatives. They don't scan you, but it was made very specifically to fill where I am hollow. I like how light it is and that it is adjustable and can wear with normal bras. I still like my Amoena one, but it feels extremely heavy to me. The Bressanteare made by an actual prosthetist.

    It was around 425$ Canadian so probably about 340 US?

  • socallisa
    socallisa Member Posts: 10,184
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    Well, Medicare pays for my prostheses and bras....along with Tricare for life

  • beesy_the_other_one
    beesy_the_other_one Member Posts: 170
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    sm627,

    I found my phyllodes tumor one evening reading in bed because I just brushed across my right breast with the soft part of my arm. While I'd always said "how can feel a lump in a bunch of lumps?," it popped right out at me. It grew from the size of peanut to the size of pretty good sized lime in a matter of months. The needle biopsy missed the area with the phyllodes tumor in it, so we took it out thinking that it was just a giant fibroadenoma, and my surgeon then (who just did my BMX--how's that for being a repeat customer?) suggested we take it out because it could or would take over my entire breast, as you mention happened with yours. Yours was three POUNDS? After they took out mine, the pathology came back with phyllodes and they went back in for roughly half the breast. I had young children at the time, my mother was in treatment for B.C. and I had a very close friend with inflammatory. Both my mother and friend are alive and well today, but I'm sure that influenced my lack of grief over losing ½ a breast. So since that incident, I've always been very B.C. aware, but I did make a mistake leaving the cancer center after ten years, believing I was wasting their time and I could be checked through my PCP's office. I was having regular mammograms (3D ones) but I had very dense breasts and I should have been insisting on ultrasounds every time. This should have been found earlier. So all this to say, in a funny way, having gone through it before prepared me for the loss of breasts (knew I'd want both off without reconstruction--for me, being symmetrical mattered, and it's not like I hadn't experienced asymmetry for 22 years). For me, I chose the right amount of surgery. I was back to real life in a week and a half or two. I don't want to sound like losing one or two breasts is "no big deal." But I have to think that my prior experience did help in some funny sense.

    I'm not sure I have answered your questions, but I will send along the link to the microbead prosthetic I ordered: https://curediva.com/collections/breast-forms/products/seamless-microbead-form

    The name of it is ABC 929 Seamless Microbead Form. If you google it, you'll see it's available everywhere, but the link above is a good price. I saw some other microbead forms in a prosthetic store here in the Houston area, and they were heavy or made noise when I touched them. These above did not but were nice and light. Knitted knockers are working okay with me, especially now during radiation, but I'm having trouble getting the size right. My daughter's made me every conceivable size and I've taken stuffing out, etc, but can't get it "just right." I read someone (and come to think of it, it may have been you, months ago) mention putting a smooth stone in the knitted knocker. I've got to try that, because as I learned when I first lost half a boob, you don't realize that your boobs hold your bra down until you don't have two. It's a much bigger problem now, and some of its because I'm not wearing my regular size bra--but I definitely don't like things too tight right now. A smooth stone might just do the trick!

  • RRBreak
    RRBreak Member Posts: 1
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    When I shop these website you offer,I found another website--Newchic can buy mastectomy bra and breast form.Did you ever try their products?

  • sm627
    sm627 Member Posts: 142
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    Hi Beesy,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story with me I learned so much from what you went through. How were you able to get through so many challenging time all that came all at once. I hear you about this not being your first boob or non boob rodeo it helps makes things a little easier when you already know what to expect. Glad to hear that your mom and your friend are still doing well all these years later. How are things going for you lately? Have you found a stone that works well for you.

    Wishing you all a good week.

    Hugs

  • KellyMSM
    KellyMSM Member Posts: 2
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    Hi. This seems like the right conversation to ask my question in. I'm one week out from left breast mastectomy and today for the first time, I tried to get "dressed". I don't mind being flat on one side around the house, etc. but to go out and try to be symmetrical now seems to be the biggest hurdle yet. I tried the front closing sports bra I bought right before surgery, thought I'd stick a sock in the other side. Found out I'd probably need  10 or more socks, so I tried a nice soft pillowcase and was able to make a breast form that looked OK, but it didn't match my saggy, heavy right real breast in the least. No matter how I bunched the pillowcase it was always way perkier than the real thing. Also, I cannot STAND the feeling of my right breast touching my upper abdomen. I used to wear a very tight underwire bra before to keep this from happening. I decided to try the underwire and while I got a tad better results in symmetry, in one hour I was in pain as the left part of the bra was digging into my incision. So that's out, at least for now. I hope to visit a prosthetic place in the next couple weeks to be fitted, but do you have any suggestions for in the meantime? How do I keep my remaining breast from sagging so much without my underwire? What's a good temporary, moldable stuffing? I don't regret having breast removed at all, but thinking I will hate being HALF flat. Also, do any of you just forgo the stuffing and go half flat in public? Thanks. 


  • Justjay
    Justjay Member Posts: 2
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    I have been half flat since my early teens. Was born with blue nevi, had radiation as newborn, last treatment burned me severely, no tissue or hair grew on my right side. Even though I had an implant in at 15yrs old, in order to compete in swimming, one ruptured, the other one is barely there due to lack of tissue. It was tough emotionally as a kid & in my 20's to 30's, I was overly cautious & reluctant to become intimate. Today, I just want the remnants of mine removed & am in a stable, happy relationship. I am only in process of being investigated for suspicious breast lumps, I am very sorry you had to go through BC, & sending well wishes to you.

  • Justjay
    Justjay Member Posts: 2
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    I have been half flat since my early teens. Was born with blue nevi, had radiation as newborn, last treatment burned me severely, no tissue or hair grew on my right side. Even though I had an implant in at 15yrs old, in order to compete in swimming, one ruptured, the other one is barely there due to lack of tissue. It was tough emotionally as a kid & in my 20's to 30's, I was overly cautious & reluctant to become intimate. Today, I just want the remnants of mine removed & am in a stable, happy relationship. I am only in process of being investigated for suspicious breast lumps, I am very sorry you had to go through BC, & sending well wishes to you. **I wanted to add, here in Canada, we have Amoeaba breast protheseses available. Our Ontario Health does cover some of the cost, otherwise they are about $400.00 each**

  • aussie-cat
    aussie-cat Member Posts: 5,496
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    Kelly, I had a double mastectomy so I'm not in quite your situation but I have a few of ideas for you. One is that I wonder if you could pull the underwire out of only the side of your bra that had surgery, so the other side could still be properly supported. Another idea is that there are quite supportive non-underwire bras out there, so investing in some of those could be good. Amoena and Anita are well known brands of bras that have pockets for a prosthesis. There are also polyester filled soft prostheses that are more comfortable to wear soon after surgery than silicone ones, which aren't meant to be worn for at least 6-8 weeks after surgery. I hope you find some good solutions that work for you.

  • alto
    alto Member Posts: 82
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    KellyMSM, it can be a little challenging at first. Around 8 weeks, a real mastectomy bra will likely be much more comfortable than it is now.

    I found poly-fil (from the craft or fabric store) to be the most comfortable prosthetic material in those early days (and maybe even now).

    Here are a few options I tried, with more success as I moved along:

    1) Amoena front close bra - stuffed with polyfil. Yes, I wanted to get out of it after an hour or two, but it worked for short trips or visits....

    2) Sportsbra - I made a balloon shaped form, as wide as my scar and a little bit longer, and filled it with polyfill. I put it so the ballooned part fills the bra, but the stem hangs down below it so you can pull it down into place and adjust without looking indecent. ;) You could see if weighting it with a soft stone helps. Even then, if the bra is really supportive, it might be hard to get the sag you need.

    3) Ana Ono camisoles, and stuffed the pocket with polyfil. They're comfortable, but not much support. You can kind of tug on the lightweight fabric to get it the polyfil to sag on the flat side. Not sure this would work from a support perspective - it was barely enough support for me, so I was on to my next option...

    4) Loose-fitting Amoena camisole; stuffed with homemade polyfill form. Surprisingly good support (but I'm only a c/d). It kind of lifts the end of the breast up, and the light padding gives it shape that helps it look better. If you can get the right fit, this isn't tight around the ribs or side. Was really happy to find this solution for those interim days when I could almost wear a bra again, but not quite.

    On days when I couldn't wear anything tight but didn't want to be half flat, I made a balloon-shaped sack of polyfil, which I pinned to a camisole or top, and then wore something over that. It fills in the empty space and allows for sag.

    I was impatient with the saggy feeling, but it's just a short period of time, and you should have much better options when your healing is further along and the sensitivity goes down.

    Amoena has some nice bras - and they have designs for both shallow and full cup sizes, which really helps you get the support you need..

  • MexicoHeather
    MexicoHeather Member Posts: 147
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    KellyMSM: You're right about the scar getting in the way of an underwrite. You need a wide soft support. Perhaps a camisoles with a shelf then make a little scissor cut on the flat side to be loose over the scar.

  • bennybear
    bennybear Member Posts: 245
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    Kelly, the knitted knockers are great at first. Go to a prosthetic place soon as they have light or swim forms that work. I bought a camisole and it came with a form and place for drains. I had to go to a funeral the first week after surgery and this enabled me to go and feel comfortable. I now have the real prosthesis and don’t notice it when it is on, with a proper mastectomy bra. I too am very uneven. It really helps if you look normal!

  • TammyKh
    TammyKh Member Posts: 22
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    To be honest, I'm not comfortable to be flat/half flat although I have very small boobs (almost flat). Before breast cancer and mastectomy, I wore double push-up/underwire bras. After a single mastectomy, I had uneven boobs leading to my decision that I'm going to go through implant reconstructed surgery. I'm not a big fan of big boobs but being flat or half flat is not really comfortable though. It makes me not confident to wear deep V-neck outfits. lol

  • MexicoHeather
    MexicoHeather Member Posts: 147
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    Yes, 1/2 flat pretty much kills the v-neck. You tried it out. I was also small chested. I had breast reduction on the left two years after the mastectomy. Everyone can make their own choice.

  • virginiab
    virginiab Member Posts: 79
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    In the early months after my one-sided mastectomy, I was a big fan of hawaiian shirts with bold prints. They were comfortable and they distracted the eye from the assymetry. Underneath I wore sports bras which minimized the size of the bio-boob. I started out with just a small pile of surgical dressings on the other side to provide the pressure that I wanted on my chest at that time (although the AB Pad dressings sometimes crept out of the bra). Then I briefly wore a little pillow form which I could pin in place, but it didn't look good. I tried the microbead form and found it was pretty good in the sports bras as it maintained its volume while providing a squishy shape similar to the other breast. Later, I found the microbead form useful in pocketed bras when I wanted something really light.

    I have liked the knitted knockers, especially since I started putting stones in them. I tried flat river rock from the garden, but weight I needed was too large to get into the opening on the back of the form and I was afreaid of unraveling the while thing. Then I remembered that I had a little collection of semiprecious stones so I put all of the rounded ones in together, and that has worked well for me. Now (about 16 months past my surgery), I most often wear my silicone form when I am going out, although the knitted knocker just seems right some days.

    On days when I am home doing stuff in the house or garden, I often wear Fruit of the Loom pullover cotton bras with spaghetti straps. They compress the natural breast and are comfortable enough to wear 8 to 12 hours for me. If I go our for a quick errand, I'll trade my t-shirt for one of those Hawaiian shirts I collected in anticipation of the mastectomy.

  • cydney
    cydney Member Posts: 4
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    This is long after your original post. I am half flat. I was first diagnosed in 2007 and then had a re-occurence in 2009 that resulted in a mastectomy on the left. My right breast still stands. I was offered reconstruction, but because I had radiation the first time around, I was told that my chest might be weak and subject to collapse.

    I was so very tired of surgery and medical intervention, I just decided to go half-flat. I wear a foob. I have a really nice one that is weighted and matches my skin color the size of my lone girl, but I find wearing it makes my lymphoma act up. I have recently found some great light-weight forms on the Athleta website. No, they aren't custom fitted, but they only cost $10 for two. They give me a little bit of even bump out, enough to make me feel passible in clothing.

    Being a halfie isn't my first choice - that would be to have my original girlie back. But I'd rather have my life than my breast. The people in my life don't seem to notice much. It's been 10 years now. I wouldn't change my decision. I'm in my 60's, I have osteopenia from the radiation. I am glad not to have to deal with side-effects from reconstruction.

  • beesy_the_other_one
    beesy_the_other_one Member Posts: 170
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    Cydney, I assume these are the forms you are describing? Athleta breast forms

    The reviews are great--one lady described leaving them in the bras while washing and drying! They are so inexpensive and I've been looking for something more lightweight that's (hopefully) a little cooler. Thank you for sharing this, Cydney!

  • cydney
    cydney Member Posts: 4
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    Those are the ones. Glad they work for you too.

  • miriandra
    miriandra Member Posts: 2,073
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    Hi Ladies!

    I know I may be in the minority here (and I'm ok with that), but I've had minimal issues since going half-flat. I have a prescription for a foob, but have never bothered to get one. I've got a set of knitteds on hand just in case, but they're still in their bag. Most of my T-shirts don't look right anymore, so my wardrobe has gotten a bit of an overhaul. I've found a bunch of tops with cowl necklines and chest detailing that help camouflage my asymmetry without looking like I'm hiding it. As long as my presentation seems intentional and put together, I look great.

    I was worried at first that my embracing my UMx might make others uncomfortable, but I've found it to be the opposite. They feel more comfortable in the face of my comfort.

    Some women need to look like they did before to feel normal, and they are perfectly correct in their choices for themselves. But I hope more clothing and fashion options will continue to be available for those of us who need to make a new normal - who want to allow our bodies to acknowledge what we've come through. If anyone out here has been secretly/not-so-secretly wanting to ditch their foob, you might try it. Good luck!