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Jan 12, 2020 11:09AM
I just wrote you a wordy (too wordy) post and then promptly lost it when I went back to see what other treatments, etc. you have had. UGH! I will summarize it here: you are not alone! Bras are a difficult issue for many after exchange surgery and the link has much helpful information. Talk to your plastic surgeon's office about the underwire - I'm sure they do not want you to be uncomfortable. However, my PS said no smushy sports bras - they do not have good support and they also will smush everything down and together, and especially during initial healing, you want your breasts to be lifted up and separated, so that they can retain placement and shape. You do not want to wear anything that leaves marks on you when you remove it - if you have had fat grafting to the top part of your breasts to make things look more natural, apparently smooshing is even more of a no-no.
Proper bra fit after reconstruction is just difficult and I have had many struggles. Sweet MinusTwo was so kind to me during my struggles, just as she has been to you. I just wanted to make sure my new breasts stayed looking good. I had a difficult time because things we all agreed (bra fitters and me) fit fine in the store left marks on my breasts where they dug in after more than 5 minutes or so. My solution for this: on-line ordering. I have found that my local department stores don't have a great selection in any one size, but they do on-line. (and although I wear all the same clothes, my bra size went from a 36C to a 36DD - ah, just another oddity of breast reconstruction). I can try on each bra at home for 15 minutes or so, in my house, where I don't feel so exposed, then take my huge bag of bras back to the store for returns. (I'm sure they love to see me coming). Bare Necessities (on-line) also has free shipping and free returns if your order is over a certain amount. They have many brands and sizes not available in most stores. Well-made bras can be quite expensive, so it is not hard to meet this minimum order.
I have mild lymphedema in my arm and side, so that impacted fit too. You would think that a nice firm, "elasticky" soft bra would be best. For me, it made matters worse and overall, I've found that a well-fitting underwire is most comfortable for me and also keeps down the swelling in my side.
I haven't solved things yet, but I have found (after more hours than I can count), two different underwire bras that fit and do not leave marks on my breasts. (One has been discontinued, of course!) I will move on to sports bras next. For now, I've been wearing two less supportive bras at the same time when I exercise. (That, by the way, took much longer for me to figure out than it should have!)
I'm not on this site as much lately, but I'm happy to answer questions if I can - please send me a private message. Most importantly, you've got this. Or, more likely, you will get this! I refuse to let BRAS defeat me when breast cancer did not. (and we just won't talk about the fact that I've cried way more over the inability to find a bra than I even thought about doing over breast cancer and losing my breasts). Hugs to you!
Re-excision for close anterior margin 10 days after BMX.
10/31/2018, DCIS, Left, Stage 0, Grade 3, ER-/PR-
12/9/2018 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (left): Latissimus dorsi flap; Reconstruction (right): Latissimus dorsi flap
12/10/2018, DCIS, Left, 2cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER-/PR-