I have to share some slightly personal information at this point to explain why I did a rather unusual thing the day I met my surgeon for the first time.
I am a large breasted woman, in fact I wear an H cup bra, and once I knew I would be having a mastectomy I started to think about how I would manage only having one very large breast. Also being in my late 50s, let’s just say that the breast would not be what you might call pert either!
I decided that it would be a lot easier for me to manage with a completely flat chest and use prosthetic breasts of a more manageable size. I mentioned this at a meeting with my oncologist and was told that surgeons are loath to remove healthy breasts, and that I would have to put a good case forward.
This is where my unusual act comes in!
I wanted to graphically demonstrate just how big an H cup is, and so I took a spare bra to my appointment and when the discussion started I took it out of my handbag…and placed the cup of the bra on my bum fluff covered head to show that it exactly fitted my skull…in other words my breasts are the same size as my head!
Luckily my surgeon has a sense of humour and thought my demonstration was an excellent idea.
I then put the rest of my case forward and he totally accepted my argument, and agreed to a double mastectomy! In fact he asked if he could use my case in a lecture he was giving on this very topic (but perhaps he may not mention the bra on the head!)
A couple of weeks after this I saw my MacMillan nurse so that she could give me more information about my surgery. When she approached me I noticed that she had a large carrier bag and I wondered if she’d done a bit of shopping in her break, But no!
This bag contained my new breasts!
Affectionately known in the trade as “cumfies”, they are little (well in my case not so little) stuffed,soft cushions to place in a special bra (also supplied) with pockets, to wear while my chest wounds heal. Once healing is complete (hopefully 4-6 weeks after surgery) I then swop them for the more substantial ones! My nurse had also brought one of these for me to handle. The full size prosthetic breast (known in alternative circles as a chicken fillet) was pretty heavy and so I was glad I had decided to go for a D cup rather than anything larger, or I would have had to add back problems to my list of side effects!
Also in my goody bag was the sweetest thing so far…a little heart-shaped cushion to place under my armpit for comfort after my lymph node removal.
It may seem daft considering what lies ahead, but I came away feeling happy and cared for.