Friday, November 19, 2010

Over the Shoulder Chicken Fried Steak Holder

I have started the search for a bra for these, well these, these things that hang from my chest like slabs of pounded meat, with two very nice nipples attached.  They don't really fit into a bra.  I suppose I could jelly roll them into a bra, that might work, but wouldn't be very comfortable.  I have tried wearing my old sports bras, but the bands are too tight against the tender and still painful area where my drains were.

A few of my Sisters recommended a "Bandini' by Hanes, it's like a tube top bra, but I need something to give these things a little more support.

I also tried a bra that looks like a sports bra, it has the racer back, and a much looser band.  Still no support.

I remembered The Good Witch mentioned a prosthetic medical supply company that also had mastectomy bras and a mastectomy fitting specialist on site.  Since the store is about twenty minutes away, I thought I'd call first and explain what I'm working with here and if they might have something for me.

I talked to Yolanda, who is the fitting specialist there, and she was very nice.  As it turns out,  almost everything they make is for women who have a complete mastectomy, with basically no breast there at all, only a large horizontal scar where each breast used to be.  She doesn't see very many skin sparing mastectomy patients.

It's not that skin sparing is so new, but most of the women who are able to get it have immediate reconstruction, or have tissue expanders put in.  A tissue expander is an inflatable implant that is usually placed under the chest muscle during the mastectomy operation, and the patient comes back and gets a little more solution put into the expander over a period of time.  The expander stretches the chest muscle and overlaying skin so that when reconstruction is performed later, the pocket will accommodate a real implant depending on which size a woman chooses.

I didn't get expanders because I had large enough breasts that I had plenty of skin, and because I am having a DIEP procedure, the new tissue is not placed under muscle.  They only do that with implants.  With the DIEP, the tissue will be placed on top of the muscle, and will fill up the skin that is hanging off me now.

Yolanda had never fit anyone with a skin sparing without an expander in, but she was very willing to help me come up with something.  She suggested I might try a bra with foam padding, like a push up bra.  I told her I didn't think this would work because push up bra's usually push from the sides and smash the boobies together to make them look bigger and like you have more cleavage.

I explained to her, that won't really work with me.  I need something UNDER these things.  I am not dealing with volume or something that is 3D, if you will.  I am dealing with something that is flat, thus the chicken fried steak analogy.

Yolanda suggested we might try what is called a partial prosthetic.  Instead of placing these over the chest as they usually do, we could place them under mine, and then I'd be able to fill out a small cup.  It's worth a try.  Yolanda is off next week for the holiday, so I'll go in and see her the week after Thanksgiving.

The Good Witch had already given me a prescription for a prosthetic bra.  Next week, I'll call my insurance company to find out what they cover.  From what I've heard, many insurance companies will cover the prosthetic, and/or a special prosthetic bra.  They can be expensive, several hundred dollars.

So begins my search for something to carry these things with.  I am feeling quite a bit of back and shoulder pain that is not directly a result of my surgery.  It's from hunching forward.  I can feel my posture is not right and my shoulders are really hunched forward and raised up.  Several of my Sisters have recommended a bra really helps with that, by reminding your body to keep shoulders back and down.

My neuropathy in my feet still only allows me to be on them for a short period of time.  I'm hoping sometime next week, I can get out and try some regular bra's on to see what I'm dealing with.

I went online and found a few more exercises to add to the eency weency spider.  One that seems to be helping has you place your hands together in front of you, as if to pray, and then while holding your hands together in this position, you slowly raise your hands as high as you can go, then slowly back down again.  My left arm seems to go through phases, sometimes feeling extremely tight and when I try to raise it, I can feel the painful pulling from my elbow to my armpit and down my side into and across my ribs.  Other times, my arm feels looser, it still hurts in the inner arm but does not pull all the way down my side.

There is no numbness in my right arm itself, only on the front of my chest and underneath what used to be Mopsy.  What a difference for those who only need a mastectomy and no lymph node removal!  Count your blessings Sister!  Much easier recovery on my right side; three weeks out pain levels are about a 4.

On my left side, three weeks out, the pain level is an 8.  Under my left armpit and on the inner arm itself, both are still numb to the touch, and inside is the prickly pain.  The numbness continues across the left side, where Flopsy used to be, and underneath.

I have cut back on the Dilaudid, now taking one 2mg pill every 8 hours instead of every 4.  Did you know that Dilaudid is what they use to help heroin addicts get off heroin?  I'm glad I've only been on it a week, and tapering off now.

It's interesting, I read that for a drug addict, where only addiction is involved but no pain, even 2mg of Dilaudid causes extreme euphoria and a great high.  When it is given to a person who is in moderate to severe pain (like me), there is no euphoria or high, just pain relief.  I thought that was fascinating when I was reading about it on a "kicking heroin" website today.  I started out looking for info regarding getting off Dilaudid, and if I needed to taper off gradually.  The answer is yes, but thankfully, I don't have much to worry about even if I stopped cold, maybe some headaches and body aches for a day or two.

Researching the Dilaudid is what lead me to the kicking heroin site.  Sure is amazing and scary what you can find on the Internet, like people asking about the street value of their Dilaudid meds.

I may not be able to find a garment to hold these flat Playdoh boobies, but if I need to kick a heroin addiction, I know who to talk to.

This is the world we live in now.

Scary.

I remember the days when you had to get up from the couch to turn the channel on the TV.

I remember the days when you had to go to the Library to look things up in the Encyclopedia Britannica.

I remember the days when looking at pornography meant hiding a Hustler magazine under the bed or in the garage.

There are a lot of things I miss about growing up in that era, but I'm thankful I was diagnosed with breast cancer in the world we live in now.

I pray that in the next generation, and God knows what that technology will look like, breast cancer will be as benign as measles or polio.

Just a simple vaccine given to baby girls.

What a beautiful world.

1 comment:

Redondowriter said...

My own blog, Sacred Ordinary, can be seen at http://redondowriter.typepad. I tripped across yours tonight and I want to wish you recovery. I am a two-time survivor myself. It's going to get better, I promise!

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