My Foobs, My Scars and My Bra Ambivalence

My new foobs are feeling better and better you guys. The soreness is still there on the left side whenever I do something with my left arm and there’s still lots of numbness but they are really softening like real boobs. And the last vestiges of my stitches have finally dissolved. I think D cups were wishful thinking though. The Boob Whisperer thought I could have them but with the maximum volume silicone implant sold in the U.S., (800cc) I’m about a full C. A very perky C. I was reading some comments in a private breast cancer Facebook group and there were women taller and heavier than I am saying with 800 cc they barely fit in a B cup so it’s really about your height, frame and body type. I am 5’6, have broad shoulders, am medium to large boned and moderately plus-sized. 800 cc will look different depending on your body type. This makes sense because I’ve seen plastic surgery stories on RealSelf and women were always asking “how many cc to get to (whatever bra cup size)?” The doctors would always reply that it varies from person to person and this is true with augmentation and reconstruction.

Now because of the little bit of extra skin on my right side, which he already trimmed during my exchange surgery, it doesn’t look perfect but he wants to watch it for another few months. If it doesn’t resolve on it’s own he will make an adjustment, which I knew might be a possibility. In clothes they really look great and with a bra they look magnificent. BUT! I don’t think I can ever wear a bra again. I put one on for the first time the other day and it was comfortable as far as bras go and I’d been professionally fitted with it, but I couldn’t stand it. I can’t explain it but I felt like “Gah!  There’s something suffocating me, GETITOFF!” Like when you accidentally go to bed with your clothes on after a night of partying and wake up feeling like you’re in a straight jacket. I took it off after like three hours although I reverently hung it up in the closet rather than smash it into a drawer. This was the first time I’d worn a bra since my mastectomy last May so maybe I will get used to it again eventually. I tried a sports bra and that was actually worse and looked awful. Or I could just skip it, which The Boob Whisperer prefers anyway, at least for now.

I’ve done some research about this bra business and as far as I can tell, the boob-stifling has been going on for centuries. But about a hundred years ago, Mary Phelps Jacob designed what would become the modern bra. It was mostly just just like two handkerchiefs sewn together and fit like a loose halter top. She created it as an alternative to the whalebone or metal corsets women were stuffing themselves into at the time. Apparently there was a French study done a few years ago-of course it’s the French-wherein the benefit of wearing a bra was called into question and ultimately debunked. Of course there were plenty of criticisms of the study and it further stated if you’ve worn a bra for years there’s no benefit in suddenly ditching it now.

One thing this bra situation has made me do is examine my scars and really take them all in. Sure I’ve seen them on a daily basis but I don’t think I fully absorbed the magnitude of them. There is about a two and a half inch scar from my chemotherapy port below my right collar bone. There are six inch mastectomy scars below each foob and two inch scars near my underarms where the lymph nodes were removed. There is an eight inch scar on my back from the flap surgery and an oval scar on my left foob where that tissue and muscle from my back was transferred. Also, my entire left chest (minus the white-skinned flap) is a darker color from radiation a year ago. The scars are ugly for sure but they are also a beautiful reminder of my strength.

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