Inside breast cancer: Finding the right bra

Underwear… yes, this is girl talk. I have bought so many different types of underwear over the last two years

Underwear… yes, this is girl talk. I have bought so many different types of underwear over the last two years I had to put some in my tickle trunk to hopefully wear later. About a year before breast cancer I decided that it was about time I started buying really nice expensive matching underwear. So I did, the ultra push-up bras, the lace, and the oh, la, las. Well that was lots of fun, and I threw out all my old stuff – it was time to treat myself well!

Then comes the breast cancer diagnosis (keep in mind that I have been to 150 medical appointments in the last 24 months and at 50% of them you have to strip), so I bought doctor underwear. The full briefs, nothing too jazzy, very sensible so that if you had to walk around in a gown or be covered with a thin paper you were not showing too much eye candy. Boring old white and granny panties.

Ah… then came surgery… I had a lumpectomy and the incision of course is on my left side along the band line of the bra… so, being braless was the new option… I went out and bought camisoles with shelf bras inside of them, with NO SEAMS, and nothing that could rub… how clever I thought this will work brilliantly and it did.

Then came the rads… now they said you could only wear 100% cotton, because the rads keep radiating after each treatment and “your area needs to breathe.” So, back to the lingerie department where they recognize me as their best little shopper. The goal was to try and find something with no seams and in cotton, that would breathe (very hard to find). For the record, I still burnt from the rads and it took about 8 months before I was “healed” enough to actually put on a normal bra again. My skin was so sensitive it took months before I could even touch it without wincing. I had to stuff my bra with white flannel folded up so that the friction of the bra didn’t drive me insane.

Now, I am just getting back into beautiful bras. Still no seams or lace, and I actually have to wear the bra looser as the scar is still so sensitive. So, a couple of days a week, I can manage a beautiful bra (yes I am back into “training” bras) and the rest of the time, I live in the camisoles with shelf bras.

All I can say is, I am only a 34B… I cannot imagine what this would have been like for a woman with larger breasts. Thank goodness I could easily get away with the cami.

It has been a challenge to find sports bras with no seams; what I have had to do is take white hockey tape and cover up the rough seams with it so I can put the bra on.

If there ever was a niche market, here’s one: build a seamless cotton support bra, with no irritating elastic. If they can make SPANX underwear that way, someone should be able to make a bra!

Life is good,

Editor’s note: Read our guide to finding the right bra on page 53 of the September issue of Best Health, on newsstands now.

Jordan is a Best Health reader and guest blogger. Find links to all of her posts on the Breast Cancer Blog home page.

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