Breasts are part of woman’s sexuality. When the breast develops cancer, everything changes. They become bags of fat growing this alien that is trying to kill you. I felt betrayed. With cancer, you can lose one or both breasts to surgery, which causes even more frustration with the breast that is so much of your self-image.
After surgery, you may select to have reconstructive surgery or wear prosthesis. If you select a prosthesis there are some things you need to know about picking the right kind. The first prosthesis I got was big and heavy. It caused me to walk lopsided and made my back hurt. I remember the first time I wore it I went shopping. I felt something on my shoulder. When I looked over my shoulder, I realized my bra had come lose. My artificial boob was sitting on my shoulder and my real boob was hanging down to my waist. You have choices for your prosthesis. You do not have to accept the first choice.
- Shop around. Many stores carry the prosthesis and the bras.
- Pick a material that feels good and does not cause a heat rash.
- Try on different kinds and brands. Make sure the bra does not cut into the shoulder.
- The weight of the breast should not cause the shoulders to slump.
- Ask questions.
Symptoms from the cancer and treatment do not go away the minute you complete treatment. Everything that goes into your body will come out. One way chemo comes out is through your urine. Since your muscles lose some of their tone during treatment you will have urine leakage.
- Pack away expensive panties until all the chemotherapy has left your body. Chemo will stain the crotch of the undies black.
- Wear a mini-pad to control bladder leakage.
- A panty girdle that fits your body helps hold muscles that became weak. Do not wear one that is too small.
Think of clothes that fit with a little extra room. Your body may retain fluid. There may be a difference in morning and evening body size. I felt self-conscious about losing a breast. I knew everyone was looking at me. I later realized that most people were too busy to notice. The looser tops made me feel less conspicuous. You lose layers of skin during treatment. Your skin can become sensitive rough fabrics.
- The lightweight sports knits are soft and feel good to your sensitive skin.
- Dress in layers to offset chills and hot flashes caused by medications.
- An over blouse may help with self-consciousness about your breast.
- Bright colors help your spirit and add color to your complexion.
Your feet may swell. One of the side effects of chemotherapy is neuropathy in the feet. Neuropathy is painful so you need to consider this when you pick shoes to wear. At the end of my treatment, my feet hurt so badly I had trouble walking to the bathroom. Fortunately, neuropathy pain improves quickly but the tingling can last several months.
- Try shoes a half size larger than normal to give your feet room to swell. Prop your feet up when sitting to keep swelling down.
- Wear low heels. Your chances of falling are less.
- Pick shoes out of a soft material. This helps curb the pain and tingling of neuropathy.
- Wear plush socks around the house to protect feet.
When choosing clothes after treatment, think comfort. If you are comfortable, it will reflect in your face and overall mood. Give your body the time it needs to heal.