Taking some time to update this a bit - please bear with me
I am no longer a Bra Lady, having decided to devote my time to my full-time role and studying for a qualification related to that role. However, I still have an interest in the welfare and comfort of others. So with that in mind..
Here is a selection of bras and accessories that are available from Bras4All
If you use the code YO11JSP you will receive your order post free and I will receive a small commission as a thank you for directing you to the site.
Even after reconstruction such as I’ve had, you need to keep checking your breast for anything that is not normal for you.
My normal has been a bit off kelter recently, but when I found a lump the size of a pea I knew that was not my norm!
Although I had been discharged by my plastic surgeon’s team, I didn’t bother going to my doctor, I phoned my plastic surgeon’s secretary for guidance. She spoke with my surgeon and I was given the choice of travelling through to her hospital or a local appointment. I opted for a local appointment (as when I first ever found a lump, I was still convinced it was nothing to worry about).
My appointment was 0930 on Valentine’s Day and I had made my work aware of my appointment of indeterminate length. My appointment was almost on time, but when I explained my reason for being there I was told I was in the wrong clinic – the follow-up clinic. I needed to be at the new investigations clinic (that’s not what it was called – but I went into stressed-out mode which means I forget everything)! A new appointment was made for me at 1430. Not a good thing when you haven’t told your husband and he is expecting you home for the afternoon!
I had to go home and tell him!
He was fantastic! Scolded me for not telling him in the first place and took me in for my afternoon appointment.
It’s a lot different than it was 11 years ago. It took 6 weeks to find out the results back then! I had a lot of gratitude in me for the swiftness of the feedback, regardless of the result! Which, to save alot of waiting and details here, was benign cycsts (plural). I have to keep an eye on them for any change, but other than that I’m off the hook!
Such a relief! It had taken several hours and OH had had to go home, but all was well.
I walked the few miles into town to clear my head and acknowledge the gratitude of the results. Then caught a bus from town to home and the love it held within.
A dramatic start to the day today! I’m working at the local theatre for two mornings this week. Over one hundred of the school’s students will be performing “The Wedding Singer” from 8 to 11 February in the local theatre “in the round”. To comply with health and safety, the students are all chaperoned by adults during their week in the theatre.
As one of those chaperones I don’t get to see much of the performance, but they all look fabulous in their costumes and sound fantastic. It’s a tribute to the hours of work put in by all the students and staff during the period from auditions at the beginning of the academic year to this final week, the performance.
The parents, staff and friends of the school who volunteer to chaperone during the week are so vital to the Performing Arts department during this week as the production couldn’t go on without them. Having their support means that students can move about the theatre safely and the theatre staff are satisfied that the students are appropriately supervised.
The students benefit by experiencing what it is like to perform in a real theatre environment. They receive the same Health and Safety briefing that professional theatre companies receive, from the theatre’s Stage Manager; they are also expected to behave like professional actors.
Each year the students have received high praise in the local press for their performances,with tickets usually being a sell-out for each performance.
I wish them all the greatest success for this years performance.
As someone who spent over 10 years working in the charity sector I’m a strong advocate for volunteering and the benefits that both parties gain. The volunteer may do their role for many reasons and I have worked with a tremendous number of volunteers in my time. I give you examples such as work experience, social interaction, gratitude for support given, donating time rather than giving financially; and for each person you speak to the reason may be slightly different or vastly different than the person before.
My own volunteering extends back as far as I can remember; I don’t even remember how, when, or why I started! Possibly it stems back to “bob a job” as a Brownie/Guide! showing my age now I’ve also done many varied activities in all my volunteering: conservation work of many types (including founding a local group), brailling texts, modifying texts for conversion to large print, sitting on committees, answering surveys, reading books.
The last one on the list is the most recent and current role. I volunteer as a “Cancer Voice”. This is run by Macmillan Cancer but I am not restricted to volunteering solely for Macmillan. I have since I joined in I think it was 2009, enjoyed the following opportunities:-
A. Read and commented on numerous books
B. Watched and commented on DVD’s
C. Taken part in numerous surveys to help development of services and guidance for patients
My most recent review was of a book called Mindfulness Based Cancer Recovery. It is available in paperback and as an ebook. When I reviewed it I read it from cover to cover and then submitted my review. However this book will need to be read again as it was more of a workbook to work through than a linear read.
As a Cancer Voice I am not just restricted to reading books, though I tend to find that it is the easiest way for me to volunteer as I work full time and getting free time to attend other activities is not easy for me.
I hope that you have found this interesting enough to consider volunteering yourself. Take some time out to list your skills and abilities, or even areas that you need to develop and that you are willing to invest time in improving, while using your current skills to help others. It’s a good idea to choose an organisation that sits well with your ideals and contact them to see if they have need of your personal skillset or opportunities for you to learn (for example I could type and was taught how to use brailling software).
There is a lot of information available to those of you who want non-lipo reconstruction. Many books have been written on the subject and I have reviewed some of them for Macmillan as a Cancer Voice.
Your options include:-
Implants of a ‘foreign’ nature, such as silicon or saline-filled implants
Autologous ‘implants’ using tissue from other parts of your body, such as LD flaps or TRAM flaps
Everybody who has a reconstruction will probably have a different experience, as each persons body, cancer and treatment preferences will be different.
I do know from what I read that not every person will have the same options available to them. You only need to consider the variety of situations to realise this, for example:-
1) Bi-lateral mastectomy with immediate reconstruction
2) Bi-lateral mastectomy with delayed reconstruction
3) Single (left or right) mastectomy with immediate reconstruction
4) Single (left or right) mastectomy with delayed reconstruction
5) Lumpectomy with delayed reconstruction (usually following radiotherapy)
5a) I don’t actually know if immediate reconstructions ever done after a lumpectomy due to the effects radiotherapy can have on implants
Much expert advice and information is available and this is continually being updated. You may find it useful to find out from your surgeon what the options are for you and then read up o it. I on the other hand went about it the other way and read about all the options available and ruled out the procedures that I did not even want to consider (which was most of them in the end). My summary is never going to give you the fullest of information so please do your own careful research.
Usually silicon and can be inserted under the skin or behind the muscle on the chest wall, depending on individual circumstances. It may be necessary to use an inflatable implant first to ensure that the breast area will accommodate the final implant. All man-made implants will eventually need replacing (as at the time of writing).
Most commonly from the back or the abdomen. The donor material is removed (usually) with blood vessels still connected. This is then tunnelled under the skin to its new site in the breast. The attached blood vessels keep the relocated tissue alive and increase the chances of a successful reconstruction. I understand that sensations from the relocated tissue are felt in the source site and that muscle movement in the breast may occur when flexing muscles in the donor area.
With man-made implants the surgical site is constrained to just the chest area (and when I say just the chest I do realise that this can be a large proportion of the chest, i.e. From breast bone to beneath the armpit).
Whereas with the autologous implant there will be additional surgery at, and from, the donor site as well.
It is well to remember that all surgical sites will need to be cared for during the healing process to avoid infection setting in and potentially prolonging the time it takes to heal.
Again, I repeat what I said earlier… The information input here is information I discovered when I was researching my own reconstruction. It is not necessarily the most up to date and it is most definitely worth your while investing some of your own time in finding out what is available and also what is most appropriate for your own circumstances. Bear in mind that research into breast cancer is a very active field and developments are leaping forward all the time. You may even get to be a pioneer!