Friday, 15 August 2014

Post mastectomy clothes tips (for A-cup ladies)

It’s only three weeks since my unilateral mastectomy so I haven’t yet progressed to prosthesis, post-mastectomy bras, evening wear or swimming costumes.  But I still have some tips to help people survive the immediate post-op clothes crisis.

1.       Button-up tops.
Thank goodness I read this advice online before my operation and bought some button-up shirts and button-up pyjamas before I went into hospital.  I can just about wriggle into a loose pull-on top now but in the early days, I couldn’t raise my arm enough to get them on over my head...let alone get them off again.
2.      Drains
I didn’t leave hospital until three days after the operation and they took out my drains before I went home.  But lots of women seem to be sent home with drains and they advise bringing clothes with pockets to put the drains into.
3.      The bra problem
The hospital warned me not to wear underwired bras too soon and suggested unpicking the stitching and pulling the wires out temporarily.  Mine are either super-stitched or else I’m not terribly domesticated, but a brief inspection made it clear that wasn’t going to work.  Luckily I have some old bras that are not underwired...but I have not yet been able to face wearing them over the scar.  Women with larger breasts will, I guess, have limited options but an advantage for A-cup sized ladies is that we don’t really need to wear a bra for support. So I have found it much more comfortable to go without a bra at all.  But of course, this brings other issues.
4.       Button up tops...with breast pockets!
If you don’t wear a bra, then you have nowhere to put padding and, even with a tiny breast, the flatness of the other side is still very obvious under most tops.  By sheer luck, the shirts I bought had pockets over the left breast i.e. the one that got the chop.  This distracts from the flatness underneath and some cotton wool pads in the pocket can go a long way.
5.       Spaghetti-strap tops
No, I am not sauntering along the beach in a spaghetti-strap vest top – that would be truly brave.  But they can be a helpful underwear substitute if you can’t face a bra.  At the moment, I prefer to wear baggy tops rather than tight ones for obvious reasons but they are often sleeveless and I am quite paranoid that leaning forward with my arm out gives a perfect view of my flat, scarred chest.  I don’t want to give children nightmares.  The vest-top is easy to wriggle into (even with restricted arm movement), there are no straps across the chest to irritate the scar, but it is close-fitting enough to hide it.  And you can even pin a padded cushion-boob on underneath.
6.       Scarves
I wasn’t foresighted enough to pack scarves for my holiday but I wish I had.  When I take my cardigan off, I wear it over my shoulders with the sleeves knotted in front and that works pretty well to hide the flatness.  A pretty, flowing scarf would work even better...hmm, sounds like an excuse to go shopping...

1 comment:

  1. Wishing you all the best on your journey!

    I would love for you to share your story with us on our Cancer Support Blog as well! If you're interested, please email me at for more info!

    All the best-