Catherine Goes Boob Shopping

Today, we’re going to talk about boob shopping. Boob as in a single breast (i.e. a prosthesis). Last week, Zsolt and I decided to finally act upon my long-desired craving for a breast that properly fit my body. Therefore, after waiting and waiting for an opportunity (i.e. insurance) we decided to go for it.

Boob shopping

I call this picture: “Chronically Awkward.” You can see the nerves.

SO! I called up my local mastectomy boutique, aptly named Kelly’s Boutique, and arranged an appointment with Diane Hayes who owns the shop. It’s easy to tell that Diane has her heart in this business. The shop itself is named after her sister-in-law and youngest brother’s wife, Kelly, who lost both breasts to imflammatory breast cancer and later passed away from the disease. Diane herself seems to genuinely thrilled when she can help a woman feel better about her body.

The appointment was made.

Fast forward to the next day, Zsolt and I get on the bus and head to the St.Laurent area. We hop off near the St. Hubert Chicken Restaurant (drool) and cross the road to Kelly’s Boutique.

Now I’ll be honest. I almost cancelled this appointment about six times before actually walking through that door. Zsolt had to talk me down . . . he told me it was okay. Everything would be fine.

Why was I so nervous? I don’t know. I was worried about filling out the insurance since I’ve never done that before in my life, worried about whether I should get a properly-fitting breast form at this point, stressed over something else that had just happened in our lives that I’ll mention another time (sorry that’s so cryptic), and just worried in general. It is my natural tendency to worry.

So we arrive at the boutique, and step into the store.

Sensory overload! Suddenly I went from anxiety to full on “shopping!” mode: There were scarves, hats, BRAS, bikinis, and bathing suits everywhere. The place is PACKED with colourful and varying product. And while I totally avoided the hats .  . . because they kinda make me shiver with memories of chemotherapy, I gravitated to the bras.

Bras. Bras. Bras! Pretty bras that you wouldn’t have seen three years ago when I was first diagnosed. There was one particularly black and purple number I really loved. The price tag was beyond my range, since my insurance doesn’t cover clothing for mastectomy, but I am nevertheless so glad to see that designers are finally catching on. Women want to feel attractive, even after their breasts are taken away.

Okay, so I was playing in the land of bras and bikinis, when Diane’s assistant let me know that Diane was done with her previous client and I could come along now.

Come along where, exactly? (My nerves were rising again.)

We were led to a backroom with a fainting couch (apparently, I’m not the only person who gets nervous) and a full length mirror, and possibly a feather boa – but that could just be from my imagination. Zsolt and I went into the room and waited.

Soon, Diane came in. After a few questions about what I was looking for, (“a boob?”) she said, “okay, let’s see.” So that’s how I found myself, once again, exposing my chest to a stranger. Oh my goodness, if I had a dollar for every person who has seen my chest – I could at least buy 3 pints of Hagendaz ice cream.

Again, I was nervous. But Diane was so professional and so certain in what I needed that the nerves lightened. While she disappeared to pull options, I waited on the sofa wrapped in a slippery bathrobe and took pictures of the place with Zsolt’s phone for this blog post. Then she came back and we looked at her pick.

The BOOB of CHOICE: An Amonea breast form that sticks to my chest!!! We played with the sizes till we found the perfect match, and then she showed me how to stick on the breast. It’s fascinating stuff – and it’s not itchy at all. I was so freaking thrilled with my new boob, I was pushing out my chest for Diane and Zsolt to judge the shape. The two of them (my breasts, not Diane and Zsolt) just looked so very pretty inside that black and purple bra.

Sold! I took the breast.

Do you want to know the very best aspect of this stick-on breast? Well, because it sticks to me and doesn’t sit inside a pocket within the bra that means –

Hold on.

Drum roll.

That means . . .

I CAN BUY ANY BRA I WANT! WoooooHooooo! Bring on the pretty zebra stripes, satins, COLOURS and cheap frills that LaSenza and LaVieEnRose can offer. It has been over three years since I could walk into a lingerie shop and not despise the rows upon rows of unattainable bras representing a part of me that couldn’t be reclaimed. Not without reconstruction, and I long-ago choose never to reconstruct.

But now, with my stick on & not-itchy & not too heavy breast – I can be pretty, and it can done in a way that I can afford.

So that’s the lovely news.

It was a good experience, and I’m so glad I didn’t cancel that appointment.

If you are in Ottawa, and want to visit Kelly’s Boutique, here’s her website with all the needed information: