Mastectomy shopping

Beauty is good for you, don’t you think? Yesterday I sat in a cathedral and listened as a touring choir rehearsed for the evening’s concert. It was absolutely fulfilling. There’s something so awe inspiring about high vaulted ceilings and light shinging through stain glass windows;  Somehow a place that large inspires peacefulness. Throw in a round of fifty harmonized voices and wow – that’s something powerful.

But – Zsolt and I didn’t travel along the A3 to Chichester just to visit pretty places. We were shopping for boobs.

The last mastectomy store I walked into (in Southampton) was not impressive. The sales lady stood behind her counter the entire time, the selection was minimal, and my bra size turned out to be way tiny on the UK sizing charts. FACT: in England they have a AA cup, which is essentially the same size as a North American A cup. Ugh. Therefore, I can kiss any hopes of ever reaching B again my life good bye. Good bye, you curvy mounds of womanhood.

But whatever. I’m a double A, and thankful to at least have one remaining breast. She’s small, but she’s mine. And according to the last ultrasound, she’s healthy too.

Right – so, shopping for boobs.

Since radiotherapy it’s been uncomfortable to wear bras. The burning and strain made the entire idea impossible. However, it’s now been one month since radio finished, and while the tan remains – the burn has faded. Wearing a bra is less uncomfortable.

Therefore, I decided it was time to try another mastectomy shop. This one, Nicola Jane, has an online presence and several shops across the country – one being in Chichester.

Unlike a proper retail shop, this place doesn’t have a displays in the window. In fact, it doesn’t have a window. Instead the store is located amongst offices, and you (me, we the clients) need to enter a small hall, then push through the door marked, “Come in.”

So Zsolt and I went in. And  you know, at first I was a little disappointed. It looked almost exactly like the previous shop – samples on the racks, but otherwise you didn’t get that ‘pretty lingerie shop’ feeling.  You know those shops? Carpet flooring, pink everywhere, long gilded mirrors, lace, candles, potpourri . . . well it didn’t have any of that.

But it did have two shop assistants who were eager to help.

(Maybe a little too eager? At one point I was between bras when the sales lady waved her hand, “Hi ya, can I come in?” and before I could utter the ‘neh’ to ‘no’ – in she came. Chalk up yet another person who has now seen me topless.)

It was a true group effort. I’d try on the bra, then pull back the curtain to show everyone – Zsolt and the two sales ladies received a mini fashion show, and I was helped in identifying which bra size works best. That’s a win-win-win situation.

Fifty pounds later and I have two mastectomy bras that fit far better than my original one. And while I whinge about being a double A, they’re some pretty good looking double As. Today I took my spare breast out for tea and it looked totally normal. Actually, better than normal – perky!

Really, going without a bra is no big deal, and having a small chest means that it’s okay to not always strap on that particular bit of underwear. But once in a while I really love to have some nice, perky BOOBS.

So there you go. A good purchase, which had better last  me at least two or three years – because my goodness, this stuff is expensive!