This Ain't My Gramma's Breast Form

In preparation for the impending release of Omnific Publishing's two Summer Lovin' Anthologies on July 5, the proceeds of which will be donated to the Save the Ta-Tas Foundation, many of us participating in this week's Meet an Author Monday blog hop have breast-cancer related posts.

Mine is about all the wonderful products available these days to make life after breast surgery more comfortable and just as active as the survivor wants it to be.

I'm extremely (and inexplicably) fortunate that in the minefield of breast cancer, my only close encounter has been through my maternal grandmother.  She had a successful single mastectomy before I was even born, so the only thing I remember about it are the times she'd pass around her breast form at family parties. 

You heard me right.  She'd gotten a new, satin, pillow-like thing that she was ever so pleased with because it was soft and not itchy.  Apparently describing it wasn't enough for her, because I clearly remember her reaching into her bra, pulling it out, and saying "Here, feel it."  (Trust me, that's not something easily erased from the memory banks.)

So now, 30+ years later, it's kind of cool that I find myself working part time for a boutique that specializes in after breast surgery products, including breast forms. And boy have they come a loooong way. 

My grandma's breast form was essentially a pillow she'd stuff into the empty side of her bra.  Today, forms are made of a soft silicone that's molded to recreate the natural appearance and movement of a woman’s breast.  Newer innovations---including some based on NASA technology---adjust to temperature fluctuations and thus reduce overheating and chill. 

Besides making a woman feel more comfortable cosmetically, breast forms are weighted to restore balance, help maintain shoulder posture, and increase physical comfort after surgery.

Breast reconstruction has also come a long way, but it's still not for everyone.  Some women aren't candidates for reconstruction for reasons like not having enough remaining muscle tissue on the breast bone; others elect to not go through another---often more demanding---surgery right after a mastectomy or lumpectomy.  And so, proper-fitting breast forms remain an essential part of life for many women after breast surgery.  

But that's not all...
Other products available to make life a little easier after surgery  include:
(the leading manufacturer is Amoena)

Bras and intimate apparel - feminine and comfortable apparel to accommodate breast forms and allow for various levels of activity.   

Swimsuits - lots of cute styles with a pocked to hold a breast form securely in place.  Waterproof forms are also available

Post-operative products - for immediately after surgery, Amoena (and probably others, I just don't know them) offers soft cup, front closure bras, drainage pouches, and compression products.

Accessories: inserts, pads, creams and other enhancements (e.g. prosthetic nipples) for your breast form.

A couple more things a lot of people don't know:
Insurance plans cover at least part of the cost of a breast form, which can get pricey ($300-$475) AND bras (in the U.S., not sure about other countries).  As of the date of this post, Medicare typically covers one form every 2 years and six bras every year. A prescription from a doctor is required if you plan to file with your insurance company.

Boutiques: You don't have to get fitted for your products at a sterile clinic or pharmacy.  Certain cutie cute boutiques have certified fitters on staff and provide these services in a much more appealing environment.   Check with boutiques in your area to see if they can accommodate your insurance, but even if they don't---if they're sweet like the girls I work with---they just might give you a fitting and then you can take that information with you to the pharmacy.

This is the last time the Meet an Author Monday blog hop will be hosted at Cali Cheer Mom cuz as of July 1 she'll move to Lisa Sanchez Romance Author, where she's kicking things off big w/ the Sizzling Summer Author Extravaganza!

And cookies out to these darlings who came by to visit me at Thoroughly Smitten:


Suze said...

'I clearly remember her reaching into her bra, pulling it out, and saying "Here, feel it." (Trust me, that's not something easily erased from the memory banks.)'

I imagine not!

CarolOates said...

That you for the post and sharing the story about your gran.

Lisa said...

Lol, my grandma would have done the same thing had she had surgery. Funny! It's amazing to read just how far we've come in making the lives of women who've battled breast cancer just a little bit easier. Great post!

Debra Anastasia said...

What a beautiful job you have. You must be a certain type of lovely to be able to help ladies with this unique and important need. Can't wait to read your story!

Jennifer Lane said...

Wow, so many options! My mother had a single mastectomy as well (she's doing great now). Fortunately she hasn't forced me to hold her breast form (the horror!) but I do know it's form fitting silicone. My parents' cat likes to knead my mom's chest and her poor fake booby has holes in it from the cat's claws LOL. I'm sure you provide lots of comfort to women in need in your job, Bev.

Anonymous said...

Lol, I heart your granny so much right now. Love the resource links that you've listed. Great idea for this post.

Liz Fichera said...

This is a great, helpful post. I'm going to bookmark it and share it with women I know who could use this information.

M Pax said...

Wow, there's a memory. I'm glad there's a lot more available.

Donna Hole said...

You know Nicki, Three Daves has been on my TBR list for a while now. And I think it was the book trailer that sold me. I need to bump this up my list . .

This was one of the most caring, sensitive, straightforward posts on Breast Cancer Awareness that I've seen. Very well done.


Talli Roland said...

It's amazing how far things have come. Thanks for sharing all this info!

And wow, what a cool grandmother. :)

Anonymous said...

My Friend has attachable breast forms and she loves them. They look so real and I think it better than getting breast surgery.