Many women who undergo a mastectomy have three basic options: 1.) They can reconstruct the breast(s). 2.) They can use a breast prosthesis. 3.) They can leave all alone and go au naturel.
In my family, we have all three options covered. My sister and I opted for the breast reconstruction – hoping for better boobs than what we had before. My mom uses prostheses for most days of the week. After her fourth bout of breast cancer, my grandmother decided to just let herself be.
We each have our different reasons for our chosen options and each option was right. There is no right or wrong when it comes to boobs.
For those who don’t know about prostheses, simply put, they are a breast form – the ultimate padded bra. They can come in many shapes and sizes. They can be thick or thin. They can be made from silicone gel, foam, or fiberfill. They can be weighted to offer more form on the bottom of the chest or not.
These prostheses can slip into a pocketed bra or swimwear. They can be attached with adhesive or magnets. It seems as if the sky is the limit when it comes to finding the right prosthesis for you.
Many moons ago, when my mom was diagnosed with her first breast cancer, she had a simple lumpectomy. That lumpectomy led to another surgery to gain clearer margins. A large pie-shaped section was removed leaving her with lopsided breasts. To compensate, my mom bought her first prosthesis to even out the lopsidedness. Who knew years later they would come in handy.
As my sister was ready to walk down the aisle, her wedding dress kept slipping. A month between my sister’s final alteration and the wedding, stress caused her to lose some extra weight. Many of us tried to figure out how to rectify the situation.
Then my mom quickly reached into her dress and whipped out her prostheses. My sister walked down the aisle with her something borrowed. My mom’s boobs! From one outfit to the next or one person to another, prostheses are completely interchangeable!
Another time, a new pair of prosthesis came in the mail for my mom. While my young niece was staying with my parents, she wandered into their bathroom. There sitting on the counter laid her new boobs. Hours later, my mom discovered a chunk missing from a prosthesis. Apparently, they looked like tasty chicken breasts, but tasted nothing like them.
With any option of breast prostheses you choose, there comes the good, the bad, and the ugly. Take your time choosing the best option for you.
Angela Banker is a mother, a wife, a daughter, and a sister; she is also a young survivor, a caregiver, a supporter, and a fighter. She was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 33, and found herself empowered to share her story to raise awareness about breast cancer. Angela participates in Relay For Life, started the Sisters Beating Breast Cancer page to inspire others, and continues to "fight like a girl" with the hope that her daughter will never have to hear the dreaded words, "You have cancer."