It might sound frivolous … who worries about fashion when she’s fighting for her life? Part of the joy (and challenge) of surviving breast cancer is reaching the point where you’re confident enough of your health to start thinking about how you’ll wear swimsuits or other summer apparel.
“Everyone needs to reassess their personal style after breast cancer,” says Mary McCabe, RN, director of the cancer survivorship program at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.
For Jami Bernard, a breast cancer survivor since 1996, an essential part of surviving breast cancer was learning to feel more comfortable with her body, and how it looked in clothing like swimsuits, lingerie, and short-sleeved shirts.
“It takes a while to get used to the fact that your body looks different, and adjust to the fear that other people will find it offensive or weird-looking,” she says. “ I remember seeing a woman one summer who was wearing a very low-cut top, and I could see the top end of her surgical scar. I was so excited to see someone else who had a scar!”
“More and more people will have scars. I’m not a 20-year-old bathing beauty and it’s not like I have to compare my body to the others,” she says. “I’ve seen other people with scars, and I feel heartened to see that they’re not ashamed of them.”
Swimsuits are often one of the biggest challenges for women who’ve had breast cancer. “I like to swim, and at first I was embarrassed to wear a swimsuit at the pool,” says Bernard. “But a lot of mastectomy swimsuits are cut high under the arms and at the neckline, and I find that no one notices my scars.”
Byrd-Watson has recently added a mastectomy line of swimsuits to our post-mastectomy products. Stop by 1200 Main Street in Mount Vernon and see what we have that will make you look good and feel great!
Article by Bev Ramsey, CFM / Fitter of Mastectomy & Compression at Byrd-Watson Medical Equipment