Looking for recommendations in Sydney

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Hi all, 

I have some practical things that I’ve been struggling with and I figured I’m unlikely to be the first. 

I had a single mastectomy and auxiliary lymph node removal in November and have been having issues finding bras - I’m 35 so I’m looking for something with underwire and padding that also has a pocket for the prosthetic. No such bras seem to be available at the list of stores given to me by the breast care nurses. 

My scar goes across where the nipple would be rather than where an underwire sits so I’m still able to wear underwire comfortably and since my remaining breast is a DD going without underwire, padding and structured support isn’t my favourite. The berlei post surgical bra was fine for around the house but don’t work under a lot of my wardrobe and again, the support issue is a problem. 

I figured a good option was to get a couple of my favourite bras tailored to add the pocket. Problem is trying to find someone who can do that sort of work is proving very difficult. The one guy I found in balmain showed me a method that looks like it’ll damage the bra and not have a great result. So any recommendations would be amazing. 

Also looking for inner west lymphatic drainage massage recommendations (that don’t cost the earth). 

Any suggestions for how to minimise lymphadema risk and tricks and hints for getting used to it all would be much appreciated. My hope is for a reconstruction but my surgeon says that’s about two years away. 

Thank you so much
katherine 
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Comments

  • Afraser
    Afraser Member Posts: 4,390
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    @Katherine_D

    I got fitted at home (Melbourne, sorry) when I first started wearing a prosthesis. Being large breasted (EE) and having always worn an underwire bra for support, I was sceptical about a bra that didn’t have the support I was used to. Like you, I had continued to wear my regular, underwire bras perfectly happily for 12 months before getting my prosthesis (seroma  problems!).  But the recommended bra worked really well, better than my old bra. I have since used an Amoena bra (my local Myers has a number of styles and colours) which I also find excellent. As I don’t intend any reconstruction, a good mastectomy bra is important.

    I tried adding a pocket for the prosthesis to my swimsuit top. OK I am not a seamstress and it was a disaster. Harder than it looks!  I have since bought a swimming prosthesis and a suitable two piece (slip top and short shorts, with a prosthesis pocket!). 

    Best wishes. 
  • Mez_BCNA
    Mez_BCNA Administrator, Staff, Member, Moderator Posts: 930
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    HI @Katherine_D, you are welcome to check out the BCNA service finder to see if any of the businesses listed can assist you:

    https://www.bcna.org.au/services-and-support-groups/services/30531#

    As @Afraser mentioned, Amoena is another place to try as they have a wide range of mastectomy wear in many locations:

    https://www.amoena.com/au/retailers/
  • iserbrown
    iserbrown Member Posts: 5,582
    edited January 2022
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    https://breastcarevictoria.com.au/

    This site is Victoria however you may find the site helpful 


  • Julez1958
    Julez1958 Member Posts: 1,160
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    Hi re the bra you could try Leila O’
    Toole in the Dymocks building in Sydney.You need to call to make an appointment.

  • Katherine_D
    Katherine_D Member Posts: 5
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    I think I was a little unclear. I’ve already been fitted for a prosthetic and am very happy with it. I don’t want to wear it straight on the skin because its sweaty that way and I’m worried about it falling out of my normal bras if there’s no pocket. 

    I tried a bunch of bras at Leila O’Toole and ACTE3 in balmain - they all have ‘side boob’ issues that I don’t like and all tend to be fuller coverage cups and would show in a fair bit of my wardrobe (not that low cut or anything). Neither store stocks any underwire mastectomy bras at all - such a thing barely exists. I figure it’s cheaper to alter bras I know fit and are comfortable and work with my wardrobe. I also only bought a bunch of the bras in the last six months when the plan was for me to have a lumpectomy - then chemo stopped working and two weeks later I had a mastectomy.

    thank you for the resources I will be sure to check them out. 
  • June1952
    June1952 Member Posts: 1,883
    edited January 2022
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    Yes, @Katherine_D, there are plenty of underwire bras with pockets for the prosthesis.  I wear an Amoena one which is really pretty (black) and I have seen some on the Trulife website.  One thing I will say is if you get a black one make sure it has the skin coloured lining so your skin and the prosthesis give the same colour under clothing.  I think most of the makers have now realized this.  My Trulife prosthesis comes with its own pocket as an extra which is great if your bras are sufficient coverage for a prosthesis.

    I just added some pattern links (below ?) but the system says it will be posted when approved.
  • TonyaM
    TonyaM Member Posts: 2,836
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    Hi @Katherine_D, I run a bc support group in northwest Sydney and the bra topic is always coming up. Those of us with one boob find bra shopping a real pain. A few of the ladies swear by Leila O’Toole. Me personally,just stick with the Berlei post surgical bra as I find it the most comfortable. I’m a 16D.However,I am getting sick of them in summertime.I sew pockets in my swimmers so I should think it would work in a bra. You are adding fabric and sewing onto,not cutting into the bra.I haven’t seen underwire mastectomy bras but I think Berlei makes something similar with the Chrissie Amphlet bra.Myers have a limited range of mastectomy bras.
    It is certainly a challenge- good luck!
  • June1952
    June1952 Member Posts: 1,883
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    My links to the patterns has not appeared so if anyone wants them please send me a personal message and I will pass them on.
    I have sent them via PM to Katherine.
  • June1952
    June1952 Member Posts: 1,883
    edited January 2022
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    Post made by June over the weekend and just been approved through the system via moderator, hence the delay. Please see helpful links below - @Carissa_BCNA

    @Katherine_D.  There are a few patterns around to make a pocket in your own bra.  If you have scissors, needle and thread you could do it.  Here are a couple of patterns:

    https://www.cancercouncil.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/2009-bra-pocket-pattern.pdf

    https://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Mastectomy-Bra-from-a-Regular-Bra

    https://www.craftandfabriclinks.com/mast_bra/mast_bra.html

  • arpie
    arpie Member Posts: 7,754
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    Terrific links @June1952 .... how weird that they needed approval first!  First time I've seen that!! 

    @Katherine_D .. I hope you've been able to make up something that works for you  xx

    Take care and all the best xx
  • BlackWidow
    BlackWidow Member Posts: 268
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    I've not been on for a while as I have no computer and with the virus I have not been to my friend's home.  I tried at the library but heavens knows why I could not get it to work and I was too embarrassed to ask the librarian.  Those links are great June1952 and will be appreciated by many ladies over time. Thanks.
  • June1952
    June1952 Member Posts: 1,883
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    YAY @BlackWidow - you did it !!!  😍😍😍😍
  • Locksley
    Locksley Member Posts: 949
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    @MicheleR this may interest you.  
  • SoldierCrab
    SoldierCrab Member Posts: 3,449
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    https://lilyblisstoyou.com/    Lily comes to you 
  • Amblam
    Amblam Member Posts: 3
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    Oh I feel the posting comment so bad! Ive also had one side mastectomy and have a 36G bra size on my left side, which seems to be growing annually, as every time I’m due to get (and sometimes before) a new prosthesis I have to size up, it is so annoying that I honestly wish I’d just got a double mastectomy. Of course at the time i didn’t like that idea, that was mid 2018. I’ve just turned 50 and the swimwear and most bras that are available are pretty woeful in my size. Even when I find something is kind of ok, I have to pay to get straps shortened etc, even from Leila O Toole in the city. Be careful what you decide to do, if you find somewhere who sews in pockets to your favourite bras as Ive had an amazing swimsuit ruined and left unwearable. Most of the time I just give up. Today i did order Amoena breast prosthesis covers from The Mastectomy Store, so I’m hoping that will help just popping the form in the cover first and then moving it to whatever bra I want to wear. As I find my form kind of slightly sticks out of the sides and in summer it’s pretty unbearable, so hot and sweaty. I did finally find a great swimsuit that is just a normal one that zips up so i wear my mastectomy bra with swim prosthesis underneath. The brand is called Sunsoaked for anyone interested. 
    Ive got compression arm and hand stockings made to help with lymphoedema when I went on long haul, or any flights which have been very good, ugly though! Also if you notice your arm feeling a little puffy just do that finger tip stroking thing from hands up towards armpits and also i was told walking through the water is very helpful as it does a similar thing. Good luck and let us know if you found anywhere good. I also went to the Balmain tailor today and he is not even doing it anymore as he cant source enough fabric, thanks pandemic.