One major concern that breast cancer patients face after breast cancer and reconstruction surgery as well as other subsequent treatment has to do with their wardrobe. Everyone has this problem whether it results from breast size changes from a lumpectomy or mastectomy, chemotherapy, radiation, hormone therapy and/or a variety of reconstruction procedures. And most likely, this is the last additional expense that someone needs at this time when money may be at a premium and needed for necessities and treatments and medications. Therefore, this might be the time to become a bit creative and consider a variety of options other than going out and buying a new wardrobe.
Every person who has ever dealt with breast cancer has experienced body changes on some level so just know that you are not alone in your need to find solutions for this aspect of your physical changes. Barbara Jacoby
More than likely, some preparations were made before surgery. Clothing that is easy to slip on and off that requires limited arm movement is always a first choice. Loose fitting items are also likely selections. These items will be of utmost importance during recovery from surgery and while additional treatment like chemo and radiation are pursued. And special attention must also be given if a port is to be inserted.
In addition to these considerations, most will face some sort of weight loss or weight gain that may be temporary or permanent depending on various treatments. If you find that your changes are not extreme enough to require a major size change, you might be able to utilize some of the basic pieces that you already own. A belt here or a scarf there can change a look that may allow you to adapt your clothing in ways that will make it more comfortable while disguising certain issues with which you are dealing. A loose-fitting sweater over a top that has become a little snug may be a perfect solution for extra warmth. But, you may find that you are not interested or physically able to deal with this matter on top of everything else and that would be completely understandable. This might be the time for that creativity to set in with a bit of help from a sister or close friend who would love to be able to help you in this way.
Requesting assistance from someone else can also help in other ways, too. Perhaps your friend has things in her wardrobe that she can share with you or may know of others who can help in this way, especially if you need larger or smaller sizes. Having someone who is willing to just go through what you have and create outfits for you can be so helpful. And if you don’t have anyone close by to help in this way, you might consider checking with local support organizations and enlisting their help. There are always those that want to help if they are just given the opportunity.
If you need new clothes but funds are limited, thrift stores are always a great place to check out. Items available include undergarments as well as outerwear of all sorts. Everything is freshly washed and/or cleaned before being placed on sale so this aspect need not be a concern. Most towns have a Goodwill or Salvation Army store and now more organizations like the American Cancer Society are opening outlets that are similar to these standard outlets.
If you are not in the mood to go out to shop for clothes at this time or if you might be very self-conscious about your new physical appearance, this might be the perfect time to shop online if this is something that you have not done before. The ability to try things on at your leisure and in the privacy of your own home is a luxury that would not have been available in the not-too-distant past. However, for many, it may be exactly what is needed at this particular time.
Help is available for whatever you may need. Every person who has ever dealt with breast cancer has experienced body changes on some level so just know that you are not alone in your need to find solutions for this aspect of your physical changes. The answers are out there. All you need to do is ask the questions and/or ask for the help that you need.
Barbara Jacoby is an award winning blogger that has contributed her writings to multiple online publications that have touched readers worldwide.