Do I need a bra fitting service, or can I just buy a post mastectomy bra online?

Valerie's Breast Care Do I Need A Bra Fitting Blog

 

Do I need a bra fitting service, or can I just buy a post mastectomy bra online?

The best advice I can give to anyone looking for the most suitable mastectomy bra is to get fitted.
Valerie's Breast Care Bra Fitting ServiceYour body inevitably changes during and after treatment, so it’s a really good idea to get fitted before you buy any new bras. Finding the right  bra depends on getting the correct size and the only way to get the correct size is to work with a good fitter, and availing of our mastectomy bra fitting service. Wearing the wrong size won’t offer you the support you need, and it definitely won’t be comfortable. Your post-mastectomy body needs good support, and this is really only possible with an exact fit. So, before you go bra shopping, take the time to visit a specialised bra fitter and see what options are available for your body. It will save you a lot of discomfort, time, money, mistakes and of course all those inconvenient trips to the post office with returns!
Remember too, that specialist bra fitters are trained and qualified to provide compassionate care, and help you feel comfortable, safe and confident.Continue reading

Tips for dressing well after a mastectomy 

Tips for dressing well after a mastectomy  

Some of the wardrobe changes required after a mastectomy, such as buying a post-surgical bra, are obvious. Others might surprise you, like the way certain shapes, cuts, or necklines now look different on you. After years of working with women who’ve had mastectomies, here are a few style tips that I find helpful. 

  • Take your time 
  • Get the basics right – the right bra and breast form are important 
  • Highlight your best features 
  • Comfort – look for easy to wear, soft fabrics & loose arms 
  • Camouflage – different necklines, layering, scarves, draped items, and how to draw the eye/attention to where you would like it to go. 

 Take your time  

The changes your body goes through with mastectomy surgery can be a shock. It will take time to get used to the way you look, and your new clothing needs. Right after the surgery, these changes can seem overwhelming. Just because you’ve had surgery, it doesn’t mean that you have to wear baggy tops forever. Take time to find out what now works for you. Often the key to regaining confidence is to stop focusing on “problem” areas. Women often develop a distorted body image (including many women who never had a mastectomy), believing some things are far more visible to others than what the reality is. So try lots of things on and see what works.

Wear the right breast form 

If you decide to use a breast form, it is always worth taking the time to get the best one you can. Look for brands and materials which will provide the best quality and comfort. As well as choosing a good brand, pay attention to your preferences. Do you prefer an insert breast form (can be slipped into a pocket attached to your bra) or a contact/adhesive breast prosthesis (attached directly to your chest – some find it feels more natural)?   

Your comfort is key. It’s never worth wearing uncomfortable breast forms. Aside from the discomfort, you can risk irritating your sensitive skin and creating posture problems later. 

A professional fitter with years of experience is generally the best option. Contact me, Valerie, at Valerie’s Breast Care and I will help you pick out the best breast form, try different forms and measure you for a perfect fit. 

Invest in good bras 

Good post-surgical bras can make a big difference in your comfort level.  Talk to me about coming to your house for an expert fitting – it makes an enormous difference and doing it in the comfort of your home helpsI  recommend having these three essentials; 

  • Non-wired Soft Bra 

If you’re feeling tender, this is a softer alternative to an underwire bra. You’re looking for a bra with slight padding for extra comfort. 

  • T-shirt Bra 

Comfortable and slightly padded with moulded cups, these bras are smooth under your clothes – no visible lines.  

  • Front-Closure Bra 

An essential straight after a mastectomy, it’s easier to fasten and to use if the range of motion in your arms is a challenge.

Keep your style in mind 

While your comfort is important, your self-esteem and confidence should also be taken into account. Try to find ways to wear the looks you love best by adapting them to your new needs (with some of these tips). If you have a favourite style, try it on when you shop. Even if it takes time, you may be surprised at how many great new looks you can put together.

Highlight your favourite features 

Most of us spend too much time thinking about the bits we want to hide, and not on the bits we want to highlight (and we all have a few good bits!). If you think you don’t have any, maybe bring a good friend who you trust to take a long hard look at you in clothes and give you an honest opinion.  What you’re trying to do is create a focal point on your good bits – try using a belt to accentuate your tiny waist, wear patterned/coloured/textured trousers or a shorter skirt to draw attention to your long legs, or treat yourself to a pair of statement shoes.

Easy to wear items 

At the earlier stages of recovery, look for clothing that is easy to put on and take off. Front closures clothes are the best. Buttons, ties, and zippers are all easiest at the front of a shirt, skirt, or dress. A wrap-around top or dress can be even easier. If you’re choosing a t-shirt, make sure it’s a wide neck. While many will choose high necklines to cover up,  a small necked shirt might be difficult to pull off without raising your arms.

Loose arms 

If you are still suffering pain or restricted movement after your surgery, large arm spaces are vital. This might mean choosing sleeveless tops and dresses, as these allow your arms to move without pulling the fabric at your chest. Loose, large sleeves are also an option (think boxy cuts or flowing bell sleeves). 

Soft fabrics 

Comfort is key when dressing after a mastectomy. Soft, breathable fabrics should take priority. Think cotton, jersey, modal, and bamboo. These fabrics might be more expensive than others but can be worth the investment. Also, the appearance of a softer fabric can also assist with styling (often more flattering) – softer fabrics often drape around the chest area without pushing the breast form. Jersey knits are great as long as they’re cut correctly they hang well and they’re easy to wear.

Necklines 

Choosing a neckline can be hard when selecting a post-mastectomy outfit. Many women will initially choose to cover up. You may still feel more comfortable with a high neck, but your choices do not have to be restricted. I would recommend trying a few options to see how they fall on your chest before deciding. Loose-fitting tops with modest necklines are an easy starting point.  If you find a low neckline on an otherwise perfect item, you can still wear it. There are many ways to adapt your outfits such as adding extra buttons, holding open areas closed with a brooch, wear a cami or scarf with it.

Layering 

Wearing a camisole underneath something a more revealing top is a great way to expand your wardrobe choices.  Additional layers such as a vest, a cardigan, or a jacket, can all help camouflage your top half. As well as being an excellent option for those who feel self-conscious about their shape, you can have a lot of fun dressing with layers. Try playing with colours and textures, as well as interesting cuts. A vest could be worn over a blouse for trendy office wear. A cropped, structured jacket could be added to a flowing dress for a day out.

Scarves and throws 

Scarves, throws, and wraps are a wonderful addition to any post-mastectomy outfit. They can be worn in a number of styles that hide the chest area. The soft, draped fabric can also feel pleasant if you are having an uncomfortable recovery day. If you are sticking with a more basic wardrobe with key pieces, having multiple scarves can allow you to change up your look effortlessly. Different colours, shapes, textures, and prints can be added to any outfit for a brand-new feel.

Draped and flowing 

If you enjoy the coverage and comfort of a scarf, you might also enjoy a completely loose, flowing look. This might mean long-shift dresses, peasant blouses, tunics, and wraps. Many women may dress in this manner immediately following their surgery. However, you might decide to stick with the look afterward as well. Loose tops can be paired with more fitted pants and skirts, but you could also choose to wear an outfit of entirely loose items for a summery, bohemian look.

 Enhance your waist 

It can be easy to feel as though you have lost your shape, post-surgery. As well as playing up aspects of your figure such as hips or legs, try out some looks that enhance your waist. This has the added benefit of drawing attention downwards. Try wearing an A-line skirt, a pair of wide-legged, high-waisted trousers, a bright belt or a tie at your waist. Or pair a tighter bottom half item with a cropped, wide-cut top.

Shaped tops & dresses 

Tucks or ruching at the waist on tops can add emphasis to your shape without drawing focus to your chest. Large ruffles, knots and drapes can be another camouflage option as they help to create a focal point. This can depend on where they lie on the garment, however, so make sure to try them on. Tops with limited or no darts around the bust will also camouflage. When shopping for tailored dresses, notice where the dart sits. This will give you an idea on how a dress or shirt will fit around the breast area before you have even tried it on.

Prints and patterns 

A busy print will stop the lines of the underlying form showing through. Try wearing florals, botanicals, geometric prints, animal prints or multi-coloured prints. Embrace patterns to add and hide shape.  

Accessorize 

Say yes to statement pieces. Wearing statement earrings, rings, shorter necklaces, or fun shoes, can move attention and focus away from your bust area. Accessories can make a big difference in deciding which areas of your outfit get attention. Bold and daring accessories are often a great choice to make with a post-mastectomy outfit.  Think striking jewelry. Statement shoes (and who doesn’t LOVE shoes) can liven up an outfit, allow you to express yourself, and bring attention to your lower half – maybe it’s time for some shoe shopping. Even wearing make-up can help draw attention to your cheeks, lips, and eyes. 

I hope you found these tips useful, and you get back to enjoying shopping and clothes again. 

I have heard great recommendations for the following shops from clients; 

O’Donnells Boutique Limerick   https://odonnellboutique.com

Amee’s Boutique Limerick   https://www.ameeslimerick.com

Sinead’s Boutique Annacotty https://sineadsboutique.com/

If you have a story or advice related to this subject please feel free to share it in the comments below. Sad, happy, or just a little bit out there, all stories are welcome.  There is no better way to learn than through real-life experience. If you would like to contact me, please call on 085 160 1783.  My breast care service is open for consultations via phone, WhatsApp, and Video Calls.

About Valerie’s Breast Care:- The service is an award-winning provider of mastectomy bras, breast prostheses, and swimwear for women who have had breast cancer surgery.  For women who have had a lumpectomy, mastectomy, or reconstruction that would like specialist lingerie. Complimentary home visits for the counties of Limerick, Clare, Tipperary, South Galway, and North Cork. Ask me about a mastectomy fitting at your local cancer support centre. Medical cards and Private Health Insurance accepted.

Awarded Best Mastectomy Products Provider 2020 by Irish Enterprise Awards.

Valerie Murphy, Valerie’s Breast Care

Mobile: 085 160 1783

Emails: valerie@valeriesbreastcare.ie

Discover more – visit our Home Page

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Mastectomy bras, tops & swimwear for 2021 available in Ireland

Hello and thank you for visiting Valerie’s Breast Care website today. Do you need some new fashionable bras or tops for 2021? Pop into this link and see all the latest fashions for post-surgery and also for those of you about to go through surgery. Please call me for a chat. Guiding you through the products is my pleasure. Contact here at email valerie@valeriesbreastcare.ie or call me on 085 160 1783. Medical cards and private health insurance are accepted.

New Collection 2021

Valerie’s Breast Care Products – Now available to buy on-line !

Fashionable Mastectomy Bras and Comfortable Medical Prostheses – available to buy on-line too!

We are delighted to be offering both new and regular customers in Ireland the opportunity to buy their lingerie online in the comfort of their own homes.  After an initial consultation, measuring and discussion it’s a superb opportunity to simply place repeat orders, or browse to see what new fashions are available for you as seasons and fashion trends change. More so, now as we also face into the occasional restrictions regarding COVID 19, where our meeting and travel opportunities may be restricted.

Our on-line shop is divided into three distinct categories;  Mastectomy bras, Medical Prostheses, and Mastectomy Swimwear. As 2021 gets underway, we will also be expanding our online range to include breast care accessories and up-to-date breast care information. Below is a full description of the service and products available form Valerie’s Breast Care.

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Creating Good Breast Health Habits Now

Postponed mammograms, in Ireland, have given some of us, including me, the push to check our breasts more regularly. Now is the time to practice more self-care and remind the women in our lives to do the same.

It was only the other day that it occurred to me that my invitation letter for a mammogram hadn’t arrived.  Busy with homeschooling and work has kept me from keeping up with the daily news. So with a quick google of the words ‘mammogram and COVID 19’, the HSE website popped up with information on the fact that breast screening has been put on hold for the moment. This made perfect sense, of course, as many of the hospital staff have been deployed to hospital wards and we are still in the ‘stay at home’ phase during these unusual times.

COVID 19 has put a lot of our regular appointments out of sync! Many of you will relate to missing your usual hairdresser appointments, physio, and all the other professional services that make up our everyday lives.  To my dismay, one of my children, recently, complained of a toothache and instead of doing the norm, which would be to book a dentist appointment, we resorted to a few remedies that, to be truthful had been forgotten.  Haven’t heard a word about the toothache since. Fingers crossed on that one!

It just shows that going back to basics can be so beneficial.  How many of us, in the past couple of months,  have used a few of the more traditional methods of fixing things? It’s been good for us!.

Encouraging others to self-check & forming good lifetime habits

Postponed mammograms, along with other appointments are just one of the knock-on effects from the virus and this lockdown period. There is no doubt we will all be back to normal in the near future but in the meantime, there are other things we can do to look after ourselves. For some, being at home helps us to get into the routines that we didn’t have before but always wanted. Isolated at home, this is the perfect time to introduce good habits.

On this note, self-examination of the breast regularly should be part of every women’s routine. One of the most important things a woman can do for herself is to practice self-care.  For the last seven years, since starting Valerie’s Breast Care,  meeting with women in communities and events throughout Limerick and the surrounding counties and talking about self-care has been one of my most favourite parts of the service.  If any of you have met me, you will know this. There is always a lot of laughter and chat over cups of tea and biscuits. Women are supporting women and we share information that helps each other.

Early Detection Saves Lives.  During these events, we talk about looking after ourselves by eating well, exercising and discussing all the things we know we should and shouldn’t do.  Checking our breasts regularly is super important because literally early detection saves lives. It does! At events, women have given me information that has been used, by me, to help others. There is nothing as good as a real-life story. One thing that has come up, again and again, is that we all want younger girls and women to get into the habit of checking their breasts regularly. This was not a subject, that was part of the curriculum, or discussed at school many years ago. We all know so much more now and passing this on to the younger women in our lives is one of the best things we can do. Breast Cancer Ireland is a fantastic organisation that has taken this on board, by actually going into the schools and talking with students. The presentation they give to the girls is invaluable and they have given practical lifestyle information that will help the girls to form good lifetime habits. Knowing your body from an early age will stand to you as life goes on.

If you don’t look after yourself how can you look after others?

My belief in our health care system is good and there is no doubt that we will all have our mammograms as soon as it is possible. While my breast screening invitation from the hospital, is on hold the plan for me, is to consciously increase my own personal breast care routine. Normally pretty good with this, by checking on the first of every month, my intention is, to now check twice a month. It also means watching my food intake, getting extra exercise, and minding my mental health. Easy to type all of this, putting it into practice is not always so easy. There has been a lot of media reports saying that we are eating and drinking more during lockdown. Apart from the fact that we have all had a huge shock to our system, we are also out of our usual routines.  For me, being out of routine, not driving, not visiting my clients, and working very close to my friend, the fridge, has not been ideal. Implementing a routine has not been easy but as the weeks have gone on, it has become easier.

HSE Website Updates 

If like me, you were due a mammogram around now then keep an eye on the HSE website for updates.  The same for anyone that was recently screened. If you need to check that your name  is on the BreastCheck register, this site will help you or you can Freephone 1800 45 45 55

The HSE has expert researchers updating their site and there is a section on self-care of the breast. For self examination they have an excellent tutorial from the Marie Keating Foundation.

How would you like to be reminded to check your breasts? 

  • Breast Cancer Ireland has an app that you can download which will send you a reminder every month.
  • Google Calendar is used by many women to send a reminder.
  • WhatsApp with a group of girlfriends can be a fun way to remind each other.
  • Many breast-related Facebook pages including my own Valerie’s Breast Care page creates a reminder post on the 1st of every month. www.facebook.com/Valeriesbreastcare

My advice is to pick one that works best for you.

Don’t forget to pass on your knowledge to the younger generation. Are the younger women in your life checking their breasts each month? Are they forming good breast health habits? Please remind them that early detection saves lives.

Thank you for reading! I hope you got some value from this. Please share with a friend if you think this might be of interest.

]If you have a story or advice related to this subject please feel free to share in the comments below. Sad, happy or just a little bit out there, all stories are welcome.  There is no better way to learn than through real-life experience. If you would like to contact me, please call on 085 160 1783.  My breast care service is open for consultations via phone, WhatsApp, and Video Calls.

About Valerie’s Breast Care:- The service is an award-winning provider of mastectomy bras, breast prostheses, and swimwear for women who have had breast cancer surgery.  For women who have had a lumpectomy, mastectomy, or reconstruction that would like specialist lingerie. Complimentary home visits for the counties of Limerick, Clare, Tipperary, South Galway, and North Cork. Ask me about a mastectomy fitting at your local cancer support centre. Medical cards and Private Health Insurance accepted.

Awarded Best Mastectomy Products Provider 2020 by Irish Enterprise Awards.

Credit to Allie Glynn – photographer/artist for event photo

Valerie Murphy, Valerie’s Breast Care

Mobile: 085 160 1783

Emails: valerie@valeriesbreastcare.ie

Discover more - visit our Home Page
Posted in Product Information and tagged ,

Valerie’s Breast Care Mastectomy Bra Fitting Service

Valerie’s Breast Care Mastectomy Bra Fitting Service

A guide to breast products available for those who’ve undergone a mastectomy or a lumpectomy. How the right bra, breast prostheses, lingerie and swimwear can have you feeling beautiful and confident. For more information visit my website today. https://www.valeriesbreastcare.ie. This is my first video on breast products. Please sign up for Valerie’s Breast Care newsletter to receive notifications on my next videos which will be on breast prostheses, mastectomy bras & mastectomy swimwear. Thank you for visiting today.

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The four types of mastectomy bras a woman needs, after breast surgery, in her lingerie drawer.

For me, wearing the right fitting bra and being comfortable for the whole day is everything! It is the foundation for my clothes and there is literally every type of bra in my lingerie drawer imaginable.

To be described, as a bra nerd is something, in my opinion, to be proud of!

Over the years, since starting my mastectomy breast care service there have been many talks, given by me, on being breast aware, practicing good breast health, and the importance of wearing the right fitting mastectomy bra. These interactive chats between us women have been a great learning experience. Hearing all the different bra stories over the years has helped to pass on this knowledge to others.  Not only do we all want to look good, we want to feel good and we want to be comfortable without having to compromise on style.

There are many reasons we need to wear a bra, the obvious is to look good and have correct posture.  Not wearing a good fitting bra can incur spine or back pain and we don’t want that!!!Continue reading

Overcoming Breast Cancer and Mastectomy Surgery. The same journey faced the whole world over.

 

Original article was written by Valerie & printed by Happy Magazine in 2019

This blog story begins in December 2014, my family were very lucky to travel to Vietnam for two months. My husband Finbarr had the opportunity to work at a Vietnamese university. We were very excited to have this adventure with our children, who were aged seven, five, and three years old at the time.

We were staying in the city of Can Tho, which is south of Ho Chi Minh City. Almost as soon as we arrived, we fell in love with the city and its people. The Vietnamese people are the friendliest of people, constantly smiling and appear very content and happy in their lives.

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‘Fight like a Girl’ Mastectomy, Breast Reconstruction – feeling beautiful again after breast cancer.

This is the short story of how ‘Valerie’, that’s me on the left, discovered a way of ‘making women feel and look beautiful after breast cancer in Ireland’ and why like most women, it’s a subject we often don’t get to talk about.     (original article was written by Valerie & printed by Happy Magazine 2019)

It is another very hot day in this great ‘Southern State’ of the US. I am sitting here with my new Texan friends and they are aghast, listening to recent family camping experiences during our afternoon together. ‘Have you not heard about the rattlesnakes, Miss Valerie?’ ‘Don’t you know we have wild hogs here in the Hill Country? The Texan drawl was unmistakable, reminiscent of all those groundbreaking new TV soaps that arrived in Ireland during the ’80s.

Feeling like a visitor on the set of Dallas, I wondered would they start just calling me ‘Valerie’. It wasn’t quite easy to figure out whether being called a ‘Miss’ was too old or too young a label in their eyes. This is my third get-together with these women and Continue reading