Over the weekend I decided it was time to go to a bra and swimsuit shop where my needs could be met. I wanted to go look for a swimsuit that I could wear for my family trip to the Caribbean this winter. Regularly, finding the perfect swimsuit can be a long process and now that I have a missing breast, the process has become a little bit more difficult. I heard about Melmira’s Bra and Swimsuits Boutique from one of my mom’s friends who went through a similar process.
Conveniently located on Yonge St in Toronto, I have been wanting to come here since this whole ordeal began. This store is perfect for women looking for a proper fitted bra and swimsuit, with or without mastectomies or lumpectomies. The store sells special bras for all women, Melmira has a separate surgical section where it can meet the needs of all different surgeries. The store even has a feature where if you choose, you can have them sew in the pocket into your new bra or swimsuit!
This Bra and Swimsuit store works differently than your average Victoria’s Secret. There is no merchandise on the floor, everything is brought to you by an associate to try on in the fitting room. Before coming to this store you must make an appointment to ensure that you will be taken care of. Luckily for me and my sister, it was a slow morning and we were helped promptly.
Unfortunately, not all cities have stores like Melmira or even the same amount of bra styles. For example, when I first went to buy special bras and my prosthesis in Buffalo, New York, I was limited to 2-3 bras that were my size. I am thin with a small bosom, many mastectomy bras are made for women who are bigger busted. The styles are for more mature women and not women who are young (go figure, not many women get mastectomies in their twenties). I was’t happy with the fact that I only had a choice of 3 bras. Even when those that did fit, I found them to be too restraining. There was a simple solution to this problem:
I went to my local Macy’s and found a bra that held and covered my prothesis. The bra also had to provide full coverage otherwise my flat chest wall would be exposed. After finding the perfect bra, my mother and I decided that she would sew the pocket that would hold the prosthesis secured in place. And like that my bra problem was solved.
I was very happy with my experience at Melmira Bra and Swimsuit shop. My sales associate was well informed of what I would like and what would fit me well. All I told her was that I like color and I am interested in a bikini. Like that, I was able to pick out one bikini and one full piece swim suit. As I was trying on the bathing suits, she noticed that my prosthesis was too small, and recommended that I try on the bikinis with a bigger prosthesis. I have been wearing the same breast prosthesis since the beginning of my life without a breast. I gained 20 pound from my chemo treatment and let me tell you –it goes everywhere! For the first time I have a big boob.
Not only is my new prosthesis bigger and the right size, but it’s also has a new shape! Its called the Massage Form by American Breast Care. The channel design massages, cools and hugs your body, the super soft front provides a gentle drape, it resembles natural breast tissue and apparently it is especially comfortable for women living with lymphedema. It comes in two colors and a convenient pink travel case. I have been wearing mine for four days now and I absolutely love it. It is very comfortable and the new massage feature makes a huge difference. I do not feel anything rubbing up against my chest wall and irritating me.
After trying on several different styles bikinis and swimsuits that fit my body and my style, it was time that I was fitted with a new bra. Melmira Bras and Swimsuits does not only sell mastectomy bras but also a wide variety of other bras that provide the full coverage necessary for women who have had the dreadful, life saving procedure. I was extremely surprised when the girl helping me with my fitting brought me a lace bra. When I tried it on with my prothesis, I almost forgot of what was truly under there. The lace bra provided perfect coverage, it covered the gap that I have from my flat chest wall and also covered the scar from my mediport.
I was not aware that there are special breast prostheses for swimming. Chlorine and salt water will damage the regular soft lined prosthesis, Aqua Wave swim form by Amoena is especially made for swimming. Its improved design features raised waives on back that allow air and water to flow through, reducing the amount of suction. It is packaged with a fashionable waterproof drawstring bag that is large enough to hold a wet swimsuit. I did not wear it yet, but I will write a review as soon as I do.
For those that do not have a special bra shop that will leave you feeling satisfied, you can always take it into your own hands! Take your prosthesis or prostheses with you to your local Macy’s, JCPenny’s, or any department store and try on full coverage bras, put on your shirt and make sure you are even. That easy. You can sew your own pocket for the prosthesis yourself or if you’re brave enough you can just leave it as it is. The feeling of security of it falling out won’t be there, but it should not be a problem unless you’re constantly bending over or jumping up and down. In fact, I still have a bra where there is no pocket and I haven’t had any embarrassing moments. The only time I make sure the prosthesis is secured is when I go to the gym.