Happy New Year to all of my MastectomySolutions.com friends! The 2014/2015 update:

Sending best wishes for a Happy New Year to all of my MastectomySolutions friends! May we all have a safe and healthy 2015. Love and hugs to everyone!  Remember, every year brings us both happiness and heartache, but we can choose to remember the good parts and work on making the difficulties better. Life is pretty much what we make of it once we get beyond the parts we have no control over. Let’s take control.

I choose to look forward with joy to the new year, surely it’ll be better than the past one, lol…  Those of you who correspond regularly, know that I’ve been sidelined for a few months in a wheelchair and/or bed-rest (nothing terrible, just some annoying minor ankle problems that required a lot of resting and elevating the ol’ tootsies to heal) but I’ve kept the website going and hope to see it grow with more info this coming year.  I’m still sewing almost daily, making microbead breast forms for everyone possible, just at a slightly slower speed,.. occasionally taking from 2 days up to a week before yours is sewn and shipped.  You’re in my prayers, and I’d appreciate being in yours, that I can be up and walking regularly within another few weeks.  You won’t believe the plans I have for the website this year, but it would go much faster if I were in the upright and locked position, lol…  That’s it for 2014, tomorrow morning is 2015, let’s get going!

 

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Three new sizes just added!

Hello friends!  Just today realized that I’d not yet added two sizes that I’d been making for a while for people who asked… the size 3XSmall and the size 6XLarge, which have both turned out to be oft-needed sizes.  Usually I quietly make new sizes for people who ask, test them out for awhile, and if it’s right, then they get added to the website.  These should have been there awhile ago, so I’m sorry for the delay.  Someone just ordered a size 7XL so I decided to go ahead and put that one online and available as well.  Haven’t yet added the newest patterns for those who may want to sew them, not enough time today, but will get around to it as soon as I can.  Right now, am too busy sewing microbead forms for everyone in between taking care of hubby and the house.

So, for those of you who have been waiting for more sizes, they are now here!  I’ve ALSO redone the size chart a little bit so that maybe it’s somewhat easier to read and to see the progression of the sizes for the microbead forms as the bra size goes up or down.  You may notice SOME bra sizes that are not common, but the chart makes more sense when as many as possible are shown.  If your size isn’t shown for some reason, you’ll now be able to see the progression and be able to find the closest size to what you need.  You can view the new chart here:   http://mastectomysolutions.com/sizing-list.php and if there’s a size you need, go to the ‘Items for Sale’ page here:  items-for-sale.php to order.  As of today, I only have one more pair to make, so I’m keeping up pretty well most of the time.

That brings it up to a grand total of 13 sizes available, in 3 colors (light nude and dark nude/tan, and also in a matte black that matches black bras and swimsuit linings).  There’s always further customizations to make them fit better for those with unilateral as well as for those with bilateral mastectomy.  As long as my hands and eyesight will work well enough to do this, will keep making them and posting more info to the website.  If you see mistakes, by the way, would surely appreciate your pointing them out, because every time I look at it, I find SOMETHING more that I’d not noticed.  Helps to have fresh eyes look so that my embarrassing misspellings and any dead links can be found and corrected.

Remember, if you’re not sure, you can always write to me and I’ll look up your size and see if it matches something I already make, and if it doesn’t, I may be able to draft a new pattern for your size and do it anyway.  That’s the beauty of being one woman sitting at home with my sewing machine, and not having to only make sizes that fit ‘most’ people, and being able to do this to help other surivors, not a business.  I can make any size for anyone at any time, and add customizations to make it fit even better when needed, so there’s no reason for anyone to have to be uncomfortable with Silicone forms this summer or any time.

Hugs!
Mary :^)

New photo tutorials added, a new checklist for ordering, etc…

Hello, friends!  Some of you know that for a LONG TIME I’ve been promising to add a photo tutorial on my MastectomySolutions.com website to show you a simple way to remove some microbeads from your microbead forms when they’re too full or ‘perky’.  You also wanted a photo tutorial on how to close the adjustment tubes that I’ve been providing some of you with.  Both techniques have been especially popular with those who’ve had single mastectomies and needed to match a remaining breast.

Then, what about those who have multiple, or ‘more unusual’, adjustment needs.  A CHECKLIST of options has been needed so that you’d know from the start what changes could be made on your microbead forms to make them suit you better. There’s no extra charge for any of it, it’s just something that very much needed to be done to make it easier to accomplish what we’re already accomplishing together, but it took multiple emails before to get it done right.

Well, it’s DONE!  You can find it all on the “Items for Sale” page near the center top area.  There are links to all of it.  If you find errors, please let me know so it can be fixed. Somewhere on the website, I’m pretty sure one photo was accidentally replaced with another one being uploaded that has nothing to do with the text where it’s at. Haven’t been able to find it yet, too tired, and it’s like looking for a needle in a haystack.  You know me, if it stands still, take it’s picture, so there’s a lot of pictures, lol…

Just stayed up all night long completing this batch of work, but have been working with some of you for weeks or months who agreed to be my ‘test subjects’ to work out the various things that needed to be added or corrected.  Thank you all for your help and patience, you’re a wonderful bunch of people (you know who you are, dear hearts!), and it’s been fun, but I’m going to bed now to see if I can get to sleep before the sun comes up.  It’s going to be a close call… Zzzzzzzzz

Review of Cami Shaper by Genie, Useful after Mastectomy, Using Microbead Breast Forms!

Well, FINALLY, eh?  I’ve promised many of you who have emailed after visiting my website (MastectomySolutions.com) that I’d show pictures of my current favorite alternative to a bra.  This item works PERFECTLY with ultra-lightweight microbead breast forms!  I’ve now used it for a few weeks, washing and wearing, and it’s passed my own tests for comfort and design.  I don’t sell the Cami-Shapers, have nothing to DO with selling them, but I’m a breast cancer survivor like you and am always looking for anything to give me some relief from regular bras digging into scars and/or riding up.  When you can find an item like this, for a reasonably inexpensive price (only $19 at Walmart, with NO prescription needed), it’s worth sharing the info with others who’ve wondered if it’d work.  Here’s the news, folks, IT DOES, and very well indeed!

CamiShaper1 This is the box to look for at Walmart and similar stores, generally located back in the bra section, not with the short regular Genie bras up near the front (those work well for some people, too).  If you don’t see the boxes hanging in a section of wall, just ask whomever is in charge of the lingerie section.  It may help to print a photo and take it with you, sometimes they have NO idea what you’re talking about until they see the picture on the box.

CamiShaper12  Here’s the size chart.  I wear a size L now, but still have a sizable waistline, so purchased the size XL and it’s extremely comfortable.  Genie bras usually run very small and I’d need two sizes larger in the short ones, but the fabric in these Cami Shapers is different, much softer and gentler on the skin, so one size larger was just right for me.  If you want a little MORE compression and you’re far enough away from your surgery, you may want to get your exact size.  Our local Walmart stores will let you take one of these into the fitting room and try it on, yours probably will as well, to make sure of getting the most comfortable size.

These come in three colors, Nude, Black, White.  The nude works well under any garment, so I’d recommend it as a first purchase, but the black would be great to wear under a sheer printed top.  I’m not that fond of white bras, but may get one of these in white as well.

CamiShaper11 This is what the Cami Shaper looks like, WITH the microbead breast forms already inserted in the ‘pockets’ woven in that were meant to hold an insert (included).  It’s really just a ‘modesty insert’ for women with natural breasts, to cover the nipple, BUT it works perfectly to shape the front of your microbead breast forms, giving you a smooth front that you’ll love for wearing knit tops… no more bra seams showing, no bra band, no fat ripples, what’s not to love??

CamiShaper2  Here’s a view from the side, so you can see how smooth the inserts look, with microbead forms behind them.

CamiShaper7  This is a view from the back, inside, so that you can see the TINY pocket opening at the underarm edge, with a bit of the microbead form showing.  Can that itsy bitsy hole for inserting and removing the ‘modesty insert’ REALLY be big enough to work a microbead form into?

CamiShaper4 Why, YES it can!  the fabric is only 4% Spandex, but it is enough to stretch like crazy, as you can see here with my four fingers stretching the itsy opening.  It takes a little time, but you can work the microbead form in bit by bit, and I just leave mine in most of the time, anyway.  I have washed this thing in the washer on gentle cycle inside a net lingerie bag, with the microbead forms still inside, then hung it to dry on a hanger, over and over…and over.  The fabric shows it a bit, looking a little like tee shirts do after washing and wearing multiple times, but I think it’s holding up quite well overall.  If you washed it by hand instead, it’d probably last you for years.

Leaving a pair of microbead forms inside, you can get dressed in MOMENTS instead of minutes, just step into the neckline and pull it up over you, same as you do a one-piece swimsuit.  Position your bustline where you want it if it doesn’t go there naturally, pull the flared ‘comfort band’ over your hips, and you’re done.  It’s even faster and easier than BEFORE mastectomy, so that’s a nice little plus.  :^)

CamiShaper14  Here’s a shot of the back of the box…. notice the underarm area?  I like that, too, covers the holes, rolls, and scars left when you’ve had extensive lymph node removal.  I’m sure they made it like that to smooth out fat rolls, BUT it does a good job of smoothing out uneven areas left from surgery as well.

Overall, I’d have to give this item a whole-hearted thumbs up for those of us who are tired of the pain of silicone breast forms and have moved to microbead breast forms.  Whether you’ve made your own from my instructions HERE or you’ve purchased a pair of the ones like them that I make for people, this garment will take you to a whole new level of comfort. 

Since the microbead breast forms only weigh an average of one ounce each, adding them to this Cami Shaper by Genie will only make the whole thing weigh about 8 ounces total, on the average, can you IMAGINE?  Only ONE silicone breast form weighs about a pound, so two silicone forms and a bra can weigh around two and a half pounds.  Compare that to a total of only 8 ounces for two microbead forms inside a Cami Shaper, and you’ll see why I’ve been recommending this for everyone else who was in pain.  I forget I’m wearing it, there’s no sensation of wearing anything, really.  That was my goal, to make microbead forms, and find a bra-substitute that would make it feel so natural, that I could go all day without having to THINK about mastectomy.

Any questions?  Just ask!

Now, I’d like to ask you a question, what’s your favorite regular mastectomy bra?  Have you found a comfortable one you’d like to recommend to others?

“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will do the something that I can do.”
― Edmund Everett Hale

There was a small sign with a paraphrased quote on it that I saw & then shared recently on Facebook, thinking that it inspired me.  When a friend saw it, she said she immediately knew it was from me because she knows that’s what I believe and what I try to do.  Before then, I’d never actually thought about what I do, but yeah, I guess so.  What happened to me is this:  I had breast cancer.  I had bilateral mastectomy.  I survived the breast cancer, only to find that surviving mastectomy was more of a problem than I’d expected, and I needed solutions.

Not being able to find the answers elsewhere, I worked on solving the problems for myself.  Because the solutions weren’t easily found, it occurred to me that they should be shared with others who had the same questions I’d had, then they wouldn’t each have to ‘re-invent the wheel’, as people say.  Everyone should have an archive of solutions to go to after mastectomy, then they can discover even more answers to fine tune the basics as time goes on.  Thus was born, www.MastectomySolutions.com, and the end of ‘free time’ as I knew it.  But you know what?  I’d not change a thing. :^)

I’m not wealthy so I couldn’t donate for breast cancer research.  I’m not politically active because I don’t like debating so I wouldn’t feel comfortable lobbying.  I’m just one woman… with a little extra time, who knew how to sew, who can generally find ways to improve things, and who solved a few basic everyday problems common to many of us who had mastectomy.

Over the years, other women liked the idea, and it grew. And grew.  More photos and free patterns (along with detailed instructions) were posted.  Eventually, I even started making microbead breast forms for people who couldn’t sew or didn’t have the time available, for about what it’d have cost them to gather the supplies if they could sew, because it seemed to me that no one should have to be in pain from heavy silicone forms just because they couldn’t sew… nor should they have to do without because they couldn’t afford commercial forms.

What I’d like to do here:  pass along more frequent tips and ‘finds’ (as they come along) in addition to (but in an easier, faster way than) my website… answer questions along the way…and also ask a few myself.  Living comfortably with mastectomy is not a destination, it’s a lifetime journey, with one solution at a time.  It’s easier when women work together, so let’s get started!