Well. Now that I’ve got your attention with the visual equivalent of shouting, “BOOBS!!!”…let’s chat.
Did you know that many insurance companies cover the cost of post-mastectomy bras? Yeah – I didn’t either, of course, until I had to. A “post-mastectomy bra” is a rather vague label, covering everything from bras with built in pockets for a prothesis (think chicken cutlets) to compression garments used to ease the pain after surgery. Or even…and this is not well known…. a regular bra, sized to fit your new cup size after your bout with breast cancer. However you chose to use this insurance benefit is up to you (my insurance covered two). I skipped the prothesis – my reconstructive surgery was done so quickly after my mastectomy – but I would’ve missed out on the other options available if it weren’t for the caring and helpful staff at Nordstrom.
Nordstrom’s lingerie department will fit for a prothesis (if that’s the route you choose), help you select a bra to go with the prothesis, and actually convert regular bras to post-mastectomy bras so you aren’t stuck with something big and matronly. (And if you think nursing bras are fugly, you CAN’T EVEN IMAGINE what some of the “real” post-mastectomy bras look like.) Additionally, they’ll help you through the insurance spiderweb, and when they can, submit all paperwork for you.
The days after my mastectomy were some of my darkest. Like seriously so much pain – it was nuts. Words cannot express how thankful I was for the support and hand-holding Nordstrom provided to my overwhelmed self. They were able to get me out of my scratchy and stiff hospital-issued compression bra (don’t worry – I did wear it for the required time period) and into a silky soft Spanx contraption that was both comfortable on my scarred chest, yet still offered the binding I needed for my bruised ribs. Since none of my bras fit (seriously NONE), they also helped me select a pretty little bralette for once I no longer needed the compression.
These benefits are available to most post-mastectomy patients – even the ones that choose not to go the prothesis route. But here’s the secret: You must have a prescription from your doctor for a prothesis and associated bras. Spread the word. It’s not like the insurance companies send out helpful letters, spelling out your benefits. (They SHOULD.) Quite frankly, the best thing to do (if you find yourself in a post-mastectomy situation) is to simply call your local Nordstrom. Depending on your insurance, they’ll be able to guide you through the whole process, tell you exactly what your prescription must be for (Medicaid, for example, requires certain phrasing and dates), and then schedule a time for you to come in.
Nordstrom reached out and asked me to cover their upcoming “We Heart a Great Fit” event. For every bra from the Featured Brands purchased online (Sept 29 – Oct 27) or at the in-store event (Oct 24 – 25), Nordstrom and the Featured Brands will donate $2 to the Young Survival Coalition, a non-profit supporting young women with breast cancer.
I’ve mentioned before how shocked I was to find that I wasn’t alone – a staggeringly large number of women under 40 have been diagnosed with breast cancer. The Young Survival Coalition tries to help us all navigate through these emotional waters with our sanity intact, and – my personal favorite – is working to focus research more heavily on breast cancer in young women.
The brands participating in the We Heart a Great Fit Event are: Wacol, Chantelle, Natori, Betsey Johnson, On Gossamer, Calvin Klein, DKNY, Eveden, Panache, Yummie by Heather Thompson, and Honeydew. Here’s a link to all of the bras in the We Heart a Great Fit Event.
But the side benefit of participating in the in-store event? BRA FITTING.
We do what we gotta do, Mike and I.
Nordstrom’s bra fitting experience is pretty awesome. First, they measure your band size (not typically over your clothes, but OBVIOUSLY THE PICTURE), and then they eyeball your cup size. They only massage your breasts if absolutely necessary.
Joke. I’m joking!!! No, Nordstroms does not feel you up as part of the bra fit experience. They measure the band, then bring in a few different cup sizes to try on until you get the perfect fit.
Here’s my perfect fit. And a few of my favs currently in-store. Aren’t they pretty??
sweatshirt: Wildfox Sporty Schoolgirl Sweatshirt (size S)
boots: Marc Jacobs – oh no! Gone! Try DV’s analee bootie for something similar.
bra: doesn’t seem to be available online…but this gorgeous red bra by Wacol is close.
Pax wanted in on the action. That boy. I can always count on him to play dress up. He spent all weekend cruising around in his spiderman costume, his ninja sword….and my high heels. #fistbump #awesome
Raines did NOT want in on the action. But then I was like, “Come on, buddy! It’ll be FUNNY. It’s for breast cancer!!” and he rolled his eyes like some teenager and was all, “OK MOM. But only for YOU.”
My little partner in crime.
Not sure what’s going on with Pax…but he’s cracking me up. In any case, after our family bra fitting (#wordsthatshouldnevergotogether) we took the kids to the Nordstrom cafe where they behaved perfectly and sat through a nice lunch with no roughhousing whatsoever.
HA. About 2 minutes after this pic, we were like, “sinking ship!! abandon!! abandon!!”
It was actually a pretty fun day. Mike’s enthusiasm for the topic in general (BOOBS) certainly helped. His art direction was especially creative, I thought. Perhaps you’ll agree?
“Babe, give me a shimmy-shimmy-shimmy…WHAT.”
Just for funsies, here are a few of my favorite bras.
As always, all thoughts, opinions, product choices, and shots at insurance companies are my own.