A few months ago at my support group meeting I was declared the winner of the “prize no one wanted.”
What was the prize you might ask?
Well, it was a bathing suit of all things. And not just any bathing suit, a mastectomy bathing suit, one to be worn with or without prosthetic inserts.
Just want I
always never wanted, a mastectomy bathing suit.
Even back in my younger days, when I looked “alright” in a bathing suit, I didn’t much care for them. First of all, I never really learned to swim very well. I did take a few swimming lessons as a Girl Scout and for a summer or two when I visited my grandparents, but I never really “took to the water.”
When you can’t swim very well, don’t sunbathe because you have very fair skin and generally don’t care to parade around in a bathing suit, there’s never a great desire to shop for one, wear one or much less win one.
But win one I did!
Anyway, back to the meeting…
At my monthly support group meetings, the first hour is spent on a presentation generally given by an expert on the subject at hand. Topics like recurrence, reconstruction, exercise, finances, and the like are covered. They have been quite informative, plus we are served a light supper while we listen, which is always lovely. The second half of the meeting is devoted to discussion of the evening’s topic or whatever else we choose to talk about.
At this particular meeting a very compassionate “bra fitter” and “prosthesis fitter” spoke about the services her specialty shop provides. She concluded her presentation by generously announcing, “Everyone please be sure to sign up for your chance to win a free bathing suit.”
The prize was displayed on a mannequin at the front of the room. Of course, it looked great on the mannequin.
Glancing around the room I could tell no one was really all that thrilled by this particular prize prospect, me included. None-the-less I signed up. How could I not?
Although, one woman did say, “Absolutely not, I’m not interested.”
She refused to put her name in the jar.
At the end of the meeting when the time came for the winner’s name to be drawn from the glass jar, I somehow knew my name was going to be the one drawn out.
Sure enough, I was right.
My name was announced and I was declared the winner.
Everyone else seemed relieved.
It was the prize no one really wanted.
I didn’t either, but of course, I smiled and said thank you so much. I didn’t want to appear ungrateful, even though I was.
If truth be told, the reason I signed up for the drawing was because since my bilateral mastectomy, I haven’t been able to find a bra I can comfortably wear for more than a few hours at a time. So when this opportunity presented itself, I jumped at it. I wasn’t interested in the bathing suit. No, I was interested in the bras. In addition to the bathing suit, the fitter had also brought along lots of bras for display at our support group meeting.
The bras definitely caught my interest.
Fast forward a couple of months, February to be exact.
Since hubby and I had a vacation planned, I figured what better time to go and retrieve my prize?
So in February I finally got up the gumption to make an appointment to collect my prize. Yes, I actually needed an appointment. Imagine having a bra fitting and bathing suit fitting appointment all rolled into one.
When I arrived at the pharmacy, yes, I said pharmacy, I met my fitter and we proceeded to a large private dressing room actually located in a different building entirely. The dressing room had walls with shelves floor to ceiling holding plastic bins, each filled with bras. I had never seen so many bras in one place.
“What size do you wear?” the fitter asked me.
“I have no idea anymore,” I told her. This reconstructed bosom is still more than a bit of a mystery to me.
“Well, to save time, do you mind if I stay in the room while you’re trying some on?” the fitter asked me.
“No, I don’t mind,” I answered. “Modesty, what’s that?”
We looked a few over; made some choices and then the fitting and trying on began.
However, when it came time to switch to trying on the bathing suits, I bluntly told her in no uncertain terms, “You’ll need to leave now.”
Some things are for my eyes only.
There’s nothing like trying on bathing suits to strike “fear” in the hearts of women, me included.
At the end of my session, I left with three new bras and the “prize no one wanted,” my new mastectomy bathing suit.
The funny thing is now a couple of months later, two of the three bras have been returned; not comfy after all.
As for the bathing suit, I kind of like it – only because it’s really comfortable.
Who would have thought?
As it turns out, I sort of like my “prize that no one wanted.”
I said sort of.
Finally, I just have to share some wise words my friend Sarah, of Being Sarah, said to me when I mentioned my prize that no one wanted.
She said, “Yes, Nancy, the bathing suit is the prize no one wanted, but of course, the real prize no one wanted here is cancer.”
Exactly, Sarah. Exactly.
Have you ever won a prize you didn’t really want?
Have you had difficulty finding comfortable clothing of any kind post-mastectomy?
How do you feel about trying on bathing suits?
Do you attend support group meetings?
Lastly, just for fun, do you call them bathing suits or swimsuits?