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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Prosthesis

If my friend Chrissy hadn't sent me her own prosthesis (I've nicknamed it 'Dolly') for my use, it's likely I will never have got around to it. I've been making do with Dolly and, when lazy, I have to admit to making do with a rolled up bedrock - or a bunch of tissues as I did when caught short recently.

But today, I take myself to the Women's Wellbeing Centre in Greenslopes where I have an appointment with a lady called Carol Martin.

A former Occupational Therapist, Carol specialises in post-mastectomy fittings of prostheses and bras.

Having lost any real interest in the shape or presentation of my tits of late, the truth is I wouldn't have bothered except for the fact that I have a voucher from the Chicks in Pink entitling me to two bras up to the value of $160. Who can walk past a freebie I ask you?

There's also the fact that Chrissy's bras have done some heavy duty boulder holding, so they're a little the worse for wear. That, and I'm not sure if they're the right size. (From an overhead point of view, it's difficult to gauge).

My appointment's at 12.30 pm and right on time, I overshoot Carol's shop on my first attempt as it's located on Logan Road, so close to the intersection with a side street that it's easy to overlook.

In the end, a little hot and bothered, I do get there and find her office is located in a small centre.

I'm not really sure what to expect and find myself sitting in a nicely appointed professional suite.

I thumb vaguely through a 'Madison' magazine but have forgotten my glasses so that's useless. I wonder around the small space flicking through some brochures. (Hmm, 'Exercises for Arthritis'. I wonder if that's the next fabulous thing on my future health agenda).

A short while later, Carol comes out to greet me and I am met by a voluptuous lady dressed in a hot pink dress and with lovely shoulder-length blonde hair. (Any hair is lovely to me these days. Even Donald Trump's rug).

I follow her into a small room where I see a range of boxes containing prostheses I realise, and some bras displayed on a small rack.

When Carol asks me to take off my top, I somewhat embarrassedly confess that I have been using a second-hand prosthesis as I reveal one of Chris's old bras.

(As it turns out, I will walk out of here with the same bra but in my size and doing a better job of containing Paris who seems intent on popping out of nearly all the bras I try on. Ooh, she's a wild one alright).

First up, Carol attempts to find a matching prosthesis and part of my brain realises this was not on my agenda. Dolly's been doing me fine and these bastards are not exactly cheap.

Still, in Australia, Medicare provides a rebate of $400 for a breast prosthesis which means I will be out of pocket by only a few dollars (relatively speaking) if at all. So why not! (Besides, I'm too ashamed to admit I'm a cheapskate. It's that hair. It's so damn glamorous.)

Then Carol gets to work. She puts a lovely cream-coloured bra on me then produces a prosthesis that is, she says, very pert and sticks up a little. However, it seems smaller an a bit too perky next to Paris. Not a great match.

I am allowed to handle a couple of different varieties and note that they are substantially lighter than Dolly. (She's climate-controlling but so heavy I'm sure she'd be a rather fine bludgeoning tool).

Throughout this process, Carol comments on my buxom shape enough times so I gather it's noteworthy. (Inwardly, I sigh. How many times have I heard these kinds of comments. Okay, I get it. I have BIG BOOBS).

In the end, I select a Size 8 which is lighter than Dolly (a size 7) although it doesn't have her thermal properties.

Next it's onto the bras.

I can report that the process of fitting a bra onto a lopsided chest is an onerous task, requiring substantial wiggling as it is so important to properly centre the garment.

At some stage, one is also required to grab the remaining boob and kind of shake it, much as, say, a dog might worry a bone, so that it sits correctly inside the bra cup.

I can also report that on insertion of a prosthesis, the remaining breast is thrown into relief, its oozing fattiness emphasised. My cup really does overfloweth.

As well, it's a trap for the unwary that a missing breast can create an unsightly 'cleavage' that most post-mastectomy women strive desperately to hide. So some bras are quite unsuitable because when you bend over, it's not exactly your 'Swimsuit Illustrated' look.

That's why, we mastectomised mummas rely on the overall sizzle of the bra to divert one's eyes away from the all too obvious thing that stares you in the eye - this girl is titless.

And so, after parting with $435 of which $400 will be returned, courtesy of the exorbitant taxes I pay, I leave Carol Martin with a new breast in place.

To the untrained eye, to all intents and purpose, I am a whole, not a half where the Boobsie Twins are concerned.

The ghost of Nicky has risen in a triangle of silicon that's shoved inside my bra and sits tamed as the real Nicky would not have allowed herself to be tamed.

This one sits where it's put and refuses to budge. It comes out when I require it too. It does not sag or wobble. There is nothing 'come hither' about this baby. At least, I don't think so.

I should be glad but a bit part of me is missing Nicky.

She may have made an unsightly boob of herself from time to time but really, that girl had personality.

I don't get it you know. Why so many women seek that silicone enhancement.

Who could possibly want plastic, this dead and lifeless shape, when you have the real thing?

Love what you have, ladies. You might think it's not much but from here, even your pancakes are looking pretty fine to me.

Remember, a beautiful chest is a cancer-free chest.

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