Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A New Use For the Lowly Tissue

For those of us who choose to wear breast forms after a mastectomy, perspiration behind the forms can be a problem. It only gets worse during warm weather, and hot flashes don't help, either. After years of experimenting with various types of silicone and non-silicone breast forms, as well as different pocketed bras and camisoles, I've found help from an unlikely source — a simple Kleenex* tissue.

When I was first fitted with silicone forms, I noticed something curious. The right side of my chest, which had been treated with radiation, didn't get hot underneath the new forms. But the left side was a different story. Although I don't normally perspire much, the un-radiated side became hot and sticky within a few hours. Apparently, radiation had destroyed the ability of my right side to perspire, but no such luck with my un-radiated left side.

I went on a quest to discover a breast form or a pocketed garment or a combination of the two that would create a comfortable, sweat-free environment. I tried silicone forms, like the Amoena Energy, that are designed to minimize perspiration. They helped a little, but didn't get rid of the problem. As for bras and camisoles, while some pocket fabrics felt better than others, none prevented me from perspiring. I even tried cotton pads designed to soak up perspiration under the arm, as well as nursing pads. I found both uncomfortable and even itchy against my skin.

I soon realized that non-silicone forms were the least likely to cause perspiration. I wore foam forms while hiking and during other strenuous exercise and they worked wonderfully, especially when I used them in a soft pocketed garment like the Still You camisole. But even when wearing foam forms, I would occasionally sweat behind the form and might even get a heat rash on a hot day or after exerting myself. Once I had a rash, I had to be extra-careful to keep the area cool. That's when I turned to my Kleenex tissue box.

I reasoned that with a tissue next to my skin, if I began sweating I could remove the damp tissue and replace it with a dry one, thereby preventing further irritation to my chest. Even if I were out and about, all I had to do was have an extra tissue or two with me. I tried out the idea and it worked!

I simply folded a plain Kleenex tissue (not one with lotion added) in half, then again in thirds, and placed it just above the band of my bra or camisole. Even when I wore an unpocketed bra, the tissue didn't move around. And I found that, in addition to absorbing perspiration beautifully, the tissue fiber felt soft and silky against my skin. Who would have thought? And, even better, my rashes seemed to go away much more quickly.

Still, for a long time I resisted using tissues against my skin regularly, and only resorted to them if my skin felt irritated or rashy. But this summer, I've finally embraced the concept and, to my delight, the lowly Kleenex tissue has kept me cool and dry, even on some very hot days. And since I've started using tissues on a daily basis, I haven't had a single heat rash. It may seem like an inelegant solution, but for me it's been an effective one. Hopefully, it will be for you, too.

*I've recommended Kleenex tissues because when I've tried other, less expensive brands, I've found them too abrasive. 

4 comments:

  1. I found that the knitted breast forms on eBay solve the problem. Plus they are soft and squish nicely with a hug or during push-ups. Polly, who knits them, will make them in the material of your choice. She knitted me some turquoise washable wool ones. Just ask her for your favorite material and color before you order. And ask her to leave the stuffing separate so you can put in the amount you want. http://www.ebay.com/itm/360378520023?_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649

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  2. Knitted forms can be very nice, and definitely soft. I've heard from a number of women who love them. I've tried them and my main complaint is that, while soft, they often look lumpy (you can see the yarn pattern), unless worn in a very molded bra. For those of us who like to wear fitted tees, that can be a problem. But they're definitely a solution worth exploring. I have tried Tit-Bits (http://www.titbits.ca/v1/tb_shop.html), which made me very nice cotton-yarn forms.

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  3. Hi Ladies
    I love this site! Women like me, yippie!! I lost both of my breasts ten months ago. I knew early on reconstruction was not for me. Last week I kicked my prosthetic boobs to the curb. I switched to a genie bra and it works fine for me. I work in construction as a Safety Manager and I got some funny looks from the forty men I work with daily. They now understand why I had no hair in April. The prosthetics were just too hot and were retaining heat. I am much more comfortable at work. I was practically a D cup with the prosthetics. I'm less than an A with the Genie bra but it was worth it. I refer to my prosthetic boobs as my winter boobs!
    Swimming cracks me up because I keep thinking the water is going to be cold on my chest and then I remember that will never be a problem again! I'm so streamlined these days when I swim! I thought floating might be a problem and was happy to learn I can still float. It's the little things.

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  4. Thanks for this wonderful site, Barbara -- and I definitely will check out your blog at breastcancer.org. Was so delighted to find the breastfree.org site at three this morning. Two docs are pressuring me to opt for reconstruction with a unilateral mastectomy if the THIRD attempt to excise an indolent, unlikely-to-turn-into-cancer EPC (a rare type of DCIS) fails this Monday. The more I look at the facts of reconstruction, the more it looks like a complication waiting to happen. SO relieved to find reassurance that going boob-free is not so horrible after all, and the resources posted at breastfree.org.

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