The last month or so has thankfully been uneventful since Loraine finally healed from her radiation treatment burns and the subsequent infection. It has been quite nice to be able to catch a breath for a change. All I can say is the last year has been quite the eye opening and learning experience that I would wish on no one. I seriously doubt there is any way an individual, or their loved ones, can ever fully wrap their minds around all that comes with a breast cancer diagnosis. As much as the health care professionals might try to prepare you for all in which you will face, they cannot cover everything. God bless them, I know they do try…
New Breast Prosthesis!
Yesterday morning, Loraine finally received her first breast prosthesis along with three special made bras to go with them. This was a good mental uplift for her since it allows her figure to look more natural and she has always enjoyed wearing pretty under garments. She seemed to be happier than she has been for quite some time now. I know it helped to give me an uplift to hear the happiness in her voice when she called after leaving the boutique to let me know she had got them.
Undergoing a double mastectomy is huge ordeal for a woman to have to go through. While there are procedures for reconstruction afterwards, I am glad Loraine chose to not go through with it. She has been through enough with the staph infection after her surgery and then the burns and radio-necrosis that came with her radiation treatments. If she were to choose to change her mind about reconstruction, I would obviously support her. But that being said, I personally do not want her to go through any more surgical procedures after all the complications following her mastectomy. If she is happy with prosthesis, then so am I.
Ladies, if you are unsure before your mastectomy if you want reconstruction or prosthesis, I would recommend you meet with a professional fitter to talk about the fitting process and look at some samples of breast forms and mastectomy bras. There are a lot of options out there, and looking at some of the choices may help you decide if wearing a prosthetic is something you would like to do. Breast forms are custom-designed for most women. They can be made from several different types of materials, such as silicone gel, foam, or fiberfill, to create something that has a similar weight and feel to a natural breast. It’s important to choose a professional fitter who has had specific training in how to fit breast prosthetics.
You can also:
- Talk with other survivors who wear a prosthetic, or visit some online message boards if you don’t know anyone who wears a form.
- Weigh the pros and cons of reconstructive surgery versus a prosthetic. If you can, get a few consults from different plastic surgeons to find out what kind of surgical options might be right for you.
How much do breast prosthesis cost?
As you will see below, there is quite a spread on the costs. Loraine’s cost $700 for a pair of prosthesis along with 3 special bras with pockets the prosthesis fit inside of. Our insurance will pay for most all of this expense thank god.
- For patients with health insurance, out-of-pocket costs typically consist of doctor visit copays and coinsurance of 10%-50%. Under the Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act , health insurance plans that cover mastectomy must also cover a prosthesis. For example, BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina covers external breast prostheses when they are medically necessary. Insurance plans typically cover replacement of a prosthesis every few years.
- For patients without health insurance, a breast prosthesis can cost about $15 to more than $500 each, or, for a patient who has had a double mastectomy, under $30 to more than $1,000 for a pair. A basic prosthesis made of foam tends to be priced at the lower end of the range, and a silicone prosthesis falls in the middle. A “contact,” or adhesive prosthesis, which sticks directly to the skin rather than being held in the pouch of a mastectomy bra, tends to cost the most. (1)
Some non-profits offer financial assistance for prosthetic breasts. For example, the All4One Alliance has programs that provide up to $300 per year toward a prosthetic breast and $100 a year toward a post-mastectomy garment. Be sure to explore all of your options, especially if you live on a limited budget.
The upcoming drug trial Loraine is participating in.
About the time that Loraine was finished with her radiation treatments, one of her doctors suggested she participate in a drug trial. My first reaction of hearing trial was one of absolute dread, I was picturing that there was nothing further that could be done for my beautiful wife. But, this was not the case at all.
Yes, she is participating in a five year trial. But it is not a trial for a cure, it is one to see if a certain common drug taken each day has any effect on the cancer returning. She was chosen to participate because her breast cancer had spread to a lymph node. She will either receive the drug or a placebo for the duration of the study. I back her on participating because this study may lead to something that helps others in the future. Since her diagnosis, we have been all about wanting to help others with their battles. The telling of her story, our story in this struggle is a labor of love. If we can help others, we will have completed the mission which God has lead us to accomplish.
God bless, thank you for reading and be well!