She’s never had it herself, but for 25 years, Diane Thomson has shared some of the most frightening and moving moments of women battling breast cancer.
She’s been known to take after-hours appointments at Diane’s Lingerie, her South Granville store, so women can have the privacy they need to be fitted for a bra for the first time after a lumpectomy or mastectomy.
“Many of them have not even looked at their breasts yet when they come to us,” she said. “It (the operation) is a huge shock to their system.”
The removal of a breast can make a woman feel insecure about her femininity, her personal relationships, and her health. In the past, some would simply stuff rolled up washcloths in their old bras, but Thomson said these days, you can’t even tell if a woman is wearing a properly fitted breast form.
“They want to feel like a real woman again, and when they wear their new bra and breast form home, they go out feeling like a million dollars,” Thomson said. “They’ve got their confidence back, and they’re smiling.”
It’s not simply a matter of self-image. If weight isn’t distributed evenly, the shoulder on the side where the breast has been removed can twist inward. “You don’t need to be having back and shoulder problems on top of all of the other things you’re dealing with,” Thomson said firmly.
She will celebrate her quarter-century supporting women with a party tomorrow, and plans to keep going for a few more years yet.