Let’s Talk About the Girls
One of the best things to happen upon my diagnosis in 2016 was my doctor permitting me to eliminate my bra. I couldn’t have been happier.
I had been wearing one since I was nine years old. Even then, I was large-breasted and had what was called a pigeon chest, a chest wall deformity where there was an overgrowth of the cartilage between the ribs and the sternum, causing the middle of the chest to stick out and making my breasts appear even bigger.
My mother bought me a bra to stop being teased about this at school. It never fit correctly and was the most uncomfortable thing I ever wore.
Getting older and my changing body
The bra became even more uncomfortable as I aged, and my body dimensions changed. There is nothing worse than trying to breathe with an elastic band binding your chest.
After a long day, I would come in the front door, and the bra was the first thing to go.
By the time I was 60 years old, I was done and gladly threw out all my good bras. So now, after not wearing a bra for six years, my breasts have succumbed to gravity.
They are hanging down pretty low now.
Searching for the perfect bra
I saw a meme on Facebook that said, "Go Braless. It will pull the wrinkles out of your face." But it didn’t work that way for me!
Now, I was on the hunt for a bra that was comfortable enough and didn’t restrict my breathing.
This is not an easy feat, considering my requirements. I needed something that would cover and be snug enough to support and yet not so snug it would restrict my breathing.
My pigeon chest, so large and rounded, has turned into a barrel chest, a common problem for those of us who suffer from COPD.
Barrel chest is a visible symptom of COPD, emphysema, osteoarthritis, and cystic fibrosis. The lungs fill with air and are unable to breathe out fully.
This gives the chest a pronounced barrel shape. The treatment of barrel chests focuses on managing symptoms of the underlying condition and limiting the extent of lung damage.
Shopping during the pandemic is a bit troublesome. Many stores are closed, and many more have gone out of business.
Online shopping doesn’t work with intimate apparel like bras because there are no returns. It is a trial-and-error process to find out what worked for me, and I am stuck with what I purchase.
Attempting to find the right fit
We all know that hindsight is 20/20, and in hindsight, I should have been more practical about what I ordered. The first bra was so tight that I lost my breath, so I ordered a slightly bigger size. It was a little better but still not perfect.
My 3rd attempt was the charm. This size worked better for me.
I was shocked at how big it was and never imagined ordering this size, but it works. It is still not a comfortable garment, and I don’t do it every day, but on the days that I do, I feel just a bit more normal.
Now I own a variety of sizes of the same bra.
Do you have a COPD caregiver?