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13 Tips for Giving Lymphedema People a Fashion Makeover

May 21, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 154

So often those of us who struggle with post-mastectomy issues or lymphedema search far and wide to find clothing that makes us look more appealing, and thus enhances our sense of self-worth. Lymphedema is a lifelong swelling of a limb or the trunk that needs to be controlled to avoid infection, further swelling, and complications.

While we are usually far more aware of our perceived flaws than anyone else, we still desire to feel confident in our appearance. It's a way to regain control over what has happened to us, to make us feel good about ourselves. Here are some fashion tips to renew our sense of attractiveness, whether we've had a lumpectomy or mastectomies, or deal daily with lymphedema:

  • Wear tops with built-in bras for prostheses, or go without, depending on your mood and your figure.
  • Don tops with a higher neckline if you are concerned about scars from catheter ports.
  • Invest in camisoles that can be worn under lower-cut garments. Now available are camisole dickeys that can be snapped onto bra straps. These detachable shirt-fronts offer a sense of modesty without providing another layer of clothing on hot days.
  • Make use of tops with long or loose sleeves and pants with pantaloon legs for comfort and to disguise swollen arms and legs.
  • Sport a broom skirt with bright colors to disguise legs if you have leg lymphedema.
  • Choose bright tops if you have leg lymphedema, to turn attention away from lower extremities.
  • Pick out attractive pants, capris or shorts if you have arm lymphedema, to turn attention away from upper extremities.
  • Take advantage of clothing with dark asymmetric or patterned designs to distract the eye.
  • Splurge on post-mastectomy underwear and nightwear, if desired.
  • Use accessories (purses, scarves, jewelry, shawls, ponchos, comfort belts) that take the focus away from form-fitting garments.
  • Find comfortable shoes and boots that are fashion designed.
  • Apply makeup to draw attention to attractive features of your face.
  • Finally, and most importantly, wear a smile. It will brighten up anyone's day. It will tell people you are approachable and friendly. It speaks of an inner beauty that can't be defeated.

Many companies exist to help with clothing challenges for those with post-mastectomy issues or lymphedema. Examples include Cast Clothing Co., Holy Clothing, and Pink Ribbon Lingerie. Just type "fashion clothing/shoes and lymphedema/lymphedema" into your search engine to find a wealth of information. Also, you can join discussion forums and support groups through Facebook, other social networks, and online support websites to exchange ideas.

The bottom line? We are gorgeous regardless of what clothes we wear. Our battle scars define who we are. With so many options and resources available, we now have the freedom to choose whether to disguise our scars or let them be a statement that can benefit others if they ask. We have the final say.

For tips on breast cancer survival and management of lymphedema, visit Jan Hasak's Web site at http://www.janhasak.com/. Jan Hasak is author of two books on breast cancer: "Mourning Has Broken: Reflections on Surviving Cancer" and "The Pebble Path: Returning Home from a Forest of Shadows." A blogger and speaker, Jan Hasak volunteers for the American Cancer Society and serves as breast cancer and lymphedema patient-advocate with the National Lymphedema Network. She also serves on the Board of the Lymphedema Advocacy Group to lobby U.S. Congress on a bill to pay for lymphedema garments and other devices.

Source: EzineArticles
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