Life after a mastectomy can be a difficult journey, and that’s why a Redding business is helping women out with the recovery process.
October Is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and about one in eight women will develop breast cancer during her lifetime. One form of treatment is a mastectomy, where one or both breasts are partially or completely removed.
Tina Zellar is a certified fitter for mastectomy at Forever Woman Boutique in Redding. The boutique is part of Spectrum Prosthetics and Orthotics, specializing in post-mastectomy care. The business offers a wide range of bra styles, bathing suits and even tops that are both feminine and flattering.
“Get rid of that old notion that if you have had a mastectomy you are going to be wearing something like your grandmas bra from the 1940’s and that is not the case,” said Zellar.
For Zellar and her staff, their mission is to create a welcoming environment to help women feel comfortable after they’ve undergone a major operation.
“We have had women be very emotional when they come in, and usually by the time they leave it’s a 180 turnaround and they feel really good and that feels good,” said Zellar, “They get symmetry back or feel like they are a woman again, a lot of them feel a loss after a mastectomy.”
Zellar said that many women feel like hiding after losing both their breasts, they are self conscious and feel incomplete.
“We are able to educate them make them feel good about themselves again and give them hope in a sense,” said Zellar.
As well as a sense that life goes on and they aren’t any different because they now have prosthetic breasts.
“The security they can feel knowing everything is secure and they can fit in like every other woman is important,” said Zellar.
For many women who have been in and out of clinical environments, the boutique is an escape that offers a warm and inviting setting.
“It’s like hey I’m going to go shopping and they bring their girlfriends or husband,” said Zellar.
Part of the recovery process that Zellar enjoys helping out with.
“If you feel like a whole person you go out there with confidence,” said Zellar.
The Forever Woman Boutique is the only full service boutique in Redding and they serve patients from Sacramento to Oregon. The bras and prosthetic breasts are typically covered by most insurance plans and patients do need a physician’s referral.