Each day, we speak with women who have battled cancer and are continuing to thrive. Our latest survivor spotlight has a special connection to breast prostheses, and not just because she wears them daily. For Gretchen Anderson Frederking, beating cancer is just one aspect of her life—she is also a Minnesota native, wife of 31 years, and mother to two grown children. Gretchen was able to conquer her breast cancer diagnosis with the help of her experience as a mastectomy fitter, where she … [Read more...]
A year after Ellen Eddings discovered she had breast cancer in her right breast, after 33 rounds of chemotherapy and radiation at the University of Chicago Medical Center, an irregularity was discovered in her left breast.
“I had a bilateral mastectomy in February of 2003,” Ellen said. “I thought, why me?” Her bilateral reconstruction failed on the right side, and after three surgeries she was at a low point. But a special nurse helped her through the worst of her ordeal, and her four sisters, all from Arkansas, traveled to Chicago to welcome her home from the hospital.
For the next nine years, Ellen made do with off-the-shelf breast forms. She hid behind loose tops, heavy jackets and scarves. “I had to apply the nipples separately and there was often a problem with slippage,” she said. “My breasts looked uneven, and I thought people were noticing.”
The chair of the Curriculum and Instruction Division of the School of Education at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff learned about ContourMed customized breast forms in early 2012. “I called and immediately set up an appointment for a scan at the ContourMed office,” Ellen said. “They were very customer-service focused and set up the scan around my schedule. Within a few weeks of my appointment, I had my ContourMed breast forms. I am totally in love with them – I just put them on and go.”
Ellen’s thousand-watt smile beams when she talks about her life today. She plays racquetball and shoots hoops with her younger son when he’s home from college. She even wore her ContourMed breast forms during a bath at a Hot Springs spa.
“I feel like myself again. I feel attractive,” Ellen said. “One of my students told me, ‘Something about you is different…you look brighter.’”