Guest blog by Jamie Pribyl
Due to being BRCA1+, I recently had a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy with immediate DIEP FLAP reconstruction. This means there is a VERY LARGE scar across my abdomen. Some people say "Wear it like a warrior!" "Your scars show your bravery!" Trust me, I am not ashamed of my scars. I am happy to show them to anyone who wants to see them. But a couple problems with showing them off in a swimsuit.
Number one: My scars are still healing, and they are dark. I have olive skin, so my scars will tend to be darker than women with lighter skin shades. Exposing them to the sun will only darken them further.
Number two: Staring. I don't want people staring at me wondering why I have such a large scar across my abdomen. I don't mind talking to people about it, I actually like to educate people on their options for breast reconstruction, but I just don't want people being afraid to ask me and just keep wondering. Also, I don't want my scars to have to be the topic of conversation EVERY time I am at the beach.
I have to admit though... I have always been very self-conscious about my stomach. I have always been on the thinner side, but no matter how hard I worked, I always had a little belly "pooch." I don't expect my body to be perfect. I have had two kids and I am proud that I have carried them. I love real women in bikinis, and flaunting what they got. And I always wore a bikini anyway, I just always felt my body was slightly un-proportioned because my belly was bigger than the rest, and to be perfectly honest I got VERY tired of people asking me if I was pregnant.
So that was a little bonus for me with this surgery. I got a flat tummy out of it! I would love to show off my tight little tummy in a bathing suit. But now I have this large scar.... so I think, maybe I can get a cute one piece swimsuit? Will I have to special order a custom made swimsuit? I started looking at bikini online stores, but I just wasn't sure if the bottoms would cover my scars, or if they were high wasted bikinis, if they would look good on me. I always wore low rise bikinis before...
So I started looking around. I really like the high waisted cheeky bikini bottoms. I saw a couple online, and just wasn't sure if they would fit my new bod.
I thought of someone locally that makes fabulous bikinis. Her name is Ali Conway and she owns Strange Bikinis. I LOVE her bikini swimsuits!!! They are made of the softest material, and the fabric is organic and biodegradable. And like I said, she is local, and I love supporting local small business. She has totally unique bathing suits, and I love this one because it's totally stylish, I can chase my kids around in it, and it doesn't feel like I'm going to flash anyone. The top is secure, and like I said, the fabric is VERY soft. This is helpful because my skin is still pretty sensitive. Even though I am numb around my scars, its kind of hypersensitive at the same time and can get very irritable with courser fabrics. I like the feel, and that it is a functional bikini for my lifestyle with kids. The high wasted bottoms cover my scar, and have a cute design in the back so I don't feel like I am wearing granny-pannies. So go check out Ali's website at strangebikinis.com if you like my swimsuit and you can get one of your own!
As far as the surgery, I am still healing. We took the boat out with the kids and putted around. I still don't feel comfortable skiing or wake-boarding, which is a bummer because I LOVE being behind the boat. But on this day, we just went to Washoe Lake because it's close to the house and it doesn't take up our entire day. We had the entire beach to ourselves which is awesome! The kids played in the water and we had a great day.
I may not be back to full function yet, but I can spend time with my family which is all that matters to me.