I sometimes wonder if I had had a female surgeon, if she would have cut my clavicle right where a bra strap would go, as is the case. I feel like she would have had the sense to cut it back further or pull the whole thing out. Besides having a pointy, sensitive spot right in the middle of the top of my shoulder, hanging anything on it fatigues it. And despite the fact that July 11 has come and gone, I’m still having trouble with bra straps under my left arm, where the chemical burn was the worst. For every day that I wear a bra I have to go two days without.
The thing is, if I want to return to my normal active life, I’m going to need support (other than the usual excellent friends and neighbors, but thanks).
Strapless bras are nigh useless, constantly sliding down. Corsets, on the other hand, have rigid struts in them, boning, which extend far enough down to provide support from the hips. So I visited Mr. Hoss of Hoss International in the fashion district. I had emailed him about my situation, and he wanted to see me right away, before he left for Paris for a month for his fashion show (OMG LA you guys). We tried on a couple sizes, and I learned some surprising things.
1) I could breathe fine. The corsets that have the bad rap for making people faint are extreme examples.
2) Holy crap, it evened out my shoulders. My left shoulder sags. A lot. I can sort of even them out by pulling my shoulder blades way back and letting my right arm hang down, but I can only do it for about 5 minutes. Carrying your own arm around all the time is exhausting. But the corset comfortably supported the shoulder blade from underneath, making it even with the other one with no added effort on my part. It was a miracle.
3) When the surgeon told me they were taking the lattisimus on my left side to wrap the endoprosthesis, he claimed I wouldn’t miss it. This was yet another in a series of bad pieces of information. I hella miss it. The lower back fatigue on the left is substantial. But guess what? With the corset, it disappears!
I spoke with Mr. Hoss at length while wearing one of his corsets and nearly forgot it was on. When I took it off, it was like somebody had switched gravity back on. The shoulder sagged, the back slumped, and everything was awful.
In conclusion, they are not underwear. They are necessary prosthetic devices. I neeeed them.
They are also a serious investment and difficult to wash, which is why I decided to use them as outerwear. Rather than frilly or lacy, imagine a feminine waistcoat sort of look. Knowing of my friend Robin’s experience in making custom clothes, I asked if she was interested in designing a corset with me and she was!
Unfortunately, corsets are difficult to get into, mostly lacing in the back. So we’re looking at designs that I can manage myself, maybe even one that laces in the front.
Since we’re designing this puppy from scratch, I’ve been thinking about the fabric. This is an opportunity to express my new commitment to writing and illustrating, so I drew the paisley dragon as part of a fabric design that will include stylized spaceships too. I’m going to wear it to scifi/fantasy writing conferences.
I might also need to start wearing boots. Because corsets.
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