Jennifer Gibbons Bosom Buddy Post

Breast reconstruction is not easy on the body or mind. It’s a very emotional decision to make. You spend many hours researching all of your options. You agonize over the choices of procedures and which doctor will be right for you. It is a grueling process all the while feeling like a ticking time bomb.

Once I decided on the right doctor and procedure, a surgery date was set for me. Next it was time to plan. Who’s going to take care of the kids? How long should I take off work? What should I pack for the hospital? What am I going to look like? How am I going to deal with the pain, the drains and stay sane? It was a checklist of planning and worry that seemed never-ending.

The time that I had emotionally prepared for finally arrived. My surgery was more than 10 hours. The next thing I knew, it was over. My body as I have always known it was forever changed. The next few days were tough. It felt as though I had been hit by a truck.

After 5 days in the hospital, I was finally get discharged and loaded into the backseat of the car with a large bed pillow between me and the seat belt. I was instructed to ride in the backseat for the first couple of weeks to protect the incisions, drains and the new tissue in my breasts. This isn’t too much of a big deal because for the first few weeks you really don’t feel like doing much especially getting out and about. The main goal is rest and healing.

However, after a few weeks, I became stir crazy. Once I was released to drive, I was ready to go! The first time out I gingerly sat in the car and fastened my seatbelt, but quickly learned that the strap between the girls on top of painful incisions was going to be a no go! I had to find a solution quick! So, I called in help - my mother-in-law, Carolyn! She is amazing at crafting and sewing, so I knew she was the right one to help solve this new-found problem. There are items online that could work, but it wasn’t exactly what I wanted, so we decided to create a prototype and go from there. It started out as a simple design and with a few tweaks the perfect solution was created - the Bosom Buddy.

It made such a difference in comfort for me that I wanted to share with others. So, Carolyn and her awesome quilt group, Carolina Pine Quilters, got busy to make more to give to other ladies who are now journeying down the breast reconstruction path. They also called in the help of Annie Unrein with, who generously donated the padding that creates the perfect barrier between seat belt and breast. Annie and her team have now created an official pattern for the Bosom Buddy and will be posting it on their website for anyone who wants to make these for ladies in their community. How cool and kind is that!?

After multiple surgeries over the past 24 months, I can now say that I am officially healed and able to move on to the next chapter. The main reason for my decision to have this surgery was to reduce my risk of breast and ovarian cancer by 80% and the terrific news is that I have achieved that goal! I am so thankful for my amazing medical team who has held my hand along the way and for my family and friends who have It is now my mission to help others through this process. And with Carolyn, Carolina Pine Quilters, and we will be able to help many others be comfortable as they journey on.

Note: Patients who have had heart, thoracic, or abdominal surgery will also find these beneficial. It can be wrapped around the shoulder belt or lap belt.