Four years ago today, December 1, 2006, I was undergoing a 10-hour preventive double mastectomy with reconstruction. I am choosing this special anniversary to share a gem I recently discovered, a cancer recovery boutique for women undergoing cancer treatment, as well as long-term breast cancer survivors.
Second Act in Chicago, IL, is an amazing place. Downtown Chicago’s only accredited cancer recovery boutique, Second Act offers post-breast surgery garments, such as specialty bras and prostheses, as well as a nice selection of wigs, hats, and scarves.
Customers complete an online Pre-Visit Registration Form and set up an appointment with Certified Mastectomy Fitter and shop owner Pattie Cagney Sheehan. Pattie spends ample time with each client in a private fitting room.
I’m focusing this posting on the bra experience because quality bra-fitting services for women who have had lumpectomies and/or mastectectomies are exceedingly rare. It is common for women who have gone through such trauma to have body image issues, which include feeling disfigured. To add insult to injury, these women often have a really difficult time finding a bra that will meet their unique post-surgical needs.
So many undergarment retailers claim they know how to fit us in a proper bra, but they don’t. To my horror, I have found some unsavory businesses who lie about their offerings. I’ve gone into bra specialty shops with great reputations, only to be asked “What’s a mastectomy?” and “We can’t help you here.” It’s a humbling, humiliating experience that has caused me to leave such shops in tears.
So imagine my pleasant surprise during my appointment with Pattie, someone who perfectly understood my needs exactly and worked tirelessly and in privacy during our one-hour appointment to find the perfect bra and prosthesis for my particular body. For the first time in a long time, I felt empowerment, nurtured, and felt a huge boost of self-esteem. And Pattie treats her clients with great respect and dignity.
And here’s another great fact that many would-be clients may not know about. Second Act is under contract as an in-network provider with Blue Cross Blue Shield PPO and Aetna/Cofinity PPO programs. Most post-surgery items are covered by Medicare and/or private insurance for women recently diagnosed, as well as long-term survivors. A physician’s prescription is required.
And I would be remiss if I didn’t gush about the ambience of the waiting area of the shop. Located as a shop within Flourish Studios’ shop, the atmosphere is serene, empowering, optimistic, and supportive. Friendly staff offer you free hot chocolate and hot tea in nice cups while you can sit on comfy chairs or couches (see photo below) and wait for your appointment. I felt so pampered!
The store has a variety of self-help, holistic-oriented books and is filled with beautiful gallery-displayed artwork, cards, jewelry, and crafts — many of them with inspirational sayings — and available for purchasing. (See photo below.) There’s also a children’s section with interesting and fun children’s books and toys for purchasing.
If you are looking for a stellar cancer recovery boutique, please contact Pattie at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 773-525-2228, and feel free to visit the company’s website at http://www.secondactchicago.com/.
If you don’t live in Chicago, you can also plan a vacation to this beautiful city and set up an appointment with Second Act. It is well-worth the trip.
|Calm ambience in the waiting area|