Shoulder Surgery? Order your bra early….

This is one of my favorite stories ~ and it happened several years ago.  But recently a friend, who is new to my blog, said, “Where’s the Bra Story?”.  Well, I didn’t want to post things that weren’t current, that I hadn’t written TODAY…sorta felt like cheating.  “Oh NO ~ that story makes time stand still” she said.  So, here it is…enjoy!


Everyone knows I’m a big-bosomed girl; that’s not a surprise or a shock.  It is, however, very important to remember that during the reading of this story.

On the eve of my shoulder surgery, it occurred to me that I wouldn’t be able to wear a bra and the likelihood of going out in public during my recovery was high.  I didn’t want to receive pity looks from people because I grew boobs in my stomach, so I rushed to the Internet to purchase a strapless bra.  I chose the prettier of the 2 strapless choices in 38DD that JC Penney had on line.  It arrived on Friday.  Yesterday was the big day I chose to wear it.

This is how I felt like I looked…..only worse!

How To Put On A Strapless Bra With Only One Arm

So, I shower and dry off, a feat within itself.  I get the pretty, clean bra and sling it around my body with the hooks in front of course.  I manage to hook all 5 of the hooks in the middle selection and then proceed to attempt to slide it around so the hooks will be in the back and the cups in the front.  Now, by this time, I’m slightly damp from perspiration because of the effort I’ve exerted so far.  So sliding isn’t exactly easy.  As a matter of fact, the SOB will hardly move at all.   I have to rest with the hooks and cups on my sides, hoping I’ll not have to go out in public like this, which would actually be worse than having boobs in your stomach.

Finally I get it in the correct place but the back is very low from all that wiggling and moving around, so it appears to be a halter back bra.   As I look in the mirror I realize why it hasn’t moved much at all.  To be able to support all that weight without straps, they were required to put as much wire and as many seams in the bra as possible.  It looks like a freakin’ glider plane with the wings directly under my arms.  It is actually standing on it’s own and I bet if I didn’t have it on, it would still stand on it’s own.  So after this realization, I try to move it around a bit, fitting things where they should go.  I then realize it’s too loose and isn’t as comfy as I hope.  I begin to move it back around to change the hooks.

After only 10 minutes of moving, wiggling, tugging and pulling, I manage to get the bra back around with the hooks in the front and the cups in the back.  I rehook the hooks in the farthest selection so it will be good and snug.  Wouldn’t want it falling down now.  I decide to rest a while.

I turn and turn and turn and pull and pull and pull and tug some more and finally get the parts where they should be.  Again the back is very low but I figure I’ll just go with it at this point, maybe I’ll wear something backless.   So I begin the process of getting things in the proper place in front.  I jiggle, shrug and move around until the cups appear to be in the proper place.  Now it’s time to check things out and see how it looks.

Oh my god…. there’s enough white material on my front to cover several small children.   The bra is actually not touching the front of my body in any place except directly under my boobs where the wires are pretending to be covered.  And in reality, the bottom of the bra is about mid-way down my stomach, curling up in ugly bunches in various places.  So I proceed to try and turn down all the pieces of material I can reach with one arm.  The hell with it, the ones in back won’t be noticed…. I’ll ditch the backless idea anyway.

Now, I have the bra in place to the best of my ability.  It’s standing at attention on my front with the wings prepared to take flight under my arms.  I guess that’s to take care of any roving breast you might have on your sides.   I look online again to see what I ordered.  Get this, it’s a MINIMIZER!  Maybe if you were an elephant.

So I get dressed, another effort, but I’ve chosen a button up sweater, much easier than anything else.  As a matter of fact, I’ve just been able to dress myself today if it’s a button up top.  So, I have this sweater on, and it’s sticking out in front with a life of it’s own, but I figure that’s the better of the 2 options.  I go run some errands.

Get home and am exhausted.  So I crash for a short 2-hour nap.   When I awake with a shortness of breath, I realize there’s this vise on my chest…no, wait, I’ve fallen asleep with my bra on!!  I get up, somewhat light headed and attempt to get the bra off.

No such luck.  It’s stuck like glue.  I’m really glad I fastened it tighter now.  I tug, rest, tug, rest and finally give up. Maybe if I sit real still the wires won’t cut off my circulation and I’ll be able to breathe.  Maybe my husband will come home early.

At 6:00 pm, I hear the door open so I rush to the door with my back turned and my shirt up yelling, “take it off, take it off”.  My husband grins and thinks, “OK”.  He unhooks the bra and gets it off.  I let out a huge breathe of relief, give him the bra and tell him to enjoy himself, I’m sure the bra can hold it’s own.



  1. You’re lucky you have a husband. I have NO friends and NO family to help me postoperatively – I even have to take a shuttle to the hospital. No one will be there to talk to the surgeon after my surgery….. talk about a bind! The surgeon refuses to send anyone to a skilled nursing facility – everyone goes home, regardless of their circumstances. (She says this is the decision made by the therapists but I don’t believe it. I know she could pull some strings so I wouldn’t have to go home, being alone.)


  2. I’m preparing for my second shoulder surgery, but I’m a little larger for this one and am pretty concerned about clothes period! I laughed until I cried reading this. Thank you! It’s nice to be alone.


    • HOW DID YOUR SURGERY TURN OUT? WAS IT ON YOUR DOMINANT SIDE? I’ve had a hip replacement and a knee replacement. How tough is the shoulder replacement? I ended up on this page because I’m a busty woman myself with no chance of wearing a tube top which is what was suggested to me and absolutely laughable!!! (About eight years ago I had rotator cuff surgery on the same shoulder I need replaced/will also need my other shoulder replaced in the near future.)


    • I had shoulder replacement six weeks ago and had read these posts beforehand. I was prepared. I am large-busted. I ordered Glamorise sports bras with racer back and front zipper. I lay the bra on the bed, put the bad (left) arm through and then the good arm. Lying on the bed, I use my left bicep to get my left breast into the cup, then do the same with the right. Zip up and then adjust when standing.


  3. Thank you for sharing your comical story about bra fitting after surgery! I recently had shoulder surgery and am trying to figure out how I’m going to contain the girls once I head back to work in a week or two! I’ve been bra-less for 5 weeks now and am trying to figure out what I can wear. It is difficult enough to find a comfortable bra that actually supports my 34-D boobs. Throw in a surgery to repair broken clavicle and torn shoulder ligaments and I am really struggling to find a solution. I was hit by a car riding my bike about a month ago and struggling with multiple injuries. I am in enough pain already. A bra is going to add to it.

    Thanks so much for making me laugh out loud several times! Even though it hurts to laugh! liz


    • Holy Snap Liz!!! What an ordeal….(and my apologies for the late reply…)! By now, I’m hoping you’re back at work and … contained 🙂 Thanks for hanging out with me!


      • Hello there! Yup, returned to work on Monday. I ended up buying a bunch of cheap, soft bras and am only using one strap. Yes, I am lopsided and sag. Yes, my boobs keep trying to escape under the bra cups, but I throw on a pretty scarf to hide the mess. At nearly 50, no one is really looking at me anyway! 🙂


    • I feel your bra pain. I’m recovering right now from my third shoulder surgery. I found that a bra one size bigger did the trick. I’m a 34C so I bought a 34D. I loosened the shoulder strap nice and loose on the bad side and snugged it right down on the good one. I wish you luck.


  4. Tonight I am fighting back tears while trying to swat some kind of bug which I know will probably be the huge floaters in my eyes from a macular pucker (great, even my macula is puckering,). My shoulder has been hurting so bad not even the grandfather of all pain relievers helps. From what I have read over and over by shoulder aficionados this pain is analgesic resistent.

    June 2nd is when I can get into an orthopedist and I have already spent three weeks telling myself I really doesn’t hurt. Five days ago I succumbed to the pain and subjected my husband to the ER where I would have to wait several hours but at least I would be able to be given something by injection which might work better. More importantly I would also be referred to an orthopedist and seen tomorrow. (As it turns out the doc who just did a right knee revision and total knee replacement which ultimately led me down the path to here is on call.)

    Well, this doc as far as I am concerned walks on water, he took the local
    knee guru’s mess (and this is near the University of Michigan so he is not some physician in a small town) and gave me back a working knee. He injects the shoulder with cortisone. I know in a few days the pain will be gone, it has before. (Since the mess called health reform I have found very few doctors leave openings for emergencies. )

    And again my body decides to ambush me.

    Tomorrow an MRI awaits. If whatever this is requires surgical repair then do it I can’t function in this pain any longer. Its not the ending I want but my body is just that way.

    I know what lies ahead. I’m only five weeks out from my knee. So, that’s why the tears, I think I’m just plain worn out. Sometimes I feel very selfish tearing up, so many others have much more on their plate but I can’t FEEL their pain, that’s a horrible thing we say to others who are in pain when you think about it.

    I know I will be happy after it is all over. I just can’t imagine going throug this so soon after my knee. My tears are out of frustration I think….and more recovery…that is always worse than the fix. I am frustrated, I just jump from one fire into another, and this has been happening for a very long time. In my prayers I ask God to keep my family healthy give me anything he choses, just let them be healthy. So, if I have ever had a doubt about God hearing our prayers, I know he does.

    After becoming a human being 65 years ago I have found things happen in a given order… for a reason…that is why I came across your trials and tribulations of shoulder surgery. In everything there is some humor and tonight you proved that.

    Humor is good medicine and I guess I needed a refill..enters you.
    Because I have offered to take on anything so my family doesn’t have to I won’t complain but I never promised I would do it gracefully, hence my pity party.

    Forget the big fight so many have been glued won’t hold a candle to bra vs shoulder you covered with your IN the ring commentary.
    I know your description will be posted on my recliner because I know there will be more tears for many reasons.

    Thank you many times over. As the contents of my bra hang low they will one day, months from now, rise to salute you.


    • Oh my at the words….I’ve read your words several times, each time meaning to reply but I’m not sure where to start. So, I’ll start here….first of all, thank you for your kind words and for reading what I write. It is humbling to know others are moved by what I say. Second of all, holy snap woman, all that you’ve been through. By now, I’m thinking you know what lies ahead and have scheduled surgery so you will begin to heal. It is a total bitch, recovery in any form.

      I will think of you and wish you well, as you take this next journey. We do so much, we sometimes heal more slowly.

      Peace, hugs, and margaritas to you my friend ~ Love, Sasha


  5. I am reading this in bed and laughing so hard that I’m coughing and tears are running down my face.. I pause to catch my breath and read a few more words and I’m dying again LMAO


  6. so I am three weeks post surgery and have three weeks left of no shoulder movement. I have found that I can use my regular bra. I lay it on the bed and with my good arm i put the clasps in my non moveable arm then i pick up the other side of the clasps and do them up. then I turn the bra around so the strap is past my shoulder to the center of my chest and pull the strap on my injured shoulder and slip the other strap on and pull it into place and it has worked out well. Then take off in reverse order. Just an alternative for those who can’t afford a new bra. Good luck all.


  7. I have never laughed so hard! I am having my right bicep repaired and will be in an arm sling for 2-4 weeks. Without having my best friend hook my bra in the back for a week, how else can I wear one? Seriously, are the bras on line you can order for women recovering from shoulder surgery who are now one armed and have no one living with them to help more than a week or so?


    • Karen, best wishes for a speedy recovery…cause that’s all you got! I didn’t find anything helpful in the bra section ~ the strapless was the best I could find and as you might have notice, not the best plan. Thank God it was cold when I had my surgery and I could wear a heavier shirt. But NO, there’s no help! Good Luck!


      • Sasha, I admire your sense of humor. I had a 4 part break of my upper arm bone head and a plate and 8-10 screws to repair it 15 months ago and have had pain putting on bras since. I just had surgery again to remove that plate and have another one placed in a different location and the incision is right where bras strap sits. The only choice I have is strapless, but I am 75 and need comfort so having looked at all the suggestions others have made, I have found nothing that will work. I still work and am very visible on my job so these boulders are going to be down to my knees without a boulder holder.


    • Karen, I work at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital Health & Fitness Center in Barrington,IL. We carry the Handful Bras & we can send them out to you right away. I used & still use them after my shoulder surgery. I step into it. They’re soft but support & have removable pads. Let me know if I can help you out. Terri


      • Can you send me the link to your work? Can you send me a picture of this step in bra? I wear a 40DD. I bought a couple of target easy step into sports bra, and I have been practicing one handed. My
        Thanks Terri!


      • Terri do you have any suggestions for post surgery bras for large women? I’m deseparate for one. wear 44f. Thanks


      • I am having shoulder surgery next week. How can I get one of the handful bras from you if that is an option? I am in Prairie Grove.
        Thank you.


      • Judo Mom ~ I don’t sell the bras, it was a story about my own shoulder surgery and my challenges..I found the bra I used at JC Penney online. Good Luck!


      • Hi, I no longer work at Advocate fitness center, but the last time I was there, they still had the Handful Bras.  It’s located at 1301 S. Barrington Rd. in Barrington.  847-620-4500.   Good luck, Terri



  8. Hello ladies of the shoulder surgery parade….
    I am post surgery, graduate of physical therapy & almost back to normal. I had my left shoulder done on Feb. 1, 2013. After reading all your comments I searched & found a bra from a site that advertised them specific for surgeries on shoulders & breasts. It was something that looked like a child’s t-shirt for $40. I sent it back..ugly & no support.
    My ‘find’ in bras was the Handful Bra. The bra has removable cups & stretchy enough to step into. I wear on almost every day now! I have it in pink, purple, black, white and grey… told you I liked ’em!
    I wanted to share a tip Pre-Surgery tip. DO NOT GET YOUR UNDERARMS WAXED! I had my done, then surgery & the tape was over the skin that the wax had touched. I had underarm rash for weeks. It hurt more than the surgery! Your arm is plastered to your side with the heavy tape, no air is in there & it festers skin rash!
    It’s scary thinking about going in & dealing with the pain & all but I had a great nurse tell me that when I go into surgery they will ask about nausea & pain meds. She said that you want ‘Top Shelf’. I did as she said, told them I get extremely sick after surgery. Not only did I not get sick after, I was given these golden pills for nausea to take home and what a wonderful world these can be. Also, get stool softeners, take 2 at EVERY meal. DO THIS. You’ll thank me later. Stay ahead of the pain, eat crackers, drink & take the meds for a few days. Then you can wean yourself off gradually. Yeah, it hurts so don’t be a super hero.


    • Yeah, but they only go up to 40C…I wish! I’m a 40 G/H and having rotator surgery on my dominant arm…right side. Looking at post surgical ‘breast binders’ as there is no way I could go public without something to hold them up, to say nothing about how they pull on the shoulder. Can’t use straps either.


      • Kathleen, I feel your pain…I’m a 38G and yep, there are 3 bras that fit on a normal day and they cost $75. This sounds a little crazy, but what about the old tube tops? That might help a little, wouldn’t do much for the appearance, but it would bind ’em and keep them from pulling..maybe. Of course, finding a tube top in our size might be a challenge….


    • Actually, for the 1st couple of days, I wore a dress like thingy that didn’t have sleeves or arms, kinda like a tube top style. Then on day 3, I managed to put my arm thru the sleeve of the button up shirt…..tough going! Are you having surgery soon?


      • yes I have a torn labrum and was just trying to figure out what clothes I should buy. They said I cannot move my arm for five weeks so it seemed hard to get a shirt on at all. Thanks for your answer.


      • Stacy, I didn’t have my arm totally immobile, so sleeves would be impossible for you to use. I would think it would be ok to just put your arm under the shirt…wow, bummer. Hope you heal quickly and have good drugs 🙂


  9. I will be having shoulder surgery in a couple of weeks & have been cruising the internet for ideas on how women button up the girls afterwards. I’ve seen awful granny shirts made with snaps & velcro to stories of buying tube tops & wriggling them up over the hips to bust. I don’t know about you, but my hips are a bit larger than my bust & may be a challenge. So, what worked for you? Did you find something easier or did you just let em go?
    Thanks for sharing, I will definitely start experimenting!


    • My hips and boobs are about the same size, so I wore big, button up shirts, usually for men just because they were less fitted. The bra was a nightmare and for a week I didn’t wear one at all. Then I tried to put a t-shirt on first but that was impossible. Finally, after about a week I could get the bra on so that worked pretty much. GOOD LUCK!!


  10. Wow! Thanks for sharing your experience! I can see myself going down the same road. I’m having my right shoulder done in about a month and I’m a pretty curvy gal. So I’m really anxious about the whole bra thing. I can’t take a ton of time off work…so I need to be presentable. Started my bra shopping this evening!

    Otherwise, how has your recovery gone? Was it worth it?


    • Good Plan…and a Plan is what you need! The recovery did go well, but the 3 times a week physical therapy was a huge pain…literally 🙂 I am 100% with that shoulder now, and don’t have any negative effects from the surgery. Good Luck! And yes…get the bra now ~ AND try it on BEFORE the surgery 😀


  11. LOL…..So this is what I am looking at in the near future…..I am going to have to hire someone to help me get dressed. Sad thing is I am right handed but, I use my left hand too for a lot of things…..Hear is one to make you think or to be grossed out….In the restroom pee in right handed and bm is left handed….Yes I am not right wait that would be left…Bahaha….A lot of my friends laugh because they never thought of it. Until I brought it to their attention. My left shoulder is so bad I fear getting it done ….


    • Yep! Someone to help you get dressed would be a definite plus!! My mom stayed for 2 days, but then I was on my own ~ and you’ll think of ALL those little things when you can’t use your hand….you’ll be amazed at what you come up with – ha! Good Luck!!


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