More than a specialist fitter for breast cancer patients, Susan Doing offers support to her clients that goes way beyond the correct band size when shopping for intimates. FARIDA MASTER meets up with the bra fitter that helps women uplift their self-image.
Whether it is helping patients cope with the grief to come to terms with the big C or making them aware of the Ministry of Health funding available; or sharing a wealth of knowledge on natural healing – Susan Doig considers it all a part of her job description.
Multi-tasking comes easy to the owner-operator of Breast Care Essentials.
This lingerie architect thinks nothing of driving all the way up North once a month to do fittings for breast cancer survivors in the comfort of their own home.
Going from her vibrant energy, it’s difficult to tell that this livewire has had her own journey with cancer.
Doig’s huge reservoir of positivity naturally rubs off on her 1000 plus loyal clientele she’s built over the years.
“I’ve had ladies that I had fitted 18 years ago, come to me,” she says.
“It’s really rewarding to help women get their image back. Making them feel less anxious about themselves.
“There have been a lot of tears when I initially meet them,” Doig says about being a good listener when cancer survivors who have been bottling up their feelings trust her enough to let it all out.
“Women who have originally turned away from the mirror as they hated their self-image are so grateful that the fitting is perfect and not lopsided. They are not self-conscious anymore which is why I love what I do.”
Six weeks after a breast cancer surgery, most woman are ready to be fitted, informs Doig who has formerly worked in the cutting and design department of a global name in the lingerie business.
Which is why she is confident with the nips and tucks when it comes to swimsuits for women who’ve undergone breast reconstruction or mastectomy.
She knows a thing or two about the finer details of constructing a good fit. In her twenties, Doig was a pattern maker and helped design BMX helmets and life jackets at her brother’s industrial sewing factory.
“Having a good fit is so important,” she says.
The breast care fitting consultant takes pride in assisting clients with the right shape and form of breast prosthesis at her boutique fitting rooms in Ellerslie. She offers a professional fitting service with beautiful, functional bras available in a choice of colours and delicate laces lined with comfort.
Talking about the expense involved, she says that a lot of women are not aware of the funding available to buy breast care bras and prostheses.
“I am happy to guide them with the process of applying for funding.”
Doig is of the firm belief that if there are cells in our body that cause cancer there must be something in our miraculous immune system that can undo the cancer too.”
When she is not fitting women who’ve had full/partial mastectomy, lumpectomy, and reconstruction, she is pointing breast cancer survivors in the right direction.
“My message to all the ladies I meet is that cancer is not the end of the road.”
Profound words that are often the first step to a road to recovery.
Q: What is the breast prosthesis service payment?
It is a payment to people who have undergone a partial or full mastectomy – either unilateral or bilateral, and/or have undergone a lumpectomy, have congenital needs or have undergone reconstructive surgery, as specified by a specialist or general practitioner (GP). The payments are to reduce the cost of purchasing Breast Prosthesis or prostheses and other related products. The Ministry of Health will pay this service payment to either claimant or the supplier of the product.
Q: How much can I claim?
Your entitlement is $613.33 incl GST per side, for a four-year period. You may claim any amount up to the total amount of $616.33 (or $1226.66 incl GST for bilateral) at any time during the four-year entitlement period.
Note: The entitlement period begins on the date you make your first purchase from a supplier and ends four years from this date.
In addition to this: You may apply to the Ministry of Health for an additional entitlement if your existing entitlement is insufficient because either: you are under 18 and your GP or specialist considers that your growth is incomplete and your prosthesis or prostheses needs to be replaced regularly; or you have lost a reconstructed breast due to infection after reconstructive surgery and need a replacement prosthesis or prostheses.
Requests for additional entitlements should be sent to:
Disability Services Directorate
Ministry of Health, P O Box 5013, Wellington 6145