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Healthwise: Patients Find Comfort at "Something Special Shop"

June 2, 2010

Doctors diagnosed Janet Chrismore with breast cancer in 2009. After two rounds of chemotherapy, a mastectomy and radiation treatment, Chrismore says the cancer is gone.

But she still doesn't feel quite right.

"When you have a single mastectomy, you're left unbalanced and it's very important - when you're working and just a being a women - that people can't look at you and tell automatically and tell that you've had a mastectomy," said Chrismore.

Chrismore visited the "Something Special Shop" in Downtown Charlottesville for just that, something special. Owner Edna Wood recently partnered with Martha Jefferson Hospital to bring post-mastectomy service to patients like Janet Chrismore. In addition to finding comfort and support at the shop, women can also check out items like swimwear, surgical bras and silicone breast forms.

"I'm quite willing to do what I can to help them just be comfortable, and to have the confidence that they so need and are searching for," said Wood.

Wood's special shop seems to be a success. Chrismore says she found confidence as soon as she walked through the doors.

"There's an initial moment where you're kind of self-conscious and you kind of pay extra attention to see if people are looking at you. You realize no one is, and that's a very good thing... a very psychological boosting makes you feel good about yourself," she said.

Chrismore admits she's still getting used to all of the changes her body has been through, but now she's focused on getting her life back in balance.

Once construction is complete, Wood's special shop will move from its downtown location into the new Martha Jefferson Hospital. Until then, anyone interested can visit the shop at the intersection of Lexington Avenue and East High Street, near Martha Jefferson in Charlottesville. The shop is open Monday-Friday from 10am to 5pm.

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