Guide Posts of Strength
Click any sign on the guide post to read Key Information.Christine PhilipDesigner & Image Consultant
Christine Philip, Owner
CP Fusão

“When you look good, you feel good; Clothes are a tool to boost esteem, confidence, individuality and overall well being.”

Christine Philip challenges the status quo and believes that looking great will help you feel great – which directly correlates to positive changes in moods, happiness and hope.

Coming from a family of physicians and listening to patients’ special needs, Christine has started a clothing line for women who have undergone extensive surgery. She creates beautiful niche clothing to make them look and feel great about themselves regardless of what they have undergone. “All women should feel like women: confident, beautiful, and have a sense of empowerment, and I’m here to help”.

Christine started her career designing Indo-western ‘fusion’ gowns, so that clients can essentially wear fragments of her culture in an everyday setting. She now heads the international design company and private label, CP Fusão. Christine is a graduate of Emory University and holds an MBA in Global Business from the Georgia Institute of Technology Business School. She is also the Editor-in-Chief for Global Glam International Luxury Magazine.

Key Information:

The Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act (WHCRA), which was passed in 1998, mandates that your insurance cover many of the products that you need after breast cancer surgery – products such as bras, forms, prosthesis.

The WHCRA also assures women that insurance will cover breast reconstruction after cancer surgery if they so choose.  The WHCRA was signed into law Oct. 21, 1998. The United States Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services oversee this law.

If you have had a mastectomy or expect to have one, you may be entitled to special rights under the WHCRA. Under WHCRA, group health plans, insurance companies and health maintenance organizations (HMOs) offering mastectomy coverage also must provide coverage for certain services relating to the mastectomy in a manner determined in consultation with your attending physician and you.

This required coverage includes all stages of reconstruction of the breast on which the mastectomy was performed, surgery and reconstruction of the other breast to produce a symmetrical appearance, prostheses and treatment of physical complications of the mastectomy, including lymphedema. The United States Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services oversee this law.

After breast surgery, find a Certified Fitter-Mastectomy (CFM) to fit you with breast prosthetics and appropriate undergarments. Only CFMs can file insurance and keep records of your purchases and insurance payments. A CFM is a health care professional who is specifically trained to fit you with breast prosthetics, special undergarments and in helping you with post-mastectomy services.

If possible, talk with a CFM before your breast surgery. A good fitter will help you find bras and camisoles to wear immediately after surgery. These special undergarments have pockets for your drain (as well as pockets for temporary prosthetic material such as fiberfill). These bras are also comfortable to wear after your drain has been removed. Ask your health care team about CFMs located near you.

If you do not have health insurance, ask your physician and medical team about resources available at their office, your local cancer center and the local chapter of the American Cancer Society.

“Don’t let the challenges of surgery and chemotherapy get to you; this is not what defines you.  In addition in having a great attitude, it’s important to focus on the positive – on getting better. Remember that this is just a stage in your life and the focus is to get rid of the cancer.

The following are important and beneficial to a healthy lifestyle and well being: Prayer, meditation, yoga, good nutrition, exercise, taking care of your skin and body, looking your best, exercising, enjoying your hobbies and talents and spending time with your friends and loved ones. Spa treatments, with your doctor’s permission, such as reflexology and massages and other forms of pampering may be treats you enjoy during treatment.

Tips for the cancer patient:

  • Wear clothes that make you feel beautiful and confident. When you wear drab clothes, you often feel drab so make a concerted effort to wear something you look good in.
  • Prior to losing your hair (or having all of your hair cut all off), go to your hairdresser and start experimenting with shorter cuts. You can even bring a similar wig similar to your hairstyle and have your hairdresser cut and shape it to resemble your hairstyle.
  • Scarves are a great way to accessorize until your hair grows back. When purchasing scarves, make sure you buy something you really like so you can even wear it after your hair grows back.
  • While you are recovering from surgery and/or going through chemotherapy, dress comfortably and with style. Yoga Pants, compression wear such as Spanx and camisoles are easy to wash and wear and feel good next to your skin.
  • Experiment with your clothes and mix up solids and prints.
  • Wear belts. A belt cinches and gives you a waist, and gives you a beautiful hourglass figure which you need to create sometimes – yes, even after a mastectomy!
  • Pashmina scarves are very versatile accessories when you are undergoing cancer treatment. You can wear them anywhere: around your neck, around your head and even around your waist.
  • Have at least two bras and camisoles at all times, because you will wear one while you wash the other.
  • A support group is vital and a great way to meet other women your age who have gone through similar circumstances. Check with your oncologist to get in contact with a support group in your area.

For Friends and Family:

  • Offer to go wig shopping with your loved one who has cancer and make this process fun.
  • When your cancer patient is ready, invite friends over and have a scarf or hat party. It’s like having a baby shower but this time the guests bring scarves or hats.
  • Post-surgery bras, camisoles, bathing suits, etc. are expensive and each person’s insurance coverage is different so consider giving your friend a gift certificate to a boutique that caters to mastectomy patients.
  • Another fun gift idea is jewelry. Pretty necklaces and earrings help make a person going through cancer treatment feel attractive.

Ask Questions

Please feel free to email me personally at cphilip@gspmentoring.org. I will be happy to give you style tips for your special challenges. And I would love to see “before” and “after” photos of you and, with your permission, share them with others.

I’m a chemo patient, and my skin is extremely sensitive. What can I wear?

The key is to dress in very comfortable clothing and still look and feel attractive. I would recommend soft jersey, viscose, cotton and linen fabrics for everyday wear to luxurious fabrics such as silks and chiffon for evenings, weekends or dinners. Silk retains body heat efficiently, is strong, light, flexible and hard wearing and has a natural wicking action drawing body moisture away from the skin.

I lost my hair due to chemo therapy. What is a way to deal with hair loss?

I tell patients, wigs are a great way to experiment with different fun looks. You don’t always have to wear a wig though. Wrap a beautiful silk scarf around your head, put on some sunglasses and you’ll look stylish as ever. Turbans, hats and headbands will brighten any look and it is important to accessorize. Please see my link section for a great website on how you can see yourself in different hairstyles before you go out and buy a wig.

How can I hide scars or swelling caused by treatment?

Relaxed fit clothing, such as draw-string trendy linen trousers or long maxi dresses and skirts will look both flattering and trendy and will hide most of the scars below the waist. Wear sleeveless if you want! Wear what you are comfortable with.

If your scars are above the waist, you can hide scars by wearing tops that have shallow v-necks or more modest scoop necklines. Experiment to see which necklines fit your changing figure and remember that camisoles hide a multitude of issues.

Make sure your tops have comfortable arm openings if you have had your axillary (underarm) lymph nodes removed. Most women are able to wear sleeveless tops after a mastectomy, but it depends on the cut of the blouse. You can properly hide swelling with loose clothing but remember: Clothing can be loose fitting but should still be well made and cut well to flatter your figure. The feel and weight of the fabric is very important too.

I just had a mastectomy. What can I wear?

You can wear what your heart desires. You don’t have to just wear t-shirts and sweat shirts. Put those t-shirts and sweatshirts away unless you are having a lazy day and want to wear them.  There are mastectomy bras, forms, camisoles and even swimsuits that have modern styling for women of most ages and good support and fit. Wear a beautiful wrap dress over these pieces or whatever your heart desires. Experiment with the clothes you wore before surgery to see what works and then ask a friend or relative to help you modify your clothes if possible. You will probably find that you can still wear many of your favorite outfits.

Links / Apps

In Style – Get a virtual makeover, upload a picture of yourself and experiment with different styles of hair and makeup.

USDOL, Women’s Health & Cancer Rights Act of 1998 – Learn more about this act, how it affects the insurance coverage of your surgery and your post-surgical supplies.

CP Fusão – See Christine Philip’s creations.

Global Glam – Read more about Christine’s fashion ideas.

Look Good…Feel Better – More information

High Point Regional Health System – Learn more about the Loveline Cancer Support Program.

Key Info Stay In Touch After Cancer Links and Apps

 

Key information

The Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act (WHCRA), which was passed in 1998, mandates that your insurance cover many of the products that you need after breast cancer surgery – products such as bras, forms, prosthesis.

The WHCRA also assures women that insurance will cover breast reconstruction after cancer surgery if they so choose.  The WHCRA was signed into law Oct. 21, 1998. The United States Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services oversee this law.

If you have had a mastectomy or expect to have one, you may be entitled to special rights under the WHCRA. Under WHCRA, group health plans, insurance companies and health maintenance organizations (HMOs) offering mastectomy coverage also must provide coverage for certain services relating to the mastectomy in a manner determined in consultation with your attending physician and you.

This required coverage includes all stages of reconstruction of the breast on which the mastectomy was performed, surgery and reconstruction of the other breast to produce a symmetrical appearance, prostheses and treatment of physical complications of the mastectomy, including lymphedema. The United States Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services oversee this law.

After breast surgery, find a Certified Fitter-Mastectomy (CFM) to fit you with breast prosthetics and appropriate undergarments. Only CFMs can file insurance and keep records of your purchases and insurance payments. A CFM is a health care professional who is specifically trained to fit you with breast prosthetics, special undergarments and in helping you with post-mastectomy services.

If possible, talk with a CFM before your breast surgery. A good fitter will help you find bras and camisoles to wear immediately after surgery. These special undergarments have pockets for your drain (as well as pockets for temporary prosthetic material such as fiberfill). These bras are also comfortable to wear after your drain has been removed. Ask your health care team about CFMs located near you.

If you do not have health insurance, ask your physician and medical team about resources available at their office, your local cancer center and the local chapter of the American Cancer Society.

“Don’t let the challenges of surgery and chemotherapy get to you; this is not what defines you.  In addition in having a great attitude, it’s important to focus on the positive – on getting better. Remember that this is just a stage in your life and the focus is to get rid of the cancer.

The following are important and beneficial to a healthy lifestyle and well being: Prayer, meditation, yoga, good nutrition, exercise, taking care of your skin and body, looking your best, exercising, enjoying your hobbies and talents and spending time with your friends and loved ones. Spa treatments, with your doctor’s permission, such as reflexology and massages and other forms of pampering may be treats you enjoy during treatment.

Tips for the cancer patient

  • Wear clothes that make you feel beautiful and confident. When you wear drab clothes, you often feel drab so make a concerted effort to wear something you look good in.
  • Prior to losing your hair (or having all of your hair cut all off), go to your hairdresser and start experimenting with shorter cuts. You can even bring a similar wig similar to your hairstyle and have your hairdresser cut and shape it to resemble your hairstyle.
  • Scarves are a great way to accessorize until your hair grows back. When purchasing scarves, make sure you buy something you really like so you can even wear it after your hair grows back.
  • While you are recovering from surgery and/or going through chemotherapy, dress comfortably and with style. Yoga Pants, compression wear such as Spanx and camisoles are easy to wash and wear and feel good next to your skin.
  • Experiment with your clothes and mix up solids and prints.
  • Wear belts. A belt cinches and gives you a waist, and gives you a beautiful hourglass figure which you need to create sometimes – yes, even after a mastectomy!
  • Pashmina scarves are very versatile accessories when you are undergoing cancer treatment. You can wear them anywhere: around your neck, around your head and even around your waist.
  • Have at least two bras and camisoles at all times, because you will wear one while you wash the other.
  • A support group is vital and a great way to meet other women your age who have gone through similar circumstances. Check with your oncologist to get in contact with a support group in your area.

Christine's Picks

For Friends and Family:

  • Offer to go wig shopping with your loved one who has cancer and make this process fun.
  • When your cancer patient is ready, invite friends over and have a scarf or hat party. It’s like having a baby shower but this time the guests bring scarves or hats.
  • Post-surgery bras, camisoles, bathing suits, etc. are expensive and each person’s insurance coverage is different so consider giving your friend a gift certificate to a boutique that caters to mastectomy patients.
  • Another fun gift idea is jewelry. Pretty necklaces and earrings help make a person going through cancer treatment feel attractive.

Ask Questions

Please feel free to email me personally at cphilip@gspmentoring.org. I will be happy to give you style tips for your special challenges. And I would love to see “before” and “after” photos of you and, with your permission, share them with others.

I’m a chemo patient, and my skin is extremely sensitive. What can I wear?

The key is to dress in very comfortable clothing and still look and feel attractive. I would recommend soft jersey, viscose, cotton and linen fabrics for everyday wear to luxurious fabrics such as silks and chiffon for evenings, weekends or dinners. Silk retains body heat efficiently, is strong, light, flexible and hard wearing and has a natural wicking action drawing body moisture away from the skin.

I lost my hair due to chemo therapy. What is a way to deal with hair loss?

I tell patients, wigs are a great way to experiment with different fun looks. You don’t always have to wear a wig though. Wrap a beautiful silk scarf around your head, put on some sunglasses and you’ll look stylish as ever. Turbans, hats and headbands will brighten any look and it is important to accessorize. Please see my link section for a great website on how you can see yourself in different hairstyles before you go out and buy a wig.

How can I hide scars or swelling caused by treatment?

Relaxed fit clothing, such as draw-string trendy linen trousers or long maxi dresses and skirts will look both flattering and trendy and will hide most of the scars below the waist. Wear sleeveless if you want! Wear what you are comfortable with.

If your scars are above the waist, you can hide scars by wearing tops that have shallow v-necks or more modest scoop necklines. Experiment to see which necklines fit your changing figure and remember that camisoles hide a multitude of issues.

Make sure your tops have comfortable arm openings if you have had your axillary (underarm) lymph nodes removed. Most women are able to wear sleeveless tops after a mastectomy, but it depends on the cut of the blouse. You can properly hide swelling with loose clothing but remember: Clothing can be loose fitting but should still be well made and cut well to flatter your figure. The feel and weight of the fabric is very important too.

I just had a mastectomy. What can I wear?

You can wear what your heart desires. You don’t have to just wear t-shirts and sweat shirts. Put those t-shirts and sweatshirts away unless you are having a lazy day and want to wear them.  There are mastectomy bras, forms, camisoles and even swimsuits that have modern styling for women of most ages and good support and fit. Wear a beautiful wrap dress over these pieces or whatever your heart desires. Experiment with the clothes you wore before surgery to see what works and then ask a friend or relative to help you modify your clothes if possible. You will probably find that you can still wear many of your favorite outfits.

Links / Apps

In Style – Get a virtual makeover, upload a picture of yourself and experiment with different styles of hair and makeup.

USDOL, Women’s Health & Cancer Rights Act of 1998 – Learn more about this act, how it affects the insurance coverage of your surgery and your post-surgical supplies.

CP Fusão – See Christine Philip’s creations.

Look Good…Feel Better – More information


Guide Posts of Strength