BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A lot of a woman's identity comes from her look and her body. Unfortunately, many women fighting breast cancer lose a piece of themselves through chemo or mastectomies.
However, a new store in Baton Rouge is helping survivors and fighters reclaim their image.
"When you first are diagnosed with cancer, shock is the first thing you feel," said breast cancer survivor Mary Wheat.
Wheat and her husband know that feeling all too well. The shock after her breast cancer diagnosis was followed by devastation when she learned her only option for treatment would be a double mastectomy, which meant the Baton Rouge native would lose both her breasts.
"At first, I told my husband, 'I don't think I could go through with that.' But then, I got a hold of myself and said, 'What are your options?'" said Wheat.
A year later, Wheat is cancer free, but full recovery meant more than just getting healthy. It was restoring her body. That's where Still Me boutique came to help.
"What I saw that was needed is an environment where women could come in that was friendly, stress free and with the dedicated staff that puts the patients first, and that we could provide their post mastectomy needs," said Still Me owner Phyllis Sales.
Still Me provides wigs, compression garments and breast prosthesis. Sales, who started the store after seeing her friend's fight with breast cancer, says the store helps women regain the part of themselves that cancer took away.
"We can give them what they need," said Sales. "A great fitting bra and prosthesis is important for the body structure, but also emotionally as well."
"She was a lifesaver," said Wheat who says adjusting to prosthesis can be traumatic. "I had no idea that I could get normal pretty bras that looked like what I was already wearing. That seems like a little thing, but that made me feel so much better."
Still Me is one of the only stores of its kind in Baton Rouge. It's located at 930 O'Neal Lane.