Need a Sports Bra and You’re in Saudi Arabia? Good Luck!

Shortly after my mastectomy and breast reconstruction surgery my doctor informed me that on release from the hospital I would need to wear a sports bra for a period of time 24/7.  He was clear that the bra was to have no wires or heavy cutting elastic.  I needed the support but due to the need for the new muscle and tissue to take hold, it should not be constricted by wire or elastic.

One can easily find very colorful and exotic sports bras (with matching shorts) (kind of like the 1970’s era aerobic outfits) for young girls.  But a basic sports bra for women over 35 years old is another story.  Since I was in the hospital, a friend of mine who knows my tastes and preferences offered to get several for me.  Never did we think the search would literally take days (with the clock ticking to my proposed discharge date).  Eventually she found some bras from Marks & Spencer which are sports bra style in that they fit over the head but still have to be hooked in the back after first pulling over the head.  They worked in allowing me to be discharged.  These sports bras had no metal wires, no tight bands of elastic but were not a perfect fit.  As a result I called my son in the States.

There are so many stores in the States where one can enter and find a wide selection of choices, styles and colors of sports bras.  My daughter-in-law was easily able to identify several styles in my size which rather than have to pull over the head, I put on like a shirt and they hooked in the front, similar to a cropped t-shirt with padding but no wires or elastic.  They were ideal and oh so comfortable and best yet, I was able to take them on and off without assistance.  After a mastectomy and particularly when lymph nodes are removed, it can result in very limited movement of one arm for awhile.  Therefore when using the sports bra that pulls over the head, I required assistance in getting it on and off.

Given how the Kingdom has usually been so good in catering to womens needs when it comes to clothing and accessories, I was quite surprised to find that a sports bra falls under the “impossible to locate” item.  I wonder if it also because sports bras are most traditionally associated with working out such as high impact aerobics and jogging which is not as popular here?  And I will point out that in addition to sporting goods stores, womens lingerie and underwear stores, medical supply stores, we also asked around at the few women’s gyms for sports bras.  At least in adult sizes, sports bras are not an in-demand item yet in the Kingdom.


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