Meet Our Fit Specialist of the Month
Get to know your fitter! Amoena highlights a certified mastectomy fitter each month
Carolyn Bass -- Halliday’s and Koivisto’s Pharmacy
Jacksonville, FL -- August, 2014
Fitter Carolyn Bass is a Jacksonville, Florida native who never imagined her high school job typing prescription labels and making deliveries would lead to a job as a fitter. Thirty-eight years later she’s still working at Halliday’s and Koivisto’s Pharmacy and because of her years of dedicated and professional service, she is most certainly their go-to gal.
Amoena: How did you become a fitter?
Carolyn: It was definitely just part of a natural progression in terms of my career here at Halliday’s and Koivisto’s. When the need arose and I was asked if I’d be interested, although I didn’t know much about what a fitter did, I was happy to give it a try. Once I had received training, I was thrilled to be able to do work that truly helps women get their lives back to normal.
Amoena: Tell us a little bit about Halliday’s and Koivisto’s.
Carolyn: Halliday’s and Koivisto’s is one of the few old fashioned, family owned pharmacies still remaining and I think that’s a big part of the charm. We offer prescription services, carry medical equipment, provide in-house compounding services, carry a wide-range of vitamin products, handle mastectomy fittings and carry mastectomy bras and forms, as well as compression garments, wigs, and active wear. We also carry greeting cards and have an on-site post office. That was commonplace once upon a time, but in today’s world, it’s another thing that makes us unique. Everyone loves the quaint, small pharmacy atmosphere. More and more people are leaning about it.We participate with local support groups, which also provides a loyal customer base because they know we are committed to our community’s needs.
We have worked very hard to create a place where women will not only feel comfortable getting a fitting, but will want to come back. Our setting is very private, cozy and well thought-out. I really don’t think it’s any different than the surroundings you would find elsewhere. And a real plus for our women is the ability to talk to our pharmacist about prescriptions they may be using during and after treatment.
Amoena: What is your favorite Amoena bra and why?
Carolyn: The Annabell Wire-Free 2126 fits most ladies well and is a pretty bra, so I’m a real fan. You know, with all of the new bras Amoena is introducing, it’s not easy saying which one is the favorite!
Amoena: What is your favorite Amoena form and why?
Carolyn: My go to is the Essential Light 442 because it works so well for so many women.
Amoena: What is your favorite part of being a fitter?
Carolyn: I think it is the satisfaction of seeing women walk out happy and satisfied knowing I’ve helped make them look and feel good once again.
Amoena: What are some of the challenges of being a fitter?
Carolyn: Insurance can be a huge pain. Some of the companies make it so difficult, which just adds another stress to an already stressful time. And in terms of physical challenges, some of the older surgeries make it difficult to get a good fit because there is a concave area that is so deep.
Amoena: What's the most important thing you've learned over the years?
Carolyn: I’ve learned a lot about breast cancer and all the different types. Prior to this work, I always thought breast cancer was just one disease. And as a fitter, understanding that every woman handles her diagnosis and treatment differently is very important. Not only is breast cancer not just one disease, but there is also not a one-size-fits-all fix.
Amoena: What do you think makes a good fitter?
Carolyn: I think compassion and patience are crucial. I’m hardheaded so I will work till I get it right. My husband just heard me give you that answer, and he said, "I’ll second that!" (Carolyn and husband Bobby have been married for 34 years, so it’s a safe bet he knows of what he speaks.)
Amoena: In the years you’ve been a fitter has anyone stood out?
Carolyn: The one person that sticks in my mind passed away in 2013 after a courageous battle with not only breast cancer but all types of cancer. No matter what she was facing, each time I saw her she was always dressed to the nines and always positive. I always said that if I ever have to go through something like that, then let me be like her. She was a special lady.
Amoena: When you aren’t working, what do you like to do?
Carolyn: Family time is very special to me. We have three grandsons (Grant, Carter and Hayden), which definitely makes life more interesting! They have changed our lives for sure.
Amoena: If there was no breast cancer and you weren’t a fitter, what would you want to be?
Carolyn: I love working at the pharmacy I just love helping people there in whatever capacity is needed. I wouldn’t change it.
Amoena: Tell us something about Jacksonville that makes you proud to call it home.
Carolyn: Like most places, it has changed a lot over the years, so sometimes I sort of miss the Jacksonville I knew as a kid. We do have a rich history which makes me glad to call this place home. And of course, we are proud of the Jaguars, now all we need is to win some games!