I was initially diagnosed in 2015, had an axillary clearance and local side excision, chemotherapy, dad’s and herceptin. I have had numerous health problems since then including lymphodoema, cellulitis, neurological problems and sepsis which have left me disabled. At the end of April I was diagnosed with a recurrence of the cancer and I was given a bone and CT scan which confirmed it thankfully had not spread beyond the breast. I made an appointment with a reconstruction surgeon who told me no reconstruction could be done due to my previous scar damage, lymphodoema, and neurological condition -I was devastated. I had then only one appointment before my operation with the BCN to discuss the mastectomy (although I had to wait two months for my operation without seeing anyone) and will have a post surgery appointment with the surgeon and a prosthesis fitting appointment and that will be it. No counselling of any kind offered. The surgery was supposed to be a day case ( despite me also having a breast reduction), but due to a reaction to the anaesthetic I was in 10 days. Another surgeon (not mine) had a go at me on the ward for taking up a surgical bed because I could not walk and said I should be in a cottage hospital. It seems that the health service trivialises this operation. You feel like you are on a conveyor belt -your breast removed and pushed out the door and left to get on with it on your own. I don’t know when I am ever going to get over this but I feel brutalised by the system which does not seem to see you as a person.
There’s lots of help available but it’s up to you to look for what you need. This might be a good place to start.
Feel for you, sounds like a tough journey recently and I totally understand your question about psychological support.
Most breast cancer depts have access to either counselling or a psychologist (I think it is supposed to be offered or available for anyone with breast cancer needing such support).
When I went through active treatment it wasn’t mentioned, I think in part due to there being a change in the breast care nurse and drop in resource. I only became aware of such support being available much later on, so it is worth asking (if you haven’t already). At my hospital there was a clinical psychologist of cancer care, I think part funded by Macmillan and she was absolutely brilliant.
Otherwise you could ask your GP to refer you, although I know waiting times via that route can be very long.
Besides Macmillan, Maggie’s Centres, Cancerkin, and the Haven all offer a range of complementary therapies, and some offer counselling, so it’s worth checking out where any centres may be located in your area.
I hope you manage to get some support. It also takes time to take it all in and adjust to such physical and emotional changes.