Counselling

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Ktre
Ktre Member Posts: 95
edited August 2021 in General discussion
Hi I am new to all of this, I have recently been diagnosed and undergone a full right breast mastectomy. My appointment with my surgical specialists is this Thursday to discuss results from all the tests done on the tissue and tumours. I am unsure how to navigate through this online tool and also feel I need counselling. I need to talk to someone who understands what I am going through, how this affects me as a mum, a person and a wife. How to navigate back to being normal and able to let my husband look at me without me crying or feeling less of a woman. How to navigate through to letting my girls feel comfortable and me feel comfortable with them seeing me as I am now (we don't wander around naked but not have to warn then not to come into bedroom or bathroom would be nice)
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  • Afraser
    Afraser Member Posts: 4,390
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    Counselling can help many people - the tricky part is to find the right person. Your GP or oncologist may be able to recommend someone. It can help too if you can identify the issues that cause you particular concern - it often feels like ‘all of it’ but there are usually key matters that benefit from calm discussion with an experienced outsider. It may also help to think about navigating forward to normal. None of us can go back, this is an unforeseen part of your life but it is a part. It doesn’t need to rule your life though. Take one day at a time, and remember that your own well-being is essential, before you can assist the wellbeing of others. Best wishes for the next stage of your treatment. 
  • arpie
    arpie Member Posts: 7,742
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    Hi @Ktre   So sorry to see you here - the group no-one really wants to join.  I hope you are recovering well from the surgery.  Do you have a buddy with you at your appointments for moral support! An extra set of ears is always good ... plus consider recording your next ones on your phone, for the record as it is easy to miss bits in the meeting.

    Feel to check out this post - we even manage to have some laughs as well xx

     You are not alone in feeling overwhelmed, upset, even angry ... your Surgeon’s office should be able to point you to a Counsellor- but you can start off by ringing the Helpline here (see the Blue Banner at the top of the page) 

    https://onlinenetwork.bcna.org.au/discussion/23477/a-big-welcome-to-all-our-new-members#latest

    And definitely have a look at the Liz O’Riordan link - a UK breast surgeon who had BC x 2. She admits that she really had no idea of the depth that of emotions and fears that her patients were going thru - until she was diagnosed herself! ... well worth a read. 

    Try and keep busy doing stuff that you are able to in the lead up to your next appt ... 

    It takes a while to ‘get back to normal’, but it WILL happen!  Make sure you get out and have fun with your hubby and kids .... maybe take up a new hobby?  Get back to your old ones?

    take care and all the best for your appointments xx
  • Sue_w
    Sue_w Member Posts: 123
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    Oh @Ktre, What a wonderful strong woman you are to come on and ask your questions. I know you feel very fragile right now but believe me, you are so much stronger than you think.
     What your husband sees when he looks at you is so much more than a missing breast. You are the woman he loves fighting to be healthy. Your scar doesn't say illness and defeat, your scar says 'I'm still here and by fuck, I'm fighting as hard as I can. There is beauty in that, it can bring you closer together but it does take work and open discussion between the both of you. Breaking the initial 'ice' can be hard. 
    I used dark humour, now I have never named my girls before, but I said to my husband, "Well now you've only got Pinky to play with. Perky's gone" It made us laugh and cry and opened up the conversation. If you can, be open and honest with your hubby about how you're feeling. 
    Have a look at the links, especially the LIz O'Riordan one and look into counselling too if you want. Accept all help that is available to you, but remember, advice, including mine, is just advice, do what feels right for you. 
    You are in a good place here on the BCNA network with loads of love and support, reach out any time you need.

    Hugs to you xxx
     
  • Cath62
    Cath62 Member Posts: 1,336
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    Hi @Ktre, this is the hardest time as it is so overwhelming and the unknown treatment ahead is all scary. You can do it, you are strong as evidenced by reaching out here. Everyone has given good advice to you above. One step at a time, keep busy if you can and get some walks in if possible but also allow yourself to rest and recover. 

    Take hubby or someone to your appointments. I took my husband and it was helpful as sometimes it's hard to take it all in. Write your questions down for when you see your dr. Take notes if you need to. Ask the dr about counselling. It is important and it helps to process it all.  Once you have a treatment plan you can build the online tool to suit your needs. You can always phone bcna and someone would help you set it up. Having a treatment plan made me feel like I was getting somewhere. 

    My other suggestion is think about who you share all this with, you need people who support you and if friends or family want to help, take that help up. Even ask for help that you want or need. Do you need help with hanging up washing or housework or meals? If people offer just accept it as it can be hard for your whole family too.

    Take time out with hubby. He loves you and he probably has no idea how to help. Give yourself time to adjust and hubby too. Does hubby need to talk to someone as well or together. Just another idea. 

    Stay in touch and let us know how it goes and what your treatment will be going forward. It is different for everyone as everyone's cancer is different. 

    Best wishes and sending you a big hug xxx 🌻
  • noosa_blue150
    noosa_blue150 Member Posts: 211
    edited August 2021
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    Just a thought - Do you have access through your local,library to a on line site for books and magazines called LIBBY .I agree with Arpie and sue_w that Liz’s book and blogs are excellent value and the Liz O’Riordan book is available on LIBBY online to borrow .
  • Ktre
    Ktre Member Posts: 95
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    Thanks so much everyone for your support and advice, I will definitely look into all that you have suggested and will touch base at the end of the week
  • Halla
    Halla Member Posts: 185
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    Good luck with your test results @Ktre…it’s all a bit of a whirlwind at the beginning isn’t it! 

    I’ve had surgery and rads, and have booked into psychologist at the Peter Mac, it took a while to get an appointment , but I’m looking forward to it. 
  • arpie
    arpie Member Posts: 7,742
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    Hope your appt today went well @Ktre - maybe try & look at your scars as 'battle scars' - you faced the monster & battled it & won! xx 


  • Ktre
    Ktre Member Posts: 95
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    Have not jumped on here for quite some time, nearly two years, Wow how things have changed since that time. I am now stage IV as my cancer moved to my liver, at the appointment after surgery I was told of discovery in lymph nodes. I had a full auxillary clearance and was sent for full bone scan and MRI and full body CT. Results from scans showed 5 spots in the liver, they were unsure if it was cancer as spots were small- too small to do biopsy on and not viable for surgery as to far apart . I was already booked in for chemo to start so oncologist wanted to go ahead with this and if chemo affected the spread them that's was confirmed stage IV.  Kept thinking and praying it was fatty liver.... Chemo (red Devil) started, 3-4 months of 4 sessions every three weeks, lost my hair by the second session, nausea and tiredness main symptoms. Husband had lost his job so I had to continue to work casually from home when I was on the off weeks of chemo (he found a job not long after) at the end of chemo had another scan on the liver.... 5 spots had gone to three stage IV confirmed. I was devastated diagnosis was December 2021. Started medication palbociclib and letrozole day after boxing day, have been through two fairly bad depression stages but am currently doing ok. Coming up to two years since original diagnosis, current scans show spots have depleted to very minimal (little scar of one spot) blood levels have dropped, neutrophils at 1.2 at the moment, did go below one for two weeks, bloods done every month, scans every 4 months, oncologist every 2 months. Side effects, bone ache,  thin hair, tiredness, diarrhoea. Have had covid twice but thankfully not to severe and anti virals are amazing. My life has definitely changed and am currently starting process of deciding if I go down reconstruction path, have met breast surgeon who can do two types, either the Lat Dorsi Flap or tissue expansion and implant. Have a lot of research and thinking to do. Hope everyone on here is doing ok
  • Blossom1961
    Blossom1961 Member Posts: 2,415
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    @Ktre Sending big hugs. That mets diagnosis is certainly shattering. You just start moving on with life again, then bam.  Allow yourself the bad days. I used to fight them but found accepting them was more healing. I have a lot more good days than bad. I have moved on to accepting my new normal. I have an infusion every three weeks of targetted therapy. I am starting a new job soon and just so long as I keep my calendar by my side, I can stay organised. All the best. Do what works for you.
  • arpie
    arpie Member Posts: 7,742
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    I am SO sorry to read of your Mets diagnosis, @Ktre - that is great that the treatment has done what it is supposed to do xx  I am so glad you are going 'ok' tho depression would be a natural side effect sadly.  xx

    Great that hubby was successful in getting another job - and I hope you don't have to work too hard either.   Shame about the covid - but great that the anti virals helped reduce the side effects xx

    Have you joined the Mets Group? It is a private group, where you can raise any issues in total privacy xx  

    We also have the 2 surgery groups ... Choosing Breast Reconstruction - and Flat Chat (for those who opt to remain flat.)  Feel free to join those two - for all the pros & cons of both xx

    Don't forget you can ring the Helpline 1800 500 258 & chat with the Mods Mon-Fri, if you'd like to ... 

    I think we have a couple of members in Ballarat too .... you might like to meet up for a chat & coffee, too xx

    Take care and all the best for your ongoing treatment xx
  • Ktre
    Ktre Member Posts: 95
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    Thanks @Blossom1961, yes acceptance and going with the flow is my new norm. Living life and loving it at the moment, work is good and side effects manageable so that's good. Family have adapted and we are living life as best we can... Yes definitely need a diary of calendar with work, so many things to stay on top of with appointments etc. Hope you are doing well xxx
  • Ktre
    Ktre Member Posts: 95
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    Hi @arpie, thanks for the info, yes have joined the Mets group, will think I did, I got a spam notification when I posted so unsure if it went through, would love to meet up with Ballarat people who have the similar diagnosis, how do I go about looking for them, haven't been on here much, will also look into joint recon group and flat chest. It's a huge decision to make. Hope you are doing well, have a good day
  • arpie
    arpie Member Posts: 7,742
    edited April 2023
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    Hmmmm - that's weird to get a spam notification, @Ktre!! 

    @Mez_BCNA ... can you check if Ktre is a member of the Mets Group - and maybe help her get into the Recon & Flat Chat groups too? xx

    Yes - big decisions for you - and the 2 groups will be able to show you before & after pics & how & what they went thru to 'get there' xx

    Re meeting up with others in your area - Maybe put a post up re Members in & around Ballarat?  Hopefully, they would jump on & you could have a mini meetup?  I've met up with a few members who've passed thru my area - and even travelled to Darwin, to meet up with another good buddy from WA!  We had a heap of fun.

    I just did a 'search' of BCNA for Ballarat & this interesting stuff popped up ....
    https://onlinenetwork.bcna.org.au/search?query=Ballarat&sort=-dateInserted&scope=site&source=community

    Do you have a McGrath Nurse?  There is a BC support group in Ballarat too xx
    https://www.ballaratpinkphoenix.org.au/index.php/support

    take care xx