Others Are Willing To Help
In addition to talking with your doctor, your nurse, and the people closest to you, you may also want to talk with other women who have had similar experiences.
As described earlier, Reach to Recovery is an American Cancer Society program designed to help patients meet the physical, emotional, and cosmetic needs related to breast cancer and its treatment. Women who have had mastectomies volunteer to participate in the program by sharing their experiences with others. All volunteers are carefully selected and trained.
If your doctor authorizes a visit from a Reach to Recovery volunteer, she will contact you about an appointment while you are in the hospital or shortly after you go home. When you get together, she'll bring a kit containing a temporary breast form and information for husbands, children, other loved ones, and friends. She'll be prepared to discuss all aspects of mastectomy, including your personal concerns. Programs vary from city to city, so contact your local American Cancer Society chapter for more information.
ENCORE is a national YWCA discussion and exercise program for women who have had breast cancer. This once-a-week, 90-minute program consists of floor and swimming pool exercise sessions and group discussions. Contact your local YWCA for more information about ENCORE.
If informal approaches to dealing with your feelings don't work, consider professional help. Psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, nurses, and religious counselors can help you adjust.