After the disappointment of the cancellation of the reconstructive surgery, I finally managed to find and made an appointment with a plastic surgeon with a good reputation for post breast cancer reconstructions who was willing to address my concerns.
In passing he mentioned that the breast reconstruction I had been given ‘served a purpose’ (that’s possible, but I can’t help wondering if no reconstruction at all would have been less traumatic because the original plastic surgeon might have been more able to accept how I felt). He also told me that some women were perfectly happy with reconstructions that he would have thought were considerably less acceptable than mine’ but that he understood why I felt that what I had was unacceptable. He told me that my breast could ‘definitely be improved’ and described several other ways that both position and appearance could be made more acceptable before suggesting that replacing the the saline sack with shaped silicon. He said that we should try this less drastic form of surgery first (it’s what I was going for anyway) and that if I was still unhappy after 2 years we could discuss whether to take other surgical options.
Unfortunately, for reasons beyond my comprehension this NHS referral didn’t mean that he could schedule the surgery. Despite working with my GP and following exactly what the MacMillan nurse had advised, he advised me that I needed to jump through further hoops to be considered at all. It was clear to him and the nurse present that I was distraught with the idea that I’d have to wait even longer for corrective surgery and they assured me that full transfer to the hospital (which I thought had already been achieved) and operation would not take more than a couple of months.
It’s now more than 3 months since I received that assurance, over a year since the chemotherapy regime ended and 19 months since the operation to remove the breast cancer and reconstruct a breast. After at least two letters from my GP, transfer of my oncological treatment to the same hospital and a messages from me I spoke to the new plastic surgeon’s secretary last week. I get another appointment next week and gther I have to go through the distress of describing what is wrong, showing them and explaining how upset I am yet again. More pain and distress, the reward for which will not be an appointment but that I’ll be put on the waiting list and a wait of more miserable months.