BC, Bipolar, and Freaking Out

*I apologize for posting twice. I posted this as an answer in an old thread and then realized I needed to start a new topic if I wanted any responses. Sorry. I am new to all of this:

Just saw this thread and am hoping it gets me thru the next few weeks. I have Stage 3b and am scheduled for a mastectomy this week, so I am freaking out with anxiety. But what really has me going insane is an oncologist who insists on bringing up a bipolar diagnosis from 30 years ago and telling me I need a shrink. (And putting stuff like this in her notes.) I fired my last oncologist for the same reason. Bipolar doesn't define me any more than my cancer dx does. Why is it so easy for a medical professional to stigmatize someone instead of empathize with them because the BC sword of Damacles is hanging over their head? Do they not understand that one does not need to be bipolar to freak out over all that we are going through? Has anyone else had this problem? I find it insulting, kind of unethical, discriminatory, and not at all helpful. But maybe that's because I need to "take my meds"? Lol Anyway, please wish me luck. I've never had major surgery. Or general anesthesia.

    Comments

    • jhl
      jhl Member Posts: 172
      edited February 2022

      Hi SalliesMom,

      I'm sorry you are here with us in your diagnosis and are facing surgery soon. I don't want to offend but I do feel your oncologist & surgeon have valid reasons for suggesting you having a psychiatrist. Cancer of any type is emotionally and mentally draining for all of us. Breast cancer has an added component of the potential of disfigurement which adds to depression, anger and can damage our self esteem and identity. This diagnosis, treatment and the changes in how we view our future can destabilize even the most even keeled among us. If I had a diagnosed mental illness, I would want my psychiatrist onboard to help me navigate my mental health while oncologists and surgeons do what they are trained to do. It is far beyond the scope of practice of an oncologist and surgeon to treat a serious mental illness. Many oncology practices will have a psychiatrist available whose area of specialty is the mental health of cancer patients.

      To put it in a bit of perspective, it is very common for oncologists & surgeons to refer breast cancer patients to cardiologists in the event the patient may need a medication which can put his/her heart at risk. This is true even if the patient had a heart problem years & decades prior. They want the best physician to treat &/or advise on a potential problem rather than be suddenly faced with a complication.

      Of course, your physicians may not have been the best in their manner or delivery. All of us should be treated with compassion and empathy. I am sorry if these physicians were not sensitive to your situation. I wish you the very best as you go forward. Reach out to the many women and men here whenever you want or need. Many of us have had our mental health shaken when we received our diagnosis.

      Be well,

      Jane

    • SalliesMom
      SalliesMom Member Posts: 16
      edited February 2022

      I called a psychiatrist. I told him I'm tired of being treated like I'm invisible. He said he couldn't see me right now.

    • cowgirl13
      cowgirl13 Member Posts: 760
      edited February 2022

      Sallie, I send you a private message.

    • SalliesMom
      SalliesMom Member Posts: 16
      edited February 2022

      "I didn't know panic attacks could cause bleeding and low blood pressure".

      AWESOME answer. You go, girl! I'm gonna find a way to work that in somewhere! Thank you!

    • SalliesMom
      SalliesMom Member Posts: 16
      edited February 2022

      My surgeons are world class and highly understanding. Its the medical oncologists are the problem. Probably comes from dealing with patients they see as a composite of microscopic cells rather than as whole people.

    • alicebastable
      alicebastable Member Posts: 1,923
      edited February 2022

      Before treating cancer, oncologists want ANY other medical condition under control or at least looked at - diabetes, high blood pressure, heart and circulation problems and several others. I had to get some of those checked, plus a few other kind of unique ones that came up on a CT. Having an update on any condition is pretty standard.


    • SalliesMom
      SalliesMom Member Posts: 16
      edited February 2022

      "Having an update on any condition is pretty standard".

      I have no problem with a doctor being thorough. I insist on it. I was describing a completely different situation. HUGE difference between an M.D. asking for an "update" on one's medical condition(s) and not asking for an "update" and, instead, making assumptions or jumping to offensive conclusions. That is the point I was trying to make.

    • alicebastable
      alicebastable Member Posts: 1,923
      edited February 2022

      By "update" I meant the MO would want the patient to see the doctor who handles the other condition IF the patient hasn't been seen recently. They can tell by the electronic charts if the latest information is recent. I still don't see that it's that much different.