Once you are through treatment you will transition from being a patient to a survivor.
Many of us have a feeling of let down once treatment ends and we move on to regular checkups.
While in treatment you feel you are actively doing something about your cancer, but once treatment ends we have time to emotionally deal with our diagnosis and what it means to our lives.
You may also have questions about what lifestyle changes you should undertake to give yourself the best life possible.
How anyone deals with the aftermath of a cancer diagnosis is as individual as we are.
While one person may go from being a couch potato to running marathons, another may feel depressed and hopeless.
There is no right or wrong way to deal with the survivorship phase of our cancer journeys but there are some things that are reported to help no matter what your response.
Emotional Issues common to cancer survivors
- Depression: While for many a feeling of anger and sadness can linger after treatment it can for some develop into depression. If that happens it is important that you talk to your health care professional about getting help overcoming your depression.
- Fear of Reoccurrence: Fear of reoccurrence is very common every ache and pain can make you fear the cancer has returned. Time will help this fear lessen but it may never completely go away particularly around the time of a checkup. For most of us while you think of it, it becomes a less dominate fear as time goes by. If you find that you are preoccupied to the extent your fear is impacting your life talk to your health care professional about getting help dealing with your feelings.
- Stress: Stress can take many forms for a cancer survivor, financial, social, work to name a few. Once treatment is over you have all the things you didn’t get done while dealing with the cancer waiting for you. Don’t feel like you have to do it all at one time, slow and steady is better than crash and burn any day. Again if you feel that your stress is dominating your life talk to your health care provider about getting help dealing with your feelings.
- Things that can help: Talk to your doctor about what you can do to improve your health and cut your chances of a reoccurrence. For many this is a good time to take a look at their lifestyles and make changes or exercise and diet can be a good place to start.
Go to all of your checkups, even if you are stressed because you are worried about a reoccurrence not going will only make that fear worse in the long run.
Admit to yourself that the stress is there and find ways to deal with it; a cup of coffee with a friend, meditation or a long walk can help.
Write a journal or blog, such as the one on our website. Getting your thoughts out and into words helps a lot of people.
Keep busy; too much time to think about your fears can make them feel more intense.