Overcoming cancer is not the end of the road for many cancer survivors. No matter how well your treatment worked, how well you’ve handled yourself throughout the situation, and how relieved you feel to know you beat cancer through treatment, you might experience a myriad of emotions you weren’t expecting once it’s a;; over. You thought you’d feel nothing but relief and happiness, but the surprising amount of emotion you can experience is common for cancer survivors. Don’t worry about these feelings. Instead, learn how to appropriately deal with your emotions when treatment is over.
Fear of Recurrence
Breast cancer recurrence tests are what you dream of when you’re first diagnosed with cancer, but the reality of these tests might change when you’re a survivor. No longer are you looking forward to the day when this is your biggest health concern. Now you fear they might bring you news you never want to hear.
What if I have cancer again? What if it’s worse this time? What if I can’t afford to go through another round of cancer treatment financially, physically, or emotionally? There are many fears associated in the wake of recovery, but you must learn to handle these fears appropriately so they don’t make it impossible for you enjoy the rest of the life you fought so hard to keep during recovery
Acknowledge Your Feelings
Do you feel afraid, scared, relieved, upset, and even confused because of these feelings? It’s not uncommon, and there are many ways you can help yourself deal. One way is to let yourself feel. Don’t be afraid of your emotions or your feelings. Acknowledging them allows you to really feel them, embrace them, and let them go. When you allow yourself to feel these things, you allow your body to come to terms with them. This helps you let go of the feelings before they consume you.
Take Care of Your Physical Self
Caring for your body allows you to feel better about life. Working out, exercising, and being active is beneficial for your body and your mind. Working out releases endorphins that relieve stress and anxiety, and it helps you relax and handle your emotions more accordingly. In addition to relieving stress and anxiety, your physical activity also allows your body to recover from cancer treatment to become stronger and more capable.
Eat A Healthy Diet
If you want to take some time to enjoy all your favorite foods once treatment is over and you’re finally able to stomach them again, do it. You deserve a chance to indulge in what you want after all you’ve been through. Just remember to eat these in moderation otherwise. A healthy diet is great for your body when you’re recovering from treatment. It helps your body regain strength and power, and it helps you build your immune system.
Eating well also helps you feel in control of your body. You’ve been unable to control so much of what goes into your body for so long through treatment, and eating a healthy diet is a small form of control. You’d be surprised just how much you benefit from this feeling of control. It’s encouraging when you’re a new survivor.
Never Miss Appointments
The anticipation of seeing the doctor for annual exams, follow-up tests, and other appointments is scary. You might not want to see the doctor for fear he or she will bring you more bad news regarding your health, but these are the most important appointments you’ll go to. Go to them. Don’t cancel or reschedule. Go and talk to the doctor, see what you can do to help your fears, get healthy, and work on your future.
If there is something wrong, it’s better to have it diagnosed now than later. The faster something is discovered, the easier it is to treat. You want to put yourself in a place where nothing will ever come at you full-force ever again, and seeing the doctor for your scheduled appointments is necessary to avoid this.
Make a List of Things to Do
One of the most common forms of stress in new survivors is the sudden realization the world did go on while you were focused on your treatment. You spent months or even years of your life focused on nothing more than getting through another round of treatment, making it another day, and simply surviving. Suddenly you are a survivor, and everything in life needs your attention once again.
The kitchen still needs an update, the house could use a fresh coat of paint, the kids are struggling in school, and you’re overwhelmed with all the fun family activities you want to do now that you missed during treatment. Make a list of what is most important to you and what you can handle easily. Start there and work your way through the list a little at a time. It’s not healthy to let these things stress you out, so get ahead of the curve before they take their toll.
Understand Depression and Anger
When you cannot find any happiness in life and you cannot seem to find a reason to want to live, you might be suffering from depression. It’s not uncommon in some cancer survivors, and you must speak to your doctor about this. Not everyone suffers from depression, though. Some people face exceptional feelings of anger and resentment toward their friends and family rather than depression.
These feelings are normal. Your entire world changed and here they are living their lives like they always did. They want you to get out and do things, they might not always understand when you’re tired or how you’re feeling, and you might allow that to make you feel resentful that they don’t know what you went through, what you’re going through, and what you fear.
This is when it becomes important for you to find a group of people who do know. Finding a support group filled with other cancer survivors helps you talk about your feelings with people who’ve experienced them firsthand. Support is more important now than ever before, and you shouldn’t feel bad about needing it.
Cancer survivors are strong and capable people, but they often need just as much help as anyone else. It’s not always the happy time you envision as you go through your treatment, and that’s all right. Knowing you have an uphill battle to face ahead of time can make this season of your life a little easier.