For many cancer survivors, the period after their last treatment is expected to be a breath of fresh air. Expectations are high, as they might expect to walk out of their doctors’ office to hear birds chirping and a chorus of cherubim singing in excitement. Unfortunately, many cancer survivors do not feel this instant satisfaction; instead, it’s quite the opposite.
You want to be happy, but you’re not. You’re suddenly not sure who you are anymore. You try to pick up and get going again, but with different energy levels it’s no longer an easy task. You may not have any desire to go back to the same job or do the same things with your free time. Friends and family members want you to go back to how you were before the diagnosis, but things have changed. You might not be able to get out of this rut at first, and that proves extremely devastating because you had set your sights on complete joy and freedom by this point
Doctors don’t always address these feelings, so patients may wind up feeling lost or angry with themselves. Women feel especially isolated; it takes energy they don’t have to explain to friends or family members why they don’t feel well. This creates a rift in many relationships and tension soars. Relationships need mending, and that can sometimes be too much for someone who doesn’t initially have a lot of energy to spare.
What can you do to get out of this dance? If you normalize the situation for yourself, you can rest-assured that you are not crazy! Expectations need to be reevaluated, fears need to be addressed and new normal goals should be set. Slow down; take it a day at a time. Don’t look too far ahead and be OK with having a day without a lot of energy. Survivors need to be who they need to be without having to explain it to anyone. It is normal to carry these feelings over from the last treatment.
By easing back into a new normal schedule, you will get those rewarding feelings that you’ve been anticipating. Counseling is a great support system, and the
What methods have you or a loved one used to lift yourself from these negative feelings?
~ Julie, Buddy Kemp Cancer Support Center