During diagnosis and treatment many of us cling to mantras such as Fight Like
a Girl and Pink Warrior to give us strength and courage. We use them to help us get through the shock of diagnosis and treatment. We push through these stages with all our might. Our focus, our concentration is all on fighting this thing. We look forward to that day when it will all end. The interesting thing is that when it does…when the all the tests, the surgeries, chemo, radiation are all done we can feel very alone and unsettled.
Most people think you’re done with cancer when the treatment is over and your
hair grows back. But the truth is, that’s when things start to get real interesting.
After treatment is when the REAL work starts. As a cancer survivor, you’ve
had a lot happen to you and now the reality of all of it is sinking in and you start
to process it all. Your brain and you body are playing catch up as it were. Some
women after treatment are dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
or disconnectedness, depression, anxiety, fear of recurrence. Others still, facing late-term side effects such as bone density loss, neuropathy, cognitive issues and more. According to the American Cancer Society, one in four survivors – have experienced decreased quality of life due to these kinds of physical problems – problems brought on by the treatment, not the cancer. One in ten, have experienced decreased quality of life because of some of the emotional problems listed above.
I remember my surgeon telling me that the diagnosis and treatment is
difficult for sure but living with it the rest of my life would be the most difficult.
At the time I really had no concept of what she was talking about and when this
time came there was no one around to help me through it. Following breast cancer
treatment, whether after radiation therapy or chemotherapy, most women do experience a mixture of elation, fear, and uncertainty. We have had little preparation and information to guide us in our recovery from treatment. This posttreatment transitional period can definitely be a time of considerable distress. And so many of us are left to say……I SURVIVED cancer… NOW What?!
Life after treatment may be different than before your diagnosis, but it doesn’t have to be a “less than” kind of life.
Check out the Empowered Survival retreat at EmpoweredSurvival.org/retreats Rejuvenation, healing and new knowledge and tools to help you create a cancer resistant body and live a beautiful, vibrant life!