Today is National Cancer Survivors Day. A day for celebrating life and drawing attention to the ongoing challenges cancer survivors face. With more than 15.5 million cancer survivors in the US and limited resources and support available to survivors, it’s important we raise awareness of the challenges and increase the support.
Empowered Survival will be celebrating throughout the month of June by providing new online resources for survivors, new blog posts/discussions and ending the month with a 7-day vibrant life challenge for survivors.
If you know anyone else who could benefit from this we hope that you will share this with them. Not all cancer survivors experience physical and/or emotional after effects from a diagnosis of cancer and it’s treatment but statistics show that about one in four do experience one or both of these.
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!
Some people may get cancer, have treatment and don’t have any side effects. Cancer becomes a temporary interruption for them. For others, it changes the trajectory of their lives. The physical and emotional side effects can change the quality of life for many people.
For many this can be a very lonely place. It’s quite common for cancer survivors to suffer in silence. Once treatment is over, the hair grows back or they’ve been told they are in remission many friends and family members think all is well. They look good …so everything must be fine, right? Often survivors are afraid to let people know they are struggling because family and friends have already been through so much with the diagnosis and treatment.
The American Cancer Society reports that one in four survivors experience decreased quality of life due to physical problems brought on by treatment and one in ten experience emotional issues such as PTSD, depression and anxiety.
There is a huge gap after diagnosis and treatment where survivors that face any emotional or physical side effects get lost in the cracks.
This is the group of people EMPOWERED SURVIVAL reaches out to.
The population not being served adequately… Living as a Survivor.