When I was first diagnosed, my medical background made me more prepared than most for the physical and emotional challenges of cancer treatment. What blindsided me were the medical and emotional issues that arose after completion of treatment.
Back in 1991, little was written or talked about regarding post-treatment survivorship.So I explored this new field and then wrote about it.
After Cancer. A Guide to Your New Life outlines the many possible causes of post-treatment distress and offers guidance on steps you can take to help yourself.
For example, emotional distress after completion of treatment is common and totally understandable. I encourage you to take comfort in knowing:
- The problem(s) may be at least partially physical. The effect of your illness -- including hormonal changes, cancer therapies, and ongoing medications – can change the chemistry of your brain in ways that lead to the spectrum of unpleasant feelings commonly seen in survivors.
- Most problems are treatable.
- Many problems are temporary and will improve with proper guidance, support and treatment.
- Nurturing your body can help your emotions, such as by eating well, sleeping well and participating in doctor-approved exercise.
- Engaging in activities that reliably lift your spirits may help.
An overriding theme is to avoid being alone with thoughts and feelings that are distressing. Healthy Survivors know how to get advice and support for difficult times.