Since you’ve finished your cancer treatments, you may be feeling a little lost. There are so many unknowns ahead of you, and it’s hard to know where to start. Often, people, I work with explaining that it feels like they have been “dropped” by their oncologist and are left saying, “Now what?”
This blog post is here to help guide you through the next steps in your life after cancer. You’ll learn about some of the challenges you may face, as well as how to adjust and thrive in your new normal. Take it one step at a time, and don’t be afraid to ask for help along the way. We’re here for you!
Points of view
Let me share some important perspectives of people trying to re-engage in life as a cancer survivor and some key things you’ll want to know to improve your quality of life and avoid recurrence.
When people are going through cancer treatment, there is a structure to follow consisting of various doctor visits and treatments that become the center of one’s schedule. Almost all the focus is on killing cancer and how effective the treatment is while making sure the toxicity of it doesn’t become fatal.
Nonetheless, when people finish this phase, they have a lot of unaddressed concerns. On top of that, they don’t have that much support to help deal with the next all-important phase centered on the emotional and physical fallout and how to reclaim one’s health, strength, and purpose.
People who are cancer survivors often feel like their doctor didn’t tell them everything they need to know about preventing cancer from coming back. This is the main complaint I hear constantly from them. They wish they had been told more about nutrition and what they can do differently.
You see, cancer care is reactive medicine like the western model. This type of care focuses on treating acute (sudden) symptoms or illnesses. This means the focus of care is on the illness we have at the moment and what drug we use to treat it. And then that’s it. A lot of people who go through it feel like they’ve been dropped in the middle of the ocean and are just trying to keep their heads above water. It can be a lot to take in, and it’s easy to feel like you’re not getting the support you need.
Moreover, there’s nothing proactive or preventive, so a lot of people who go through it feel like they’ve been dropped. They may think: “I don’t have anyone to work with me and now my biggest fear of all is that I’m going to get it back. Plus I’ve been given no tools to help me prevent it.”
What to expect after treatment?
Some common side effects of cancer treatments are neuropathy and limited mobility because of pain, overwhelming fatigue, and hormonal imbalances that affect mood, sleep, and weight gain. They may have questions and fears about taking yet another drug. If you’ve had hormone-sensitive cancer, your post-treatment may include suppressing your hormones even more. This causes even more of an imbalance. Many women do not want to take these drugs, but there is no one to talk with them about this.
It’s so important to work with someone right in that window right after treatment to detox you from the negative impacts of the treatment.
This detoxification includes not only nutrition and toxins in your environment. It must also encompass mental, and emotional toxins; stressors that can change DNA and lead to mutations. You want to work with people who understand that you are now in a different subculture of people. You are now somebody who’s had cancer, and that has a huge impact emotionally. This is rarely discussed.
You can also learn how to prevent the comorbidities of cancer and cancer treatment. The vast majority of people who’ve been diagnosed with cancer ultimately have high blood pressure at some point. A big portion of them says they have a poor quality of life after cancer, relative to the same age group who have not had cancer.
There is a lot of work that goes into getting your mind ready. Many people, especially women, aren’t used to putting themselves first. They’ve taken care of their kids, and their parents on top of maybe being the breadwinner too. They simply don’t know how to or feel comfortable, putting themselves first.
Dedicating oneself to coming back stronger after cancer is really a great opportunity to learn more about yourself: to grow and to put yourself first. You must have a guide to help hold you accountable for making changes because, let’s face it, our default to put everyone else first is too strong and often won’t follow through. This will eventually get you lost and frustrated losing hope. We don’t want that to happen.
Cancer is a life-changing experience, and it’s not over when treatment ends. Coming back stronger after cancer can be an amazing opportunity to learn more about yourself and grow in ways you never thought possible, but it takes work. That’s where we come in. If you’re ready to dedicate yourself to reclaiming your health and strength, schedule a free discovery call with us today. We would be honored to help guide you on this next chapter of your life journey.
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