When treatment ends, you’ll find that you have new concerns – about how to view life. This may include treatment-related issues and worry about recurrence. Additionally, you may have changed during treatment and now see the world in a new way.
Finding your new normal takes time…and we are here to support you along the way. Below, is helpful information to support your journey.
Living as a survivor
Living as a survivor can be defined in many ways. Each person is unique, but there are three general ways in which to describe a survivor, based upon their experience at the time.
The first description is called “acute survivorship” which is when the patient is being diagnosed and/or is in cancer treatment.
The next level, immediately post-treatment, is called “extended survivorship” and this is usually measured in monthly increments.
The next step after extended survivorship is referred to as “permanent survivorship”, which is measured in years. There are many complexities to survivorship.
Life after treatment
Life after treatment is very different than before your diagnosis, and it is also very different during your cancer treatment. Many aspects of your life have changed. Your appearance may be different, you may not be working, your finances might be more complex, and your relationships with your friends and family may have changed.
In addition, you may have feelings of anxiety or guilt, you may need time to get back to your previous activity level, or you might need to build up your strength and endurance to return to work.
However, as overwhelming as this may seem, there are many resources for cancer survivors, from support groups, to individual therapy, to vocational and financial counselors you can use to help you in your new life and new identity.
Also, you may consider giving back to those who helped you through your experience, or you may want to help others with their battle with cancer. Life after cancer is an adjustment, but there are so many programs and resources in place to help you build your new life.
You may have survived cancer, but you also may have an increased sense of guilt. You may feel guilty for many reasons: