After getting to this point, you may expect recovery to be smooth sailing. In our experience it was anything but that.
For months, you have been focused on survival and managing the physical aspect of your illness and treatment. Once treatment stops, it is very normal for you to feel overwhelmed and unmoored as you begin processing the trauma of your cancer experience. This is completely normal.
The most valuable resource we found to help us with our healing plan was the book, Picking Up the Pieces: Moving Forward after Surviving Cancer, written by Sherri Magee PH.D and Kathy Scalzo, M.S.O.D.
It is important to continue working work with your medical team during your recovery. Be sure to ask your oncologist if there is a support group available to help you transition to living life after cancer.
It can take time to physically recover from the effects of your cancer treatment. Some common problems you may experience are:
Work with your medical team to determine what a healthy fitness program looks like for your recovery. You may also be eligible to work with a physiotherapist to help regain strength and mobility,
Healthy eating is an important component to recovery and wellness. Check to see if your Cancer Centre has a dietician that you can speak with.
The feelings, emotions, worries and fears you are experiencing are valid. It is important to remember that everyone's experience with cancer is unique. Some common feelings you may have are:
Three books we found helpful and informative:
Often, your recovery will take longer than treatment did. This may come as a surprise to not just you, but also to your friends and family.
Navigating relationships after cancer can be complicated. There will be people who showed up for you that you never expected and others that left you feeling hurt or disappointed by their absence. We recommend seeking the help of a professional to help you reconcile your feelings and sort through the unique complexities of your relationships.
After facing a life threatening illness, your perspective on spirituality may change. For some, spirituality is a strong foundation that supports them through treatment. For others, a diagnosis may cause a spiritual crisis.
We recommend being open minded to whatever form of spirituality appeals to you. This may not align with your beliefs before having cancer, but it is okay to adopt something new as part of your recovery.
Books we found helpful: