I attended Pink Revolution’s health and wellness lecture on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 titled “My Treatment is Over, Now What?” by Dr. Ellen Sharenow, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at UMass Memorial Medical School and Lynn Gerrits, MA, RMT, Manager of the Simonds‐Hurd Complementary Care Center of HealthAlliance Hospital in Fitchburg.
There are many reasons why the end of treatment is a difficult time for survivors. Others expect you to be "done" or have cancer "behind you". Unfortunately it's not that simple. The bottom line: IT IS NORMAL TO NOT FEEL NORMAL AFTER THERAPY FOR CANCER!!
So what are the solutions?
Give yourself time!! It might take AT LEAST one year after all treatment is finished before you feel significantly better.
Be accepting of where you are and hopeful things will improve with time.
Take care of your body.
Set aside time for yourself and the things you enjoy doing.
Accept there may be a “new normal” for you.
Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Manage expectations—not only your own, but other’s around you.
Set limits—be assertive and realistic in expressing what you can manage both at home and at work.
Some view cancer as a gift—what are the positive things that came about from this experience?
Practice mindfulness—live in the moment.
Realize how much you are loved.
Utilize support networks and groups—TALK about what is going on.
Consider individual, couple, and family counseling.
Check in with your medical team. Do you need medications for pain, depression or anxiety?
Check in with your social worker if you need help with financial issues.
Consider complementary treatments.
Practice good nutrition, exercise, stop smoking, and get a lot of sleep and rest.
Have small goals and take small steps.
Ask for help if you need it—not only from professionals, but also from family and friends!
Manage your time and energy levels—rest in between short bursts of work.
Have something to look forward to.