Cancer can negatively impact your life and take a toll on your physical and mental health. This is why medical practitioners recommend their patients to undergo “life after cancer treatment” programs. These treatment programs equip you with the right tools in your arsenal to help you battle post-traumatic stress disorder and other side effects.
Several studies suggest that cancer survivors have to undergo life after cancer treatment programs to cope with:
- Fears of recurrence
- Understanding their feelings
- Finding a new normal
- Adjusting to a cancer-free life.
Defeating cancer may be the happiest moment for a cancer patient. However, they also have to understand how to resume their routine lives with specialized treatment programs.
Here is a brief overview of a traditional and standard treatment program for cancer survivors to assist them in getting back to their routine lives.
What Can You Expect Post Cancer?
Cancer survivors always feel excited and happy about their future lives. Defeating cancer is often viewed as a miracle, and cancer survivors find comfort and relief in knowing that their treatment is finally over. The majority of cancer survivors feel gratitude and happiness for their future life. However, there are often uncomfortable and unwarranted emotions associated with life after cancer.
Fear of Recurrence
One of the most common emotions for cancer survivors is the unnerving feeling that cancer can cripple their lives once again. People believe that if it happened to them once, it could easily happen to them again. In addition to this, cancer survivors feel that they are not ready to go through the immense pain associated with cancer.
One of the topmost ways to deal with this feeling is to schedule regular follow-up tests and screenings. You should know that these feelings will go away eventually. However, one of the best ways to deal with fears of recurrence is to continuously check-up with the doctor and go for regular health care programs. Regular tests and screenings will boost your confidence and help you get over such fears.
Physical Appearance Issues
Another most common fear among cancer survivors is that their physical appearance has changed significantly. If you have ever seen a cancer survivor, you must have observed some major physical changes in their appearance. If cancer patients undergo intensive chemotherapy sessions and medication programs, they start losing hair on different parts of the body and also lose a significant amount of weight.
In addition to this, changes in diet routine and sleep patterns can also lead to weight loss and physical appearance changes. Therefore, a lot of cancer survivors are concerned about their physical appearance in public. They worry about the way they look in public and how others perceive them.
According to professionals, an excellent way to deal with physical appearance concerns is to get back on a healthy diet routine. You should not place immense pressure on yourself about your physical appearance. It is best and wise to take things one step at a time.
This is why you should start by sticking to a healthy diet routine. Once you feel comfortable about your body mass, you can consult with a general physician or a dietitian to add regular workout sessions to your daily routine. Similarly, you can also get in touch with a skincare specialist to understand how you can promote healthy hair growth and get rid of pale skin.
Anxiety and Depression
You may think that all cancer survivors must feel happy and excited once their treatment is over. However, this is not entirely applicable to all cancer survivors. Some patients often undergo intense anxiety and depression issues once the treatment is over.
The reason behind this is that those cancer survivors are not completely sure about their future lives. They spent a major part of their life dealing with cancer and medication. Therefore, they are unsure about how to deal with a cancer-free life and what to do with their future.
Some patients also feel sadness and depression after the treatment is over. This is a direct result of the major changes in their lives due to their battle with cancer. Therefore, adjusting to changes and cancer-free life is not always a happy journey.
This is why professionals recommend joining support groups for cancer patients and survivors. People come together in these support groups and share their inspiring stories that can motivate others to enhance their lives positively. Similarly, cancer patients and survivors also understand that they are not alone in this battle, and there are other people out there who have gone through similar challenges.
In addition to this, cancer survivors can also take advantage of cancer-oriented therapy sessions with a psychologist. The psychologists are trained in understanding the mindset of cancer survivors and how to help them. This way, cancer survivors can let a professional help them with their respective journeys once the cancer treatment is over.
I am sure that you must have come across the term survivor’s guilt at least once in your life. This term is widely used in movies, dramas, and other entertainment shows. Survivor’s guilt refers to the feeling of guilt commonly found among survivors of major trauma or accident.
There are times when survivors believe that they should not be alive or do not deserve a second chance. They believe that others should have been there with them, and they do not deserve to be alive. In addition to this, survivors also blame themselves for their respective traumas and feel bad for surviving.
The first step towards dealing with survivor’s guilt is to acknowledge these feelings. By acknowledging your feelings, you can let everything out in the open. Instead of bottling up your grief and guilt, professionals recommended that you should deal with everything openly.
It will help you understand where these feelings stem from and the true reason behind them. This way, you will be able to deal with the root of all problems. Moreover, once you understand the root of your guilt, you can finally let it go and get started with your new life.
Rage and Anger
Anger is yet another common symptom for cancer survivors. Some people feel sad for themselves or experience survivor’s guilt. In contrast, some people experience anger and rage.
Mild irritation or frustration is a common side effect among cancer survivors. Instead of being happy about their new life, they constantly feel angry and irritated by the time they have lost to cancer. This is why they never truly realize the second chance that awaits them.
According to doctors, a certain amount of rage and frustration is normal for cancer survivors. However, if you continuously experience high amounts of rage, you will need to seek help to overcome your feelings. If you waste your entire day thinking about the lost time, it is time to seek professional help.
One of the topmost and proven ways to overcome anger and rage is to invest your time in yoga and meditation activities. You do not have to put any pressure on yourself, and you can get started with gentle meditation activities from the comfort of your bedroom. Similarly, you can also visit a psychiatrist who can prescribe antidepressants or mood enhancement pills for you.
The Emotionless State
There are also cancer survivors who do not experience any emotions at all. Emotional numbness is a rare side-effect for a lot of cancer survivors once the treatment is over. Some doctors believe that the immense amount of pain during the treatment period slowly takes a toll on a patient’s ability to feel emotions.
Some cancer survivors often feel unable to handle any more emotions once the treatment is over. This is why they shut down their feelings and stop accepting any emotional input. In addition to this, some cancer survivors also stop reacting to emotional situations and events in their life.
It can slowly lead to bigger problems. If cancer survivors continuously go through emotional numbness, they can lose their will to live. They can also lose their motivation to do anything else in their life.
If you are also experiencing emotional numbness, you should see a psychologist. If you want to take charge and handle things yourself, you can invest your time and resources in zen-oriented practices and yoga. Such exercises can help you open up to emotional input and enable you to resume your normal life.
What Are Some Good Tips for Life After Cancer Treatment?
Surviving cancer is the first step towards a new life. You have to learn how to adjust to a new normal and resume your routine life. Here are some proven and beneficial tips that can help you with life after cancer treatment.
Support Groups and Group Therapies
You should invest your time in support sessions and group therapies. There are support groups specifically designed to accommodate the feelings of cancer survivors. The support groups largely consist of patients and survivors who support one another through different ordeals.
When you listen to other patients describing their journeys, it can motivate you to become better and take charge of your life. Similarly, it will also help you to know that other people also have challenges with their life after cancer. This way, you will not feel alone, and you will be better prepared to handle any challenges that come your way.
Group therapy is also a great way to come together as a community and deal with your problems in a unified manner. This way, you do not have to have a one-on-one session with a psychiatrist or a psychologist. Therefore, you will not feel alone, and you will feel comfortable knowing that there are other cancer survivors to help you with your journey.
Spiritual and Religious Help
Spiritual and religious help is also a great way to deal with life after cancer. Some people find their strength in religious activities, which can motivate them to become better in their future lives. Similarly, spirituality and religion can help you find your place once the cancer treatment is over.
Some people find a renewed sense of faith while battling cancer. Some people find a renewed sense of religion after their battle is over. Regardless of your discovery, religion and spirituality can serve as a founding pillar to motivate you towards making the best of your second chance at life.
The newfound faith and religion can help you make rational decisions in life. This strength can also help you stay away from negativity and welcome positivity into your life. This way, you will be able to make the best of your future life.
Journaling is among the best ways to deal with negative thoughts and feelings of uncertainty. Once your cancer treatment is over, you may undergo a wide array of unfamiliar feelings and emotions. Journaling can help you identify your feelings, keep track of your emotions, and also allow you to deal with new emotions in a better manner.
If you are unwilling to share your feeling with another person, a journal is the best way to deal with your feelings. You have to let everything out in the open and put it in black and white. When you start jotting down alien thoughts and emotions, you will understand them in a better way.
Once you start understanding your thoughts and emotions better, it will better equip you to deal with them positively. Journaling can help you alleviate anxiety and deal with uncertainty. Let your pen do the talking and free your mind.
The Bottom Line
Cancer is among the most stressful things for a human being. However, life after cancer can also be quite daunting for cancer survivors. This is why you have to understand how to deal with your second chance at life and resume your routine life without any issues.
Life after cancer treatment and therapy sessions can help you adjust to a new normal. If you feel uncertain about your place and purpose in life, such treatment programs can familiarize yourself with a new normal. You can regain your courage and invite a positive purpose into your life with such treatment options.