So you have been through the diagnosis and treatment for cancer and are now standing at a new threshold of life. The disease and the treatment have obviously affected you not only physically but also altered the way you think about life, the people in your life and the way you generally go about things on a regular basis. As your treatment ends, it is natural to have mixed feelings. It is very important that you take care of your feelings and emotions as well as you take care of your body after cancer treatment.
Taking care of your health
That the cancer might come back could prove to be the biggest health risk you face. This fear may become the biggest drawback which rules your life, keeping you away from eating or sleeping well and enjoying your life. This might take a toll on your emotional health, too.
Other health problems could be problems in sleeping (too much or too less sleep), palpitations, dry mouth, a weak digestive system, fatigue coupled with aches and pains, low immunity and slow physical reactions. You need to take all these into your stride and adjust your diet or routine in such a manner that you can have a normal life even with these problems.
Think about the life ahead in a positive manner and channelize your energies towards getting back to a normal routine as early as possible. Get back to your job, your social life and keep yourself physically as active as you can. You can also join a gym or yoga or dance classes to stay physically active. Exercise also reduces stress and improves sleep quality, along with boosting self-esteem, immunity and metabolism.
Eat well, have a balanced diet, get adequate sleep and continue going for your follow-ups. The more you keep yourself engaged, the less you will think about the disease coming back.
Taking care of your feelings and emotions
Cancer and its treatment leave people feeling lonely, bitter, angry, sad and depressed. These feelings might recede with time, but for some people these feelings carry on for a long time and may become obstacles in their personal and professional lives.
After treatment, you might make the mistake of comparing yourself with others and feel depressed or upset about how you are still not able to do ‘normal’ things. You must do only what is right for you, not what others are doing.
You might have a hard time focusing or concentrating on anything and might even have suicidal feelings sometimes. You can talk to your doctor if you feel your emotions and feelings are going overboard and your life is getting complicated because of this. A therapist can help you overcome depression and take control of your emotions.
There are also other issues like weight gain or loss, hair-loss, mastectomy (for women), which change your normal physical appearance and affect you emotionally also. Your cancer care team can be of help at this stage also. You can keep in touch with them as well as your support group so that you can share your experiences and learn from others’ experiences. This will take time and immense patience, but it is very important to not give up.
Faith could prove to be the pillar of your life which will see you through these testing times. You may try prayer and meditation to calm yourself. Keeping a journal to record your experiences is also a god idea. You could prove to be an example for others who are battling cancer and can contribute to their battle in a positive manner.
Take the help of your partner, your family, friends and colleagues, and be in touch with your doctors. Express your feelings before them and also look at the positive side of life. And before anything else, be proud of yourself for being a fighter and beating a lethal disease.