Adjusting to life after cancer treatment


The emotions that kick in after cancer treatment can be surprising; after all, you’ve come through the worst, and you’re out the other side, ready to get on with life as a cancer survivor. However, the emotions aren’t always completely positive, even though you may have discovered that you’re stronger and braver than you ever thought, and that your relationships with friends and family are better than ever. Your life has changed, and there’s no going back to exactly the person you were before.

One thing common to most cancer survivors is excitement about the future, and a huge sense of relief that invasive and unpleasant treatment is over. The relief can combine with a sense of urgency to complete that bucket list after all, but this time with the knowledge that there will be time to enjoy the experiences, rather than the bittersweet knowledge that you’re possibly on a deadline.

Less often talked about are the negative emotions; the sense of loss that even though you’re well again, you are no longer the person you were.  There may even be anger that you had cancer in the first place, and fear that if you’re no longer undergoing treatment, that your cancer could return at any time. Additionally, you may have had to take a lot of time away from work, or even have left your job to concentrate on fighting cancer; even if you are otherwise financially secure, you might experience concerns about what your function in the workplace might be, or even if you have one any longer. There could even be elements of guilt – over the burden you think you might have been for friends and family, over surviving when people you met during your treatment have not, and that you feel you are still being treated differently by people who know what you have experienced.

Some people may feel nothing at all. There is tendency, when under great stress, for the brain to shut off emotions, or to supply inappropriate emotions. This can be confusing; you know that you shouldn’t be reacting to a situation in this way, but you can’t tap into what is appropriate. You may even find yourself pretending to feel a certain way, whereas you actually feel the opposite, or even nothing at all.

Cancer is life-changing. Even an initial diagnosis where the cancer is detected early and the prognosis is good can be terrifying. The treatment can be unpleasant and even make you feel worse than the illness itself. At The Christie Clinic, you will receive treatment for every stage of your cancer, from diagnosis to all-clear. With no waiting lists, you know that you will be seen as quickly as possible, and will be given the best chance to beat every aspect of cancer, from the disease itself to the unresolved emotions you have after treatment, giving you the help you need to adjust to life after cancer.


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