So, you thought you were done?
Have you ever been in situations before and heard yourself say ” I sure thought I was done with that!” Well, I hear many survivors with the same response when they complete their cancer treatment. This time in their cancer journey seems to be one of the hardest for many survivors and is a time that often triggers depression. It’s especially hard because well-meaning loved ones and friends are so happy that their friend is doing better and in a very different place. I hear many survivors say that have feelings of confusion and guilt and cannot celebrate this important milestone. A survivor recently described this well by saying that cancer doesn’t end when treatment does. This is especially true when a survivor has a cancer that recurs frequently. (We’ll talk more about this in a later post).
So, what gives? How can we manage this difficult time? As with most situations, there is no one way to handle this but there are resources available to make it better. Think of this time as a bridge or transition period and recognize it will be full of ups and downs. Probably the first thing I encourage survivors to do is to take a moment and try to objectively evaluate your feelings. Trusted friends can be great in helping us do this. Meeting with a caring professional can also be a great help. At our cancer support center, we have therapists available to help. My friend, Terry, organized an organization called ACT (After Cancer treatment http://www.meetup.com/After-Cancer-Treament/) which supports survivors in transition by offering activity based healing support. I have participated in a bimonthly support group and this has been a huge support for me. These are just some examples of ways to make this very difficult time one of healing for your body and soul.
Have you experienced a time that your end of treatment wasn’t “The End?”