The concerns of managing delayed effects of treatment, regaining your energy levels, and healing emotionally do take time. These factors have a strong influence on how effectively you can relate to the people around you as you move towards life after treatment.
It is worthwhile, during the treatment journey, to think of how you can best make use of your time. You may decide to connect with your close friends by inviting them to accompany you during chemotherapy. Some patients reach out to their wider social network via social media, letter-writing or making meaningful phone calls.
Connecting with Your Family
During the cancer treatment process, there may be role reversals within family members. For example, the patient’s husband may become the children’s main caregiver while the patient recuperates at her parents’ home. As you enter survivorship, you begin by preparing your steps towards independence and reverting to your original role in the home. Although often undermined, this stage requires some emotional adjustments.
There may be times where family members are unaware that recovery takes time and may impose unrealistic demands or expectations upon you. There may also be situations where family members are overprotective towards the cancer survivor. You may feel mollycoddled and stifled. It is imperative to keep communication channels open and discuss your discomforts and limitations with your loved ones. Be specific in expressing the level of support you need from them and the time needed for you to ease back into your role.
You may want to discuss with your family:
Initially, you may feel uncertain or hesitant to get in touch with your friends and colleagues. People generally mean well; however, they may be unsure of the right things to say or have no idea how to offer support. There are some who may choose to avoid the cancer topic totally.
You have a choice of whom you would like to reconnect with. You may consider the following stategies:
There are times where you may find it difficult to share your feelings with friends and family. Attending a cancer support group can be an empowering experience. Participants of support groups have the shared experience of battling cancer and can empathize with you in a more tangible manner. You may be able to find sense of belonging and be inspired by the stories of other fellow survivors. Through the opportunity of sharing your cancer journey experience and exchanging learning points on adjusting to life after treatment, you may grow in awareness, regain a sense of control and reduce your feelings of helplessness.