Why you still need support after treatment
As you near the end of treatment and start to feel better, it's easy to think that you're done with chemotherapy and radiation. You've done what was asked of you, now it's time to move on with your life. But that's not the case! The reality is that this journey never ends. You will always need support—not just from your friends and family but also from professionals like doctors and therapists who understand what you are going through. Here are some reasons why:
You are not alone
Finally, you are not alone. You have a community of people who care about and support you. Many others have gone through the same thing as you and are willing to help out in any way they can. Don't forget that there is always someone to talk to if needed!
It's a big change
When you’re in treatment, your life changes dramatically. You have a new way of thinking, feeling and acting. Your physical health changes as well.
You may start to experience new feelings like fear or anger that you will relapse. Or perhaps the emotions that were buried under treatment and survivorship come out at full force now that treatment is over?
You will experience side effects for years
Part of the problem with side effects is that they can change over time. Many people find that their symptoms get better after a few years, but others continue to struggle with them for much longer. Even if you're feeling better, it's important to know that there are many potential side effects from cancer treatment and some may not be noticeable until months or even years after treatment ends. While some side effects are physical in nature—such as hair loss or fatigue—others affect your mental health and emotional well-being.
Your support system is important
Support is a vital component of the recovery process. Your family and friends can help you stay on track, while a support group can provide an additional layer of accountability.
But it's important to maintain your own self-care as well. You don't want to become dependent on others for everything during this difficult time, so it's vital that you take care of yourself by setting boundaries with your support system or finding a support group if necessary—and other ways in which you can best ensure that you are getting the assistance you need without being too dependent on others.
Get help after treatment to avoid burnout
It can be easy to forget that you're still recovering from treatment.
While it's a relief to have the cancer behind you, there are many ways in which your body has been altered by surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. All of these changes can make you feel tired, or even drained emotionally—which is why support groups and systems are so valuable for people who have just finished their treatment!
To avoid feeling overwhelmed, it's vital that you maintain good energy levels. This means taking care of yourself both physically and mentally. You'll want to focus on stress management techniques such as exercise, relaxation techniques like meditation or yoga, sleep hygiene (like keeping your bedroom dark), eating well-balanced meals with plenty of fruits and vegetables…and so much more!
And don’t forget to stay on top of your regular visits with your primary physician and oncology team.
It can be difficult to know what to expect after treatment. We hope this article has helped you understand what is normal and how to cope with it. If you're having a tough time, know that you are not alone! You have a whole team at your disposal, including the people reading this right now. So please don't hesitate to reach out if you need help or advice on anything related to cancer recovery: we're here for all our readers 24/7/365!