There is no longer any normality in your life. Your days become filled with appointments, scans, tests, treatment and even when you don’t have any you are counting down the days until the next appointment or scan.
If you are lucky you have family and friends around you to support you and look after you. Sometimes though, you just want to be alone. You don’t want reminding that you need people to do things for you. You get tired of having to rely on others to do things you used to do for yourself without a second thought.
If you live alone and have no support structure around you it can make it so much harder to cope. The feelings of not having anyone to help can make dealing with treatment so much harder.
Even when treatment has ended, things sometimes don’t get any better. The feeling of abandonment can be hard for some patients to deal with when the safety net of regular appointments end. Some have likened it to being “left out to dry” or forgotten about.
Sometimes patients rush back to work too soon in an effort to feel more like the old you but this can sometimes have a detrimental effect. Our bodies have been through a lot and it can take a long time, both physically and emotionally to recover so it is important to remember that and listen to your body. It can be hard to try and take a step back again once you have returned to work but found it too much to cope with. Better to wait until you are fully ready before returning.
Some patients also face pressure from family and friends to “move on” after treatment and this can also cause problems. Friction in the family is the last thing you want when trying to deal with cancer and everything that throws at you.
Finding support is a useful way of dealing with everything. Talking to others who have been through a similar diagnosis and who “get it” really does help. Whether that be in a group setting or via an online group – find what works best for you and don’t struggle on alone.
Above all, don’t let cancer take over your life completely. See it as a phase that you work through and come out the other side, which you will do eventually. Things change; people change. We have to accept that and learn to grow from it.
You will always be you though.