First and foremost, “surviving” cancer is amazing. After all, cancer is one of the deadliest diseases in the world! So, if you are a survivor, you are indeed worthy of praise.
There are many types of cancers out there. One thing that they all have in common is that they are a result of uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells anywhere in a body. Early detection of cancerous growth results in a good prognosis as there is nearly no definitive cure for any form of cancer at its late stages.
Again, whether yours was at its late-stage or not and you survived, you are a winner! At this point, you should hold no reserve about cancer resurfacing and instead THRIVE.
Now that you have survived cancer, the next step is reintegration back into society and doing the best you can to thrive while doing so.
1. Battle your fear & anxiety head-on
Long after getting cleared of cancer, survivors have to fight an emotional battle of fear and anxiety. No matter what the medical reports say about their health status, there is the seemingly never-ending fear of the cancer returning.
This emotional turmoil is insurmountable and almost never avoidable unless you normally just have a strong will. You must quench this fear so that you can thrive. A chat with your doctor is vital. Disclose whatever concerns you have about your health. Your doctor may even schedule frequent testing and care plans to make you feel better.
2. Be devoted to your physical therapy sessions
Cancer is usually for the long term. So, when the health providers eventually manage to get rid of all the cancerous growths, you may be left with a physical limitation like immobility. Such a physical limitation may make life less enjoyable, thus your doctor’s statutory recommendation for physiotherapy.
Be dedicated to treatment sessions and work closely with the physical therapist as well as your loved ones. Don’t be afraid to ask for continued support as you heal.
3. Try a new hobby
Don’t rush to get back to your old self before cancer. Try to enjoy the process more by finding new sports or leisure activities that fill your time.
So, instead of getting mopey and worrying over cancer resurfacing, try knitting for a change, go golfing, try swimming! There is nothing too small or too big to try, and the main goal is to get you taken by any activity other than sitting down and getting paranoid.
4. Consider returning to work
A defining part of getting reintegrated back into society after cancer is a career. If you were working before cancer, going back to work can help redefine your life.
If you weren’t, try finding a new skill or going job-seeking. This gives you a sense of normalcy, but even better, it occupies your time! Remember, one of the most important ways to thrive after a battle with cancer is to not dwell on the past and simply enjoy the moment.
5. Find intimacy with your loved ones
There is nothing better than speaking to people who genuinely love you. Such emotional talks are sure to renew your confidence and help you build strong emotional support. If you are dating or married, it’ll help a great deal to bear your thoughts before your partner. Keeping it all inside won’t help and may even make you distant from them.
6. If possible, start exercising
Numerous benefits accompany exercise. These range between boosting your physical endurance to giving your mental health a much-needed boost.
Aside from that, nothing beats that sense of accomplishment that comes with completing an exercise session every day. Before starting an exercise regime, tell your doctor; and you may have him refer you to a physical therapist with knowledge of care for cancer survivors like you.
If you are strong enough to exercise independently, start small with home workouts and build your way up to going for a walk at the park and then the gym.
7. Make A List of Your Fears
This is on emotional terrain. Write down your deepest fears about life after cancer or what you think may prevent you from enjoying this new phase. This may include fear of the cancer returning, fears about your health overall, concerns of satisfying your partner in bed like you once did, fears of losing your job or doing poorly at it, and many more others.
No matter how many they are, penning these fears down on paper can help you tackle them. After writing, you may even discover that some of these are so insignificant and shouldn’t be any trouble. Either way, you are tackling these problems head-on.
8. Let go of the past
This is an essential task if you want to thrive following a battle with cancer. Letting go of the past may be harder for people who have been fighting bouts of cancer over a significant number of years, but there is indeed nothing better than finding a new you.
Cancer puts a dent in your mental health, so it may pose a challenge to let go of your history. If this is you, speaking to a counselor or even your doctor will be beneficial.
9. Accept that there are going to be bad days
It is a part of living to have good and bad days. As a cancer survivor, you can’t escape this, and you may even be more vulnerable, having battled one of the world’s deadliest diseases. As you strive to get back to normalcy, you have to realize that not every day will be good and that the process may be a lot harder than you expect.
An optimistic attitude and never giving up are crucial to overcoming the dismay or depression that may set in when you’re not successful at something you try to do. You can also create a backup plan for such days e.g., take a walk with your partner, go to the cinema, etc.
10. Share your experience with support groups
There is nothing like working closely with people who have had similar experiences with you. Whether they are still battling cancer or not, speaking to others about your own experience surviving the disease will give them a ray of hope. It will equally do you a lot of good.
Resource links: www.aicr.org, www.curetoday.com, www.inovanewsroom.org.
Cheryl Hearts is a passionate journalist from Boston, Massachusetts. She decided to dedicate her life to writing because she thinks this way she can be the most useful for the community. After obtaining a Master’s degree in Journalism, Cheryl started running her own blog CherylHearts.com where she’s covering topics of great interest to society.