Your treatment is over and now begins a new step in your journey: life after cancer. No one forgets that he, she or a loved one once had cancer. After remission, you may still feel anxiety about your health and fear that the cancer may return. This is especially true when you:
- Feel symptoms, even when they turn out to be unrelated to cancer
- Need follow-up visits
- Return to your doctor's office or the hospital — places where your most frightening memories may have taken place
- Reach a five- or 10-year anniversary of being diagnosed or being in remission
Physical and Emotional Adjustments
You may feel elated when your cancer treatment ends. Some people may expect to return to feeling normal very quickly. However, many people find that this feeling doesn't last. This is a normal reaction. Don't put pressure on yourself — or let others put pressure on you — to be upbeat and positive. It may take some time for you to heal physically after treatment, and until that happens, you may not be able to heal emotionally.
Many survivors progress to a "new normal." The experience of cancer may affect your perceptions of yourself and the world. You may feel a sense of vulnerability that you never experienced before you were diagnosed. Adjusting emotionally is a process that takes time. Expect ups and downs. But you may also find that, in some ways, the new normal is more rewarding and gratifying than the old normal.
Cancer survivors say they're sometimes afraid. But they feel less afraid when they focus on things other than their illness. They also share a peace that few other people know. Survivors can often enjoy the many ordinary moments that most people ignore. Cancer survivors often say that different things are important to them now. Others say they feel better equipped to handle anything life brings.