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Saturday, 24 September 2011

Aftermath of Cancer

I read an interesting article in Fabulous Mag regarding life after Cancer, it focused of 4 women with various types of Cancer.  They were talking about what happened to them after they had completed their treatment when their lives fell apart.
 It sounds crazy right? You are told you have beaten Cancer and then your life falls apart? Shouldn't you be over the moon? Get back on track, start living?

For me I guess I can relate more to this because of previous experience, when I lost my husband it was a completely traumatic event and not only did it destroy my life it also defined it for a long time - I was a Widow and after a while that was all I was.  I didn't know how to be me again, I lost myself, everything I was was swallowed up by the intensity of the grief and loss.  I was so focused on this one event that I disappeared and it took over a year of counselling and many ups and downs to get the bare bones of me back.

I now find myself in a position where this could potentially happen again, it could happen to anyone with any illness who recovers - you go through this intense treatment and your entire will becomes focused on getting well and beating your disease then just as suddenly as it begins, it stops, you are well, you have beaten it - have a nice life.

After such intensity is it any wonder people feel lost, depressed, angry?  When it all ends and you can stop and catch your breath of course you are going to try and make sense of everything that has just happened and I think that is where there is a big void in the treatment available.  I mentioned side effects in my last entry and its important to remember that the side effects from Cancer are not just physical ones.  It concerns me that there does not seem to be any real care available for people who's whole identity is altered by their battle, and for them the fight does not end when they get the all clear.

I have no idea how I will feel once my treatment ends, maybe what I have already been though has made me able to cope better with the psychological effects, I don't really know.  I do understand though how people can feel, I already fret about how my life will continue after I am finished with my treatment - will anyone want me for a girlfriend? will I get a job easily? where will I live? will the physical side effects cause me problems?  But on the flip side of this I already have plans to travel and what kind of job I want when I'm ready, I can't plan too far ahead right now and I know whatever is meant to happen will when I'm ready for it.

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