Cancer and the Aftereffects
The impact of cancer can last for years after the actual diagnosis. This can impact your self-esteem, your relationships, and sexuality. It can increase a feeling of vulnerability, relating to a sense of being out of control.
Every year, thousands are diagnosed. Despite this, the experience of being a survivor can be extremely isolating. This is true especially at the time of treatment, and the time directly after.
Cancer survivors have unique experiences. They have to contend with their mortality in a way that most don’t have to, until later in their lives. They have to contend with being ill, and the shame-felt experiences that can come with this.
Survivors also have a unique experience of seeing how others deal with their illness. People contend with the illness of loved ones in different ways. Some people feel comfortable offering support. While others struggle with this, and can even avoid the topic or person.
All of these experiences can leave scars. In fact, they can even leave open wounds. Cancer can cause a traumatic experience that can impact you well beyond the time of a diagnosis. This can lead to anxiety and stress. It can lead to a sense of isolation. It can also make a person who has had cancer feel like their current feelings shouldn’t be shared.
Cancer also can involve extreme changes in the body. Those who have gone through cancer treatment can face a new life with amputations and organs removed. The treatments can cause organ damage and neuropathy. All of these experiences can have serious emotional impacts as well.
Finding wellbeing after treatment
When treatment has ended, rediscovering wellbeing can be a challenge. In this journey, sharing is extremely important. Even when others don’t understand you, many people will try. Through sharing, you’ll get to feel the love that others can offer you.
Mindfulness can also help. Understanding the body responses and the body mind connection can help with coping. It can also help with emotional identification. With this, you can identify the sources of your current emotion. You can also use this knowledge to implement strategies that can be used to counter feelings of extreme vulnerability.
Trauma therapies such as Somatic Experiencing and EMDR can also offer help for the actual traumatic leftovers. Whether you’re coping with the post-treatment symptoms of chemotherapy or radiation therapy, or the diagnosis itself, these therapy modalities can offer help. You can work through the blockages that prevent you from moving forward.
Progress is a process when being a survivor. It takes time to process through the ebbs and flows of emotion after treatment. Remember this isn’t something that you should have to do alone. At the same time, this is an experience that is specific to survivors. Therefore, support is extremely important. Over time, and with support, the times of flow will seem longer, with fewer interruptions.