After Treatment, when the “Head” Game starts

The other survivors and my oncologist warned me about this. It happens when your adrenaline stops pumping, when you no longer live moment to moment but you start thinking as far in advance as the next day or the next week. The “head game” starts when you no longer see your oncologist every other week for chemo, or when you finish radiation and you no longer see a medical professional at least once a week. Now what do you do? Being a cancer patient was your full-time job. You are thrilled treatment it’s over but you have mixed emotions.  The doctors and nurses are no longer there all the time to encourage you and tame your fears. And your friends and family think you’re done with treatment so you must be back to “normal” and your fine.

This is when you have time to think about “the what if?” And you now have time to think about what you went through. Holy shit! Did I seriously just do all of that? I found that this is the time you need to talk with the other survivors before you and process everything. This can be the hardest part emotionally besides the time of your diagnosis. Tell your friends or spouse you need to talk about it.

You are not whole yet, and that is ok. You will be, but you need time. I went to a 6 week class that they hold at Dana Farber in Boston for after treatment. I found it hugely helpful. Unlike non-gynecological cancers, breast cancer is an attack on who you are as a woman, your sense of self. The class was run by a social worker and we talked every week about a different topic, nutrition, depression, our sex life. Everything we wanted to talk about but didn’t know where to start.  But if this is not available, seek out other survivors who had your type of cancer and treatment. They will cheer you on, and show you that you will come out the other side. Hang in there. Believe or not, There will be a time when you will find it hard to remember the details of what you have been through.