They Never Told Me About This - Living with the Side-Effects of Cancer Treatment
When we are diagnosed with cancer, information comes at us fast and furiously. We have tests that tell us what type of cancer we have, whether it has spread to other parts of the body or not and what type of treatment is recommended to us. At this point, we are focused on getting rid of the cancer as quickly as possible and hopefully being able to recover fully and return to our lives.
When treatment options are presented to us, it is generally a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Our doctors share with us the types of drugs they will use, how long the treatment will take and the possible side effects. These are the things that everyone fears; nausea, hair loss, physical exhaustion and brain fog are just a few of them. We work out deals in our heads about how we will get through the treatment and gather all of our strength and support around us.
But… What happens when treatment is over? Are the side effects supposed to gradually disappear? Does the hair grow back? Will it look the same as before? What about the side effects that remain even after treatment? Has anyone discussed those with you?
Many times, people who have gone through cancer treatment are left with long lasting and/or permanent side effects of their experience. I think that most of us work really hard to accept them and go on with our lives as best we can, but we don’t often have a place or support to discuss them.
We Need to Talk about How we are Living Post-Cancer Treatment!
We need to be able to share how we have had to adjust our daily lives to accommodate the changes in our bodies. This can range from how we eat and digest our food, to constrictions in our bodies due to scar tissue, bone and joint health issues, neuropathy and sexual health issues. We often need help in figuring out how to navigate these concerns and have little follow up within the medical community to assist us.
I think it is important to have a place to share these concerns and get help and advice about them, rather than quietly suffering alone with our issues.
In my next few blogs, I am going to ask for people to contribute what their struggles have been like and how we can support each other through them. It is my hope that we can be more out in the open with the fact that post cancer living isn’t always so easy.
You can submit your experiences or questions that you may have to my direct messages on my Facebook, Instagram, or send me an email. Submissions will remain anonymous if discussed in my blogs or on my social media.
I encourage you to share your story; you never know who might be going through the exact same thing with no support or resources.