Five things that people don’t like to talk about regarding life after cancer

Being a cancer survivor is both a relief and a challenge in its own way. While you might feel incredibly grateful to be alive, you might face a set of circumstances you never imagined — ones that perhaps never occurred to you as you supported someone you loved through cancer.

Here are just five things that people don’t like to talk about regarding life after cancer.
1. When you get to the other side, you won’t believe it. At least not at first. There is always a small part of you that thought you wouldn’t make it through, and you will likely live with the shock for a while.

2. It’s difficult to just “move on.” While people around you will be incredibly supportive during your battle, once you reach remission, they won’t all be able to understand why you can’t just “go back to normal.” You will be a different person. Your views on almost everything will change. Be open and honest about what you’re feeling, and reach out for professional help if necessary.

3. The guilt is real, and you will feel it. Why did you live and others die? There is no answering this question, but your feelings of guilt are valid, and it is not wrong to feel them. You oncologist will be able to refer you to counselors or psychologists should this mental struggle begin to affect your daily life.

4. The worry of going out of remission is real, and you will also feel this. No matter how many fulfilling, happy years go by, you might always have fears of your cancer returning. This can be real struggle. Studies show that survivors often deal with depression, anxiety, debt, lack of job opportunities and fear of romantic relationships. Keeping open lines of communication with your family, friends, doctors and even psychologists can make a difference.

5. You might struggle with the phrase, “I beat cancer.” The fact of the matter is that it is not that simple a task. It is not a battle that is always won by the most courageous. Some people can do everything right and still lose their battle with cancer.

6. And you will feel as if you can’t talk about it. You might believe you are supposed to feel grateful. The truth is that you will be dealing with a lot. Talk about it. Let people know your struggle is not over — even though your physical health has improved.

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