Moving Forward: Making sense of the Future

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Moving Forward

This article will explore those realities and offer some suggestions on how moving forward into a “normal” life with success can work.

There are many factors that may play into post-treatment life. Some people may have been living in a bubble, while others were more aware of their surroundings and circumstances. The stressors and anxieties that existed before cancer treatment will continue to exist after chemotherapy treatments end. It is important for survivors to be aware of how they can best manage the anxiety and stress of everyday life post-treatment.

Start by being honest with yourself about your needs, desires, abilities, limitations or fears (i.e., what you need help with). Consider having an action plan ready so that when new stresses come up you know what steps you will take next. Some people manage the stress of post-treatment life by defining “missions” to accomplish and time limits for each mission.

The time is NOW

This is the best time to really understand and reflect on who you are and what you’ve been through. To do this, you may need to clarify your priorities. Are there things that are less important in life? For example, what used to be a top priority such as work and money may no longer have the same value. Many people prioritize their health after cancer and realize they want more out of life than just working so hard. It is important to make room for new priorities and start realizing them.

After cancer treatment, it is important to pay attention to your body’s needs. Look at things you enjoy doing in life that you put aside because of the pressures of priorities.

There is no right or wrong way to deal with the stress that comes after cancer treatment. But here are some suggestions that may be helpful:

Learn to take care of yourself

You might not know how to take care of yourself after treatment. Learn how to balance your own needs with the needs of others. It is important not to take on too much responsibility for other people. Try to be clear in defining what you need and want from them. Survivors often walk on eggshells after treatment because they are afraid of saying or doing something that may hurt another person’s feelings. If you are feeling uncomfortable, talk to the person directly. Explain that you would like things to go back to the way they were before treatment.

It is OK to say “No”

Just because someone has asked a favor of you doesn’t mean you have to do it. It is important not to take on too much and learn how to say no. Saying no isn’t always easy, but it is an important life skill to develop that will allow you to have more energy and time for yourself.

It’s Ok to ask for help

After treatment, many survivors mistakenly believe that they need to “go it alone”. In reality, asking for support and assistance can make a huge positive difference in your life. It is important to learn how to ask for help when you need it. Don’t hesitate to ask friends, family, and professionals for support and assistance.

This time in your life provides a chance for self-reflection that may not come so easily at another time. This can be difficult because of the stress of post-treatment life. Remember, it’s important to take this time to reflect on what you have been through and how it has changed your life.

It may be difficult, but try to enjoy every day of your life. Don’t let the stress of post-treatment life and fear keep you from experiencing joy in your life. Life is too short not to live a happy and fulfilling life.

It’s OK to forgive yourself (if you need to)

It is important, to be honest with yourself about what your needs are. You might find as you go through treatment, your priorities change, and may be difficult to accept this in yourself. Try not to judge yourself for changes in your life after treatment. Do not let guilt get in the way of enjoying your life. If you have been through something difficult such as cancer and have to forgive yourself for anything, it is important to learn how to forgive yourself. This powerful tool can help you move forward into the future with a positive attitude.

Embracing A Growth Mindset

It’s important for your mental health that you stay active and find a hobby or activity that will give you some sense of control and achievement.

For example, Getting Into A Healthy Routine…

What is a healthy routine?  A healthy routine will be different for every person, so it is important to think about what you want and need in your life. To start making a plan to create changes that will help you live a more fulfilling and health-oriented life. I recommend creating a list of things you value (such as health, relationships, happiness, spirituality, or your career). Then thinking about what you need to do to increase those values in your life.

Most people end up with many goals on their list that all sound great. But studies have shown this approach can invite discouragement when progress doesn’t happen immediately. So I recommend starting small by setting six smaller goals that matter to you and achieving them over the next three months.

But what if you feel stumped for ideas on how you can do this?

Here are a couple of ideas to get you started:

·         Join a group (for example, a yoga class or meetup) that encourages healthy habits.  You can also join online groups and communities.

·         Start simple by being more active (walking, running errands) throughout the day.

Your Choices Matter

The Idea and intention is as you reentering the world, keeping your choices as simple as possible.

Here is where the growth starts. You can do more after you have some time under your belt to reflect on what the cancer experience means to you.

Start by slowly adding activities back into your day (dancing, spending time with friends, taking a walk) and see how you feel.

Once you’re feeling a bit more confident about your recovery, try to add another activity or two into your daily routine.

Add one thing at a time so if you feel overwhelmed or anxious, you know that the problem isn’t your cancer.

As you continue to add activities into your daily routine, remember that they should fit with who you are at this stage of your life. You might find a new hobby or change careers during this process. If you experience a setback (don’t worry, they are normal), take some time to reflect on how you’re feeling.

Stress Management

Identify potential sources of stress (e.g., finances, work problems, personal relationships).

It is important because it is a way to reduce stress and to be more productive.

The act of identifying these issues is an important part of the stress management process. But again, this takes time and a willingness to understand what causes stress. And this can be difficult because you might have to do something about how you deal with other people. If you can identify what causes stress and work on this, it should reduce your tendency toward anxiety.

Getting the support you need

This comes back to “It’s Ok to ask for help”. It is important to find a balance between self-reliance and getting help. Many people feel like they should rely on themselves and not on others. But that may lead to running yourself into the ground, which can create more stress as well as physical health problems. So if you find that stress is taking over your life, it’s important to recognize this and ask others for help.

And this takes time, so don’t expect results overnight. If you are looking for support from a medical professional, it can take years before you feel like he or she understands what you need. This is also true when friends and family members are involved. And it can be more difficult if you don’t have close relationships with others.

Just remember, it is ok to ask for help!

Finding your comfort zone

Solutions can be found or worked on to address these potential problems.  They can also provide you with a sense of control over your life, which will help reduce the amount of stress that you feel as well. The better you are at controlling these factors, the easier it will be to reduce your stress levels.

Stress management isn’t just about reducing anxiety: It is also about improving how you feel about yourself and being more productive each day. If you can reduce the amount of life-related pressure that you have, then it should be easier for you to focus on the things that really matter.

The idea of finding your comfort zone is mentioned because it can be a useful way to reduce stress and anxiety. The problem is that most people don’t know how to do this or even what it involves. As we have discussed, dealing with stress is about making changes in your life so you have more control over your daily routine.

But there is HOPE

Dealing with feelings of panic and stress that come with cancer is difficult. When there’s a lot going on in your life, it can be hard to focus on your emotional well-being. But there are ways to reduce the amount of stress you feel.

I had a tough time after finishing my chemotherapy treatments for cancer. I had trouble managing my emotions and would go through periods where I wasn’t able to sleep because of all the thoughts that were running through my head. It was overwhelming.”

Eventually, I found a way to manage these feelings by having clear goals for what I want to do in the future and practicing mindfulness techniques each day.

There are also some things that I am able to do to keep my stress levels down. For example, I can exercise regularly and take care of myself by eating healthy foods.”

I know that it’s not easy to deal with cancer-related stress. But there are things you can do to manage these feelings so they don’t rule your life or cause a setback in your fight against cancer.

About the Author

Todd Franzen is a Stage 4 Lymphoma Survivor. Living in Breckenridge Colorado

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