Breast Cancer Awareness: You’ve Survived Breast Cancer, Now What?

After you’ve survived breast cancer, you might be aching to hit the ground running and get back to your “normal” life. But after the long days of treatments are over, there is still a lot of change coming as you find your “new normal” after surviving cancer.

It takes time to recover from the aftermath.

When you’ve finished your last treatment and your doctor’s visits go from weekly to monthly to yearly, you might expect to finally get back to feeling 100%. But your body has gone through a war — physically and emotionally, and that is going to leave lasting marks in a few ways. Sometimes you’ll feel tired and worn out without a reason. Other times it might be hard to focus and remember specific details (sometimes called “chemobrain”). No matter how much or little you experience them, it’s important to know that these symptoms are a normal byproduct of your treatment. It will take time to recover from your treatment, and part of that might mean coming to terms with a new normal. 

A good rule of thumb is that your recovery period takes about the same time from your first “cancer scare” moment to the date of your last treatment. Even after that, it might still take some time to stabilize and fully recover.

Some Women Struggle To Feel Feminine

After double or partial mastectomies, many women have trouble perceiving themselves as feminine. If you are struggling with this, know that you are not alone and it’s okay. Attend a support group and find breast cancer survivors you can talk to. Chances are, you’ll run into someone who is or has previously gone through what you’re feeling and can help. The most important thing is to talk to people around you who can help. It’s hard not to feel isolated and alone, so keeping these lines of communication open is critical. Remember that you are healing on your timeline and learning to love every part of this new, healthy you will take time.

Breast Cancer Survivorship Is A Marathon, Not A Sprint.

Even though you’re out of the woods, there’s a good deal of effort needed to reduce your risk of recurrence. Making the dietary and physical activity changes needed to stay healthy means changing a lot of little things, and coming to terms with a “new normal”.