Chemotherapy and radiation are over. The reconstruction is complete. No more surgeries or doctor appointments are on the books. Even your hair has begun to fill in and regrow. It would be really nice and easy to assume your body is fully recovered and nothing cancer-related is going to rear its ugly head again. And maybe it won’t.
But knowledge is power. And being mentally prepared can help you understand if what you’re experiencing requires seeking medical treatment or advice. Knowing your body, your mind, your emotions, and what to possibly expect can make all the difference in having a long, healthy, happy life.
Physical Post-Cancer Effects
While you may be (and forever stay) in remission, your body may still experience some long-term physical effects from cancer or the treatment. It’s important to discuss the issues with your Primary Care Physician (PCP) and to make sure they understand your complete medical history, including your battle with breast cancer. While some of the post-cancer effects may be curable, others may not. But symptom management and proactive prevention may be options. Common post-cancer physical effects may include
- Changes in bone health
- Early menopause
- Joint and muscle pain
- Sexual or intimacy issues
- Heart conditions
Mental and Emotional Post-Cancer Issues
It’s impossible to separate the mind from the body. So much of our physical well-being is intertwined with our mindset and emotional well-being.
It only stands to reason that your mind and emotions would be impacted by the challenge and trauma your body has undergone. After all, human beings are beautifully complex! Some of the mental and emotional ups and downs to be aware of include:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Overwhelming gratitude
- Chemo brain (difficulty with cognitive functions)
- Survivor guilt
- Fear of recurrence
There is no shame in any or all of these reactions. But if any of them, physically, mentally or emotionally diminish your quality of life, ask for help. You haven’t come this far and fought this hard not to have the best life possible.
Support and community are all available to you. And by the very fact that you’re reading this, you want wellness in your life. At Pretty in Pink Boutique, we are committed to ongoing and long-term support and partnership with you long after remission is pronounced. Stay in tune with your body and mind. Stay in communication with your medical team. Stay in connection with those that love you. We will walk beside you, providing compassionate care and helping you find the ideal solution for lymphedema, prostheses, apparel, and more.