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Rebuilding yourself after cancer
You are now in remission and will be monitored regularly by your medical team (perhaps with long-term treatment such as hormone therapy). This is a new stage, the post-cancer stage. How do you get back to a “ normal ” life? How can you overcome possible mental blocks and move towards real renewal? Here are some solutions.
Cancer is like a fire. A fire that ravages everything in its path. But once the fire is out, the forest renews itself and life returns. Cancer is the same. After this difficult ordeal comes the time for renewal. This is an opportunity to reinvent yourself, to do what you've always wanted to do. Life after cancer is a stepping stone, not a burden. Don't be defined by cancer, learn to respect this new version of yourself.
It is often difficult to return to a “ normal ” life. The side effects of treatment may persist. Whether it is a feeling of fatigue, depression or physical effects. Cognitive disorders and memory loss may also occur. Don't hesitate to consult an expert to ease your vulnerabilities. One way to fully experience renewal after cancer is to take stock of your situation, both physical and psychological, to see which situations are still difficult to manage. The important thing is to be accompanied by integrative approaches, i.e. by alternating conventional medicines and non-medicinal interventions (sophrology, meditation, etc.). Setting up a care plan will pave the way for you to learn to live again.
After the illness, I totally reneged on certain habits I had “ from my previous life ”, which had been put on standby until then. I even considered going back to school to change my job to something closer to who I am now. I took the time to accept this new “me” with my weaknesses which are my strength today!
Several alternatives for feeling better
Exercise can help to improve self-esteem. But beyond that, physical activity also helps to combat the risk of recurrence. For example, physical activity after a breast cancer diagnosis reduces the risk of relapse by 24%. Nordic walking, martial arts and fencing are among the most recommended. These sports use more than 80% of the body's muscles and, in the case of Nordic walking, allow you to work particularly on your breathing. Physical activity should be regular and long term. If you are unsure about any of the practices, do not hesitate to ask your oncologist or GP for advice.
This is no longer a matter of dispute. Your health also depends on what you put on your plate. Nutrition plays an important role in the fight against cancer. Both in its prevention and in the aftermath. Eat a diet rich in vegetables, fruit, wholegrain cereals and pulses such as dried beans, chickpeas and all types of lentils. Pulses are very rich in fibre. They promote efficient digestive transit and have a high satiety effect. In other words, they reduce the desire to snack outside of meals. Don't hesitate to ask a specialist such as a dietician if you don't know how to do this, they will guide you.
After your cancer treatment, getting your relationship back to where it was before the disease may be one of your priorities. You have a lot of questions... and that's normal. The fear of recurrence, a lack of desire, and many other questions – keep nothing off-limits. Communication is key. Discuss all the issues together. Because the situation can be as complicated for your partner as it is for you. Keep in mind that “ post-cancer ”, your partner and relationship are not a problem but often support, a solution. And if daily life becomes complicated to manage, a consultation with a psychologist or sexologist will allow you to expose – and overcome – your mutual difficulties.
Above all, try to forget what once was. This familiar place of work has probably changed during your absence... and so have you. First thing to do: An-ti-ci-pate. Prepare for your return as soon as possible. For example, by maintaining (or renewing) links with your colleagues to facilitate your “ return ”. Because the way others look at us is one of the most frequently mentioned difficulties. For example, some colleagues will want to do everything to lighten your workload. These attitudes are often commendable, but they may not help you find your place in the company. Again, communicate. Express your feelings, your expectations...
To be able to fully enjoy renewal after the ordeal of cancer, we advise you to take stock of your situation, both physical and psychological, to see which situations you have not “ digested ” and which require more time to recover the energy depleted by the treatments.