The chemo is over and the radiation is done. There is a little hair growing back and the scars are beginning to close and heal. But that doesn't mean you are done. So many people think that once a cancer patient is "done" with the treatment that they are indeed "done" with the cancer.
That is far from the truth. It's almost where the real journey begins. Cancer changes you physically, mentally, and emotionally. You are NOT the same person you were before you started the entire process. You don't even look the same. It is completely altering and the notion that you are "done" is just insulting to the cancer patient. No one wants to be done more than the patient does. If you are a caregiver, friend, co-worker, partner, ask your cancer patient what you can do for them NOW. Ask them if you can go with them to their first work out. Drive them to their first day back at work. Cook their family a meal. It's not a recovery similar to anything one already knows.
My post-treatment journey began with cleaning out anyone in my life who was a negative energy around me. I just let go. I painted most of my house. It was so therapeutic to put a clean new coat of paint on an old wall. It was pretty, fresh and new. How I wanted to feel. But when I looked in the mirror I saw a very swollen, bald, red, burnt, confused, sad, angry, isolated,lonely person. The people around me were celebrating my victory, and I wanted to join them. I did on the outside. But on the inside, I was mourning the old me and wondering what the hell to do with the new me.
I can now look back six years and say YAY ME! It took as much for me to get through the battle of the new me as it did the actual medical battle. Be patient with your patient, love them even if they seem confused and act a little crazy. Let them grow and figure out who they are. Be the "safe" place that they can anchor themselves to.