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Surviving Survivorship

March 15, 2017

SURVIVORSHIP!  You made it: it's all over now.  Except those of us who are survivors know that is NOT an accurate statement.  If you are a survivor, you are concentrating on how to move past the diagnosis and treatment part of your cancer journey.  I have found there are a few common responses with those who have started the survivor journey. 


Some of the common responses to survivorship include:

  • Apprehension

  • Mourning

  • Disorientation


Apprehension:  Some survivors worry about re-occurrence.  Some have anxiety.  Others will have concerns with their new physical appearance.  My first suggestion is to give it some TIME. Notice when you are anxious and try to figure out the cause. Start a thought process that guides your brain into a positive train of thought.  This can be difficult, but with the right amount of "training," you can overcome your feelings of anxiousness.  This is something I can help you work on.  If you need another idea, try yoga! Yoga allows you to focus on your breath, and silence the mind. 


Mourning:  Some survivors may be mourning their old life, their pre-Cancer journey body and self. You may not be able to see the newness as a positive thing quite yet.  You may not know how to navigate these feelings.  Some may feel like their body betrayed them, or may feel guilty for surviving.  It is a bit of a mess to sort out, but as a survivor you have the right to take as long as you want to go through your processes. Some ways of coping include taking time out for yourself: do something new! Try a creative outlet, exercise, try meditation, do yoga. Get a manicure and a new hairdo, buy a new outfit.  Gradually build yourself back up with self care.


Disorientation:  The new world as a survivor is an filled with things both familiar and unfamiliar. It can cause severe disorientation from the world that preceded cancer.  Unfamiliar responses from within range from deep introspective work to a new desire for physical strength.  We may change our jobs,family,friends or our lives completely. Sometimes, outwardly, we may not change a thing.  It all depends on the person and how they individually resolve their survivorship.


Don't give up on yourself! Keep reminding yourself you are a FIGHTER and you are a WINNER and you are a SURVIVOR! You battled the battle of a lifetime.  


The moon on a recent night. It was so huge and pink- not as white as the picture-but the reflection was red, just like the picture. I found the streak of color in the reflection a bit like survivorship: intriguing. It was bold and proud, like a survivor.

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