Wednesday, 29 January 2020

What the Doctor Said About Life After Breast Cancer... A Guest Post.


*Image courtesy of Pexels. Guest Post.

What the Doctor Said About Life After Breast Cancer
It may take time to find your new normal, and that’s okay. 
Your journey with breast cancer starts the moment you hear that dreaded diagnosis. From there, your life revolves around your treatment plan and what the next steps are. During that time, you have a strict appointment schedule and a new support team in the form of cancer care professionals. 

But what happens it all ends? While it seems like a silly question, life after breast cancer can be harder than you’d expect. You may think you’ll bounce right back to the old you, but that doesn’t always happen. 

When your treatment is nearing the end, it’s time to start talking with your doctor about life after breast cancer. Take the time to ask questions, understand potential setbacks, and record the doctor’s advice to playback when you need a reminder that it’s okay to have a new normal. 

In this article, we’ll take a look at what you can expect once your breast cancer treatments end. While everyone’s experiences are different, these are a few after-effects you may experience.

  • Not feeling 100% right away is normal
  • Chemo brain is a real thing
  • Learning to adjust to a new medical schedule 


Life after breast cancer still has it’s ups and downs. Knowing what to expect will help you understand that getting to your new normal may take time -- and that’s okay. Image courtesy of Pexels. 

Life After Breast Cancer

You’ve just completed your last chemotherapy treatment and said goodbye to your cancer care team. Walking out of the office that day, you know that you’ve won the battle with cancer. But now you’re faced with finding your new normal.

It’s an exciting and scary time.

Your outlook on life may be different now and maybe as your hair starts to grow again, you even begin to look like a different person -- and that’s okay. You’ve gone through an extremely tasking time to get where you are and coming out a different person at the end is expected. 

So let’s talk about the good and the bad of the after-effects of breast cancer. When you realize you’re not alone in this new journey and understand that the way you’re feeling is totally normal it makes moving forward with your life a just little bit easier. 

You will most likely still feel side effects for quite sometime after you’ve officially finished your treatment plan.
It will take time for your body and mind to heal and recover. Image courtesy of Pexels.

You May Not Feel 100% Right Away

Your body has just gone through an extremely stressful ordeal. Expecting that it will bounce back as nothing happened is a very unrealistic mindset. You should anticipate that there will be some lingering effects as a result of your treatments. 
A few common symptoms include: 
  • Fatigue
  • Pain
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Depression
The side effects from your cancer treatment may not subside right away. While it varies for everyone, the effects of your treatment plan may last a few days, weeks, or even years. You need to learn to be patient with yourself and let your body heal as it needs. 


If you find that you’re frequently forgetting things or have a foggy mind, you’re probably experiencing chemo brain.
This is a common occurrence for cancer patients. Image courtesy of Pexels. 

You May Experience Chemo Brain

Chemo brain is a term that identifies a state of mental cloudiness that can occur after cancer treatment. If you find yourself forgetting things more often, having a hard time focusing, and seeing additional mental changes, it’s very likely you are experiencing chem brain. 

For some people, it may not be noticeable for friends and family and might go away within a few weeks. It may affect others to the point of not being able to return to work or school and managing it may be a bigger task. 

Here are a few things that may happen to you if you’re experiencing chemo brain:

  • Frequently forgetting things that you once had no problem recalling
  • Having a short attention span and a hard time concentrating  
  • Forgetting details such as names, dates and common words
  • Losing the ability to multi-task easily
  • Taking longer than usual to accomplish tasks

While it may be frustrating to live with, you can find ways to help manage your chemo brain symptoms. Living a healthier lifestyle, using planners and reminders, following routines, and getting enough sleep can help your brain function more accurately.


Going from frequent medical visits to seeing your doctor only a few times of year will be an adjustment. You’ll gain time back in your day but might have more worries about now knowing what’s going on in your body. Image courtesy of Pexels. 

Adjusting to a New Medical Schedule

Once you’ve completed your last treatment and seen your doctor for your last follow-up, you’ll need to learn to adjust to a new schedule. Your weekly and monthly visits will start to disappear and as time goes on, you’ll be back to only seeing your doctor once a year. 

Let’s take a look at what your new medical schedule will look like. 

Doctors Visits

Right after your treatments have ended, your doctor may want to watch your health a little closer. During this time, you’ll want to address any problems you may be having and let your doctor examine you for any troubling signs. 

After that, your doctor appointments will likely start to slow down. You may only visit your doctor once every few months and address concerns as they occur. The longer you go without any signs of cancer, the less often your appointments will be. Generally, once you’ve been cancer-free for five years you only need to visit your doctor once a year. 

For many, this may be a big adjustment. Treatments and your care team were big parts of your life for a long time and without them, your routine may feel strange at first. 

Many survivors experience a constant sense of worry about whether cancer will return. Routine check-ups will help ease the fears but if you ever suspect that your cancer has returned, contact your doctor and scheduling an appointment is always the best solution.

Mammograms

After breast cancer, mammograms are an important way to monitor for a potential relapse. Depending on your doctor’s orders, you may need to get a mammogram every 6-12 months. Preventative measures will help give you peace of mind and catch any signs of new cancer right away.

In the case that you had a mastectomy on one breast, you will still need to have a mammogram performed on the other breast. If you had a full mastectomy, you will no longer need to schedule a yearly mammogram. 

Other Preventative Testing

There are a number of tests you’ll need to continue having even after your breast cancer treatments have ended. Many of the treatments and medication may cause other side effects that need to be monitored through regular testing and exams. 

A few common tests that are done after breast cancer treatment include: 

  • Pelvic exams
  • Bone density tests
  • Blood tests
  • Imaging tests

You should expect that you will continue to have routine testing, but your medical schedule will soon become less time consuming - leaving you with more time to live life to the fullest.


Adjusting to your new post-cancer journey may take some time, but you’ve got your whole life ahead of you to get it right. Image courtesy of Pexels.

Get Started on Your Post-Cancer Journey


Life after breast cancer might send you down a path you weren’t expecting, but knowing you’re not alone in the process can help make the transition easier. Having a strong support system that includes your friends, family, and doctors will allow you to thrive on your new journey. 

*This is a sponsored guest post.








4 comments:

  1. This was really interesting and not really something I've thought about. Having a strong support system would definitely be so important!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Although I had thyroid cancer and treatment was very different, I can relate to so much of this. I think the after-life is definitely a shift to a new kind of normal and a support network is everything!

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  3. My sister has been through something similar recently but had radiation treatment and no chemo. She is still suffering in various ways and was unaware pain and other side effects would linger for so long. An essential post for those who go through this and also their supporters. #lifethisweek

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  4. Thank you for sharing this. I am sure many who have had cancer of one kind or another, might agree, that all the information in the world cannot change the fact that we get changed by cancer. The normal we knew has gone and we need to find new normals. I am still doing that, post cancer diagnosis & surgeries less than 3 years ago. Thank you for linking up for #lifethisweek. Next week is 7/51 T: Telling Self-Care Stories #1. 17.2.2020. Hope to see you there AND the next 10 prompts are on the home page now! Denyse.

    ReplyDelete

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