When a person diagnosed with cancer moves from remission to survivorship, others who haven’t fought the disease often believe there’s no need for further concern. However, the reality is that the person traded a terminal disease for a chronic disease. Having fought cancer leaves a different physical, emotional, or spiritual impact on each individual. When others understand that, it helps a survivor on their journey.
Entering survivorship brings a person a world of challenges. Although loved ones may move on and believe everything is fine again, the survivor often feels isolated. Since there’s a risk of cancer recurring, the survivor may feel apprehensive. Depending on the type of cancer, the survivor may be on medication for the rest of their life.
Even if a survivor looks good on the outside, they may not feel the same way on the inside. Dealing with side effects of cancer might cause them to feel like they’re carrying around heavy baggage as they go about their day. Although the survivor may figuratively put down their baggage before going to bed, they often feel like they’re picking it up again the next day and taking it everywhere they go.
Others often don’t understand the limitations that a cancer diagnosis can impose on a survivor. If the survivor doesn’t have taste buds for an extended time, they aren’t able to enjoy the foods they love. Being told to “eat other foods” or “focus on the positive” typically isn’t helpful. Not being able to enjoy the little things in life, such as delicious food, is a big deal. Others need to respond accordingly.
Perhaps the survivor received intense chemotherapy and still hasn’t regrown their hair. If the survivor chooses to wear scarves, others may ask why they don’t wear a wig. Perhaps the survivor doesn’t like how wigs look on them. Maybe they identify themselves by their scarves, choosing colorful ones that match their outfit. The survivor shouldn’t have to explain the reasoning behind their choices. They simply should be supported.
If you or someone you know is going through cancer treatment, get in touch with Chix 4 a Cause. Find out about the financial and emotional support we provide through our Gifts of Love program. Visit chix4acause.org today.