Survivorship Care … What Are We Really Talking About?

“I can’t go back to yesterday – because I was a different person then.” Lewis Carroll

I wanted to share some articles and a video from The National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship  that speak to the long term issues of cancer survivorship.

For those of us who are (hopefully) in this for the long haul there are issues, questions and concerns that don’t just go away after we finish treatment for cancer. And as time passes, new concerns or some unexpected long term side effects of past treatment may appear. All too often there can be a lack of support and resources for those who may be years beyond treatment.  Sometimes we feel shy or embarrassed to talk about our experiences because we “should be over it by now.”  There’s a lot of pressure to “be back in your life” or find your “new normal.” But we don’t ever go back in time and I suspect that the “old normal” is subjective anyway.  What’s true is that we’re forever changed …

As survivors we do best when we are educated and informed so that we can advocate for ourselves.  We need to pay attention to our follow up appointments. We need to stay aware of our health without being overwhelmed or too vigilant about every ache or pain. But it’s also important to  pay attention to self care both physically and emotionally.  And sometimes the emotional impact of what we have been through gets ignored and can be stigmatized as if something is wrong with us for having feelings.

Coming from the perspective of a psychotherapist, I believe that there is no separation of mind and body and that it is vital to bring holistic care into survivorship care plans. This would include a more narrative approach that attends to the complex psychological concerns of survivors.  Bringing attention to the whole person acknowledges and creates quality of care in long term cancer survivorship.

I hope you enjoy the following links.