One of the things I did after I finished radiation was to enroll in a program of short-term, cancer-focused therapy through a cancer program in NYC. I realized that I might have some difficulty transitioning from daily treatment to life post-treatment, and it has proven to be a godsend. It’s a half hour of phone therapy once a week for six weeks, and so far I’ve learned a lot.
One of the things that has been particularly helpful is to talk with a social worker who exclusively treats cancer patients and to hear that perspective. When I spoke with my therapist yesterday, we talked about the desire to “get back to life” that is so strong after treatment, and the inevitable setbacks, and in particular, my most recent setback. It helped to hear that setbacks may be a way of life for a while, and are for many cancer survivors, and that it could take six months or a year before I feel like I have the energy I once had, or at least something close to that.
Gee, I was giving myself six weeks after radiation to get back to something like normal, so I guess my overachieving tendencies will go down fighting. And to think I thought I could volunteer, consult, race dragon boats, swim, hike, kayak, and repaint doors and furniture before summer started. Think again. But it’s ok. If cancer is good for anything, it’s definitely good for slowing a person down, making them comfortable sitting and reading for an entire morning (as I did today) if that’s what your body is up for.
So, I’m trying to remove the harsh judgments about not doing more, and settling into doing what I can on a given day, and no more. Doing what I want to do, what I can do, and with the people who make me happy. Not a bad way to live…