You Survived Cancer! What Now?

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Welcome to the club

You’ve made it through one of the biggest challenges of your life, it threatened your very survival, made you question everything you knew about yourself and life itself, yet here you are. If you feel lost, confused and a little bit disenchanted by life, don’t worry, you’re not alone.

A new chapter begins.

In the days, weeks and months following, there’s an interesting mix of experiences and emotions that all happen at the same time.

  • Elation and relief that comes from being out of the acute danger/treatment phase.
  • Fear and uncertainty around the possibility of the cancer coming back and other long term side effects of treatment.
  • Excitement and nervousness about returning to school, university, work or socialising with friends that you haven’t seen for a while.
  • Confusion and frustration with some things being more difficult than before and struggling to reconcile why your experience of life is different.
  • Anger at the periods of time that were lost while you were sick, while the outside world seemed to continue like nothing happened.
  • Guilt of not feeling joyful and grateful to be alive, you know that many others don’t make it to this point and so you question why did you survive and they didn’t?

What Now?

Navigating your way through being a survivor is not an exact science, in fact there will be as many different opinions out there as there are people who’ve survived cancer. I can’t and won’t tell you that I have the answer that will, 100%, without a doubt, work for you. One key that is relevant to anyone is to do your best not to get stuck in overwhelm, which includes the black hole of unlimited information on the internet. Take tiny steps forward, focus on the life you want to life and how you want to feel.

My 16th Birthday, not long after ending treatment for cancer.

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Adam Kellerman

Adam Kellerman

Mindset and Movement. Writing about life as an Australian Paralympian, cancer survivor and Qigong student/teacher.