The Psychiatrist’s Guide To Living As An Anal Cancer Survivor

After surviving anal cancer treatments, living beyond cancer raises a lot of questions and uncertainties. After treatment is a new chapter in your life. You have successfully overcome the most challenging part of your life, and now that all has been defeated, somehow there is still this ominous feeling that is bugging you. All throughout the journey, you have experienced a roller-coaster ride of emotions – sorrow and depression, hopelessness, relief, happiness, overwhelming gratitude, and now, the foreboding feeling that cancer can always return.

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Now What?

You already get used to a routine – going to your doctor, chemotherapy sessions, or appointment with your nutritionist. Following a schedule somehow gave you direction on what your day should go. In as much as the whole process is depressing, you know what and how your day will end. But now that all treatment procedures are done, you are placed in a position where you don’t know what’s going to happen next. You might feel alone when visits to health care team end. You will miss the sense of security and support provided by your team. 

Start Living Once Again – One Day At A Time

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At this point, you and everyone else are grateful that you have survived cancer. There is so much to be thankful for, so much to enjoy about life. You can now start doing things that were put on hold because of cancer treatments. Go start accomplishing your bucket list and enjoy your lost times with friends and families. Get connected once again with your social media accounts and express your gratitude to those who had shown and offered their support when you were battling cancer.

Going back to your “normal” life may not be easy. It may take time and a lot of adjustments for you and the people around you. Learn to wait until you get by and slowly learn how to overcome worried and anxious feelings. 

How To Be More Hopeful While Dealing With Fear And Uncertainty

There will always be an instance to remind you, events that will rouse worry again – like visits to hospitals when a member of the family or close acquaintance suddenly become ill or dies of cancer. In times like these, it is normal to feel anxious about your condition. Here are some tips on how to handle this situation:

  • Acknowledge your fears. You’ve been in this situation before. The day when you learned that you had cancer was the most dreadful feeling ever. In as much that you don’t want to go back to this emotion anymore, learn to identify your fears again so that you will know what concrete steps to take to allay these fears.
  • Learn and understand what to expect in cases of recurrence and be knowledgeable of symptoms to look for. 
  • Open your concerns to others. Do not worry alone. Expressing your feelings is a way to deal with your emotions. Talk to someone who can understand; it may help you recognize the reasons for your fear. Joining support groups can also make you feel less alone. Talking with others who are in situations like yours can help ease loneliness.
  • Divert negative thoughts that will increase your level of anxiety. Do things that can relieve you of stress. Spend time to enjoy with your family and friends. Focus on hobbies that you like or maybe start a new one to make you more productive. 
  • Choose to be well and focus on your health. Continue to live a healthy lifestyle and do away with unhealthy habits. 
  • Go back to your healthcare team and bravely talk about follow up care.

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Cancer is a life sentence. It does not end even if one has survived the condition. The best way to be prepared for cancer is when you accept your mortality. This way, you are more focused and dedicated to doing more meaningful experiences with your loved ones. Be grateful that you have reached this point and by spiritual grace, another chance is provided to start new life.

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