Your Road Map to Recovery


Thriving Beyond Remission:
Returning to Everyday Life

For anyone battling cancer, one of the most eagerly awaited moments arrives when their oncologist speaks these words: “You are in remission, and there are no signs of cancer in your body.” These few words hold an indescribable weight and meaning for those who have faced the profound impact of this disease, not only on themselves but also on their loved ones.

Throughout the challenging months of your treatment, life may have revolved around doctor’s appointments,

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managing pain, coping with treatment side effects, and making necessary adjustments to your lifestyle to combat cancer. Now, with the liberating declaration of being free from the constraints of cancer, an invitation emerges to reintegrate into “normal life.” However, the concept of normalcy might feel distant, as you attempt to recall what life was like before your diagnosis.

As you embark on the journey of reclaiming your life after cancer, it is crucial to resist the urge to judge or compare yourself to your previous capabilities. Instead, practice patience, and trust in the healing process. With time, not only will your strength return, but you also have the potential to emerge even stronger and healthier than before your diagnosis.

It’s natural to long for the abilities and accomplishments you once had, but it’s important to remember that your body has undergone significant challenges and transformations. Allow yourself the space and time needed to heal physically, mentally, and emotionally. It’s important to recognise that the recovery process is unique for each individual, and there is no predetermined timeline for regaining strength and vitality.

It’s time now to take another deep breath and focus on planning what’s next and reintegrating into your everyday life with renewed strength, passion, and purpose. This transition may bring with it a mix of emotions and challenges, but with careful planning, support, and self-care strategies, you can navigate this phase with confidence and resilience.

We would like you to go out and buy a new diary. From your old diary, take note of important contacts for follow-up appointments and add them to your diary. Review the remission rewards and things you wanted to do post cancer and schedule them into your diary when you feel the time is right. This could even include booking flights or making other arrangements to execute your plans.

Now, find a place for your old diary where it will be out of sight. It’s time to let go of the version of yourself that fought cancer and focus on the new healthy you, committed to living a happy and fulfilling life with habits that promote long-term wellbeing.

It’s important not to try to do everything all at once. While it is beneficial to set goals and timelines to work towards, it’s crucial not to overwhelm yourself by taking on too much too soon.

Instead, follow these steps to help you reintegrate into normal life after cancer remission:

Take time to reflect on your cancer journey and acknowledge the strength and resilience it took to overcome it. Write in a journal or share your thoughts with a trusted friend or counsellor. If you haven’t already, consider joining a cancer survivor support group or online community where you can connect with others who have had similar experiences. Sharing your story and listening to others can provide a sense of validation and understanding. Visit the COMMUNITY page to view and add to the forum and connect with others.

Start by setting small, achievable SMART goals that align with your interests and aspirations. It could be as simple as reconnecting with old friends, pursuing a hobby you enjoy, or volunteering for a cause that resonates with you. Break your goals into manageable tasks and create a timeline to track your progress. Celebrate each milestone along the way to stay motivated and build confidence.

Make self-care a daily practice. Engage in activities that bring you joy and relaxation, such as practicing mindfulness or meditation, taking walks in nature, or enjoying a warm bath. Listen to your body’s needs and establish healthy boundaries. Prioritise restful sleep, eat nutritious meals, and engage in regular exercise that suits your fitness level and preferences.

Continue the same healthy eating habits you have developed; only eating from the Fit 50 list or following the Controlling The Odds meal plans. Enjoy one or two meals per week where you eat whatever you like (within reason). Limit processed foods and alcohol and stay away from sugary beverages. Stay physically active by incorporating exercise into your routine. Find activities that you enjoy, such as walking, swimming, yoga, or cycling. Start with gentle exercises and gradually increase intensity as you regain strength. If you took up meditation or yoga classes, don’t stop! Keep going and take your skills to a new level as your strength and stamina improves.

Stay committed to attending regular follow-up appointments with your healthcare team. These appointments are crucial for monitoring your health, detecting any potential issues early on, and ensuring your continued wellbeing. Prepare for appointments by writing down any questions or concerns you have. Take notes during the visit to help you remember important information and follow-up nstructions.

Stay connected with your support system, including family, friends, and cancer support groups. Share your experiences, concerns, and triumphs with them. They can provide understanding, encouragement, and a sense of community as you navigate this new phase. If you’re finding it challenging to express your emotions or share your experience verbally, consider writing in a journal or expressing yourself through creative outlets such as art, music, or poetry.

If you find it challenging to adjust to post-cancer life, or if you experience persistent emotional or psychological difficulties, consider seeking professional help. Therapists or counsellors can provide valuable guidance and support as you transition and process the impact of your cancer journey. Explore different therapy modalities such as cognitive-behavioural therapy, support groups, or specialised counselling programs designed for cancer survivors. Choose an approach that resonates with you and aligns with your needs.

Gradually reintegrate into social activities and events that you enjoy. Start by reconnecting with close friends and family members. Plan low-key outings or gatherings in a comfortable environment. Consider joining community groups, clubs, or organisations that align with your interests; this can help you expand your social circle and create new connections with individuals who share similar passions.

Use this opportunity to embrace new perspectives and priorities in life. Reflect on the lessons learned from your cancer experience and consider how you want to live moving forward. Explore activities that bring meaning and purpose to your life. Consider volunteering or getting involved in advocacy work related to cancer, or other causes that resonate with you. Making a positive impact in the lives of others can bring a sense of fulfillment and purpose.

Try exploring new hobbies, interests, or skills that you’ve always wanted to pursue. This can be a time of personal growth and exploration as you rediscover yourself and what truly matters to you. Take on new challenges and step out of your comfort zone. Allow yourself to dream big and set new goals that align with your newfound perspective on life.

Celebrate your milestones and achievements along the way; and acknowledge and appreciate how far you’ve come in your journey. Whether it’s reaching a specific health milestone, completing a project, or accomplishing a personal goal, take the time to reward yourself and bask in the satisfaction of your accomplishments. This will boost your confidence and reinforce your resilience as you continue to thrive post-cancer.

Become an advocate for your own health. Stay informed about the latest developments in cancer research, survivorship programs, and support resources. Take an active role in your ongoing care by asking questions, seeking second opinions if needed, and staying proactive in managing your health. Share your experiences with others and raise awareness about the challenges faced by cancer survivors. By advocating for your own health and the needs of fellow survivors, you can contribute to positive changes in the healthcare system.

Cultivate a positive mindset as you navigate post-cancer life. Surround yourself with positive influences and practice gratitude for each day. Focus on the present moment and appreciate the simple joys of life. Accept that there will be ups and downs but remind yourself of your strength and resilience in overcoming challenges. Use affirmations, visualisation techniques, or daily gratitude practices to foster optimism and maintain a positive outlook.

Healing from cancer is not just physical, but also emotional and spiritual. Give yourself permission to heal and allow the process to unfold at its own pace. Be patient and kind to yourself as you navigate the emotions that arise during this transition. Seek support from loved ones, professionals, or support groups to help you process any unresolved feelings or fears that may linger after treatment. Remember that healing is a lifelong journey, and it’s okay to seek help when needed.

Embrace the opportunity to live fully and thrive in your post-cancer life. Use your experience as a catalyst for positive change and growth. Engage in activities that bring you joy, prioritise relationships that matter, and pursue your passions with renewed vigour. Seize each day with gratitude and make the most of the second chance at life that you have been given.

Remember, everyone’s post-cancer journey is unique, and it’s important to listen to your own needs and instincts. Take the time to reflect on what resonates with you and adjust the strategies mentioned to suit your personal circumstances. Celebrate your resilience and embrace the limitless possibilities that lie ahead as you embark on this new chapter of your life.