Cancer free…what now?

Two years ago, you were told you have cancer. The memory of that day is so vivid as if it was just yesterday, along with all the questions that jumbled together in your mind: Why me? What if? What now? Two years later, you are cancer free but yet you are still stuck with one question…what now? 

Present day

You followed your physician’s advice and have just been told you are now cancer free. Emotions tug at your sleeve. You walk out of the oncologist’s office and everything inside you wants to shake and cry. The first tear hits, then it flows and you find yourself on your knees shaking, sniffling and coughing as strangers try to console you. They ask, “What’s wrong?” and you explain you just heard you’re cancer free. They look at you strangely and walk away. At the back of your mind, you thought that one day this cancer might kill you, but now you process that it hasn’t. You survived cancer – you are alive!

What now?

You feel lost! This is completely natural and normal. You’re still a “bietjie” foggy in the head from post-chemo brain, but you’re now cancer free. You made dear friends in the treatment area that you may or may not see again. Your schedule before had everything to do with balancing life and fighting for survival. Now, it is time to live. But how do you live while still struggling with depression, fatigue and anxiety all due to post cancer ? The following four sites will help you address these issues:

• www.cancer.net/coping-with-cancer

• www.cancer.org/treatment

• www.well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/12/anxiety

• www.cancerbuddies.org.za

For me, the song Live like you were dying by Country singer, Tim McGraw, gives a beautiful and poetic response to your question. Read on and be inspired:

I went sky diving,
I went rocky mountain climbing,
I went 2.7 seconds on a bull name Fumanchu.
And I loved deeper,
And I spoke sweeter,
And I gave forgiveness I’ve been denying,
And he said someday I hope you get the chance,
To live like you were dying.

Most of you aren’t going to jump off a mountain or climb up one. But, that doesn’t mean you don’t have your own personal Kilimanjaro. What are your life goals? Go achieve them! If you want to help others – join a cancer group and find out if they support a certain hospital. Walk into the lobby and spot a first timer – she is carrying a big brown envelope with the mammogram results with all her hair intact and a lost look in her eyes. You walk towards her, grab her hand and tell her it’s going to be all right and explain how you survived. You share your life, your soul and your story.

MEET THE EXPERT

Dr Doug Potter is a doctor of Naturopathy and has a PHD in Behavioral Science. He is the team leader for first Fatigue Centre in Africa. Increased production at last site - 35,7%. Goal - to be the kind of person my dog thinks I am.

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