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WIll Life Ever Feel Normal Again

Posted 6/6/2013

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  This excellent essay by Heather Millar is more supporting evidence for both the prolonged time recovery takes after cancer treatment and the poor job that most doctors/nurses/social workers do to prepare women for that reality. As I say over and over and over, it takes at least as long as the total duration of your treatment (starting to count from the first day you worried or knew there was a problem until the final chemotherapy or radiation) to feel fully well physically and emotionally. And, for many women, it takes even longer than that.

  It is so important to be prepared for this period because it is so easy to get scared. Unless you know that you are going to feel less than fully well for months, you will be very worried by chronic fatigue or need to go to bed at 9 PM or variable appetite or persistent sadness. This is normal. And it is hard.

  Here is the start of the essay and a link to read more:

Will Life Ever Feel Normal Again?
By Heather Millar

About two months ago, I went in for my annual ob-gyn check-up. My doctor, Mindy Goldman, a professor at University of California San Francisco, has made a research specialty of exploring the problems that breast cancer survivors have. Dr. Goldman checks in on many levels: family, work, sex, social life, energy level, medication side effects.

At my appointment, when I complained about how difficult it is to reclaim your life—all of your life, sex, work, friends, energy—after cancer. Dr. Goldman asked, “How long since you finished active treatment?”

“About two years,” I replied.

“Well,” she said. “That sounds about right. I’ve observed that it usually takes a couple years before cancer survivors start to feel normal again. It takes a long time to feel like you’ve got your life back. Now’s about the right time to start working on your relationship with your husband, if you feel there’s room for improvement there.”


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