Stages of Recovery
I am quite resistant to anything that suggests there are neat stages to a process. My experience has been that life is never so tidy and predictable, but there surely are common trends, ebbs, and flows. Recovery, physical and emotional, from breast cancer treatment is a long haul. The short reminder it that it takes at least as long as the total duration of treatment, counted from the first day of worry to the final chemo or radiation, to feel fully better. Within those months, the trend is positive, but there are good days and less good days, and it usually seems dishearteningly long.
That is an introduction to this essay from the Huff Post by a young woman who had treatment for Stage III breast cancer. I suspect we can all relate to her feelings and can only send encouragement that time (and luck) will help.
The 4 Stages Of Breast Cancer Recovery
By Kelly Corrigan
Seven years ago, Kelly Corrigan called a truce with cancer—only to discover that, in important ways, she was still in the trenches.
Shortly before I turned 37 and my older daughter turned 3, I was diagnosed with breast cancer: stage III of IV. A year later—chemo, surgery and radiation behind me—I was ready to return to my former life. Little did I know that recovery also has its stages. The main difference? On the other side of treatment, bigger numbers are better.
Stage I: Increased Surveillance
My marathoner friend was in Boston last spring when the bombs went off, and for several months afterward, whenever he lit his janky grill, the resulting pop made him jump. Cancer is like that. For a while, ordinary things feel dangerous. That scar tissue/headache/out-of-the-blue lower back pain could be evidence of recurrence, right? Should you call your oncology nurse?
Schedule a visit to the mammography center? (Recurrence anxiety loves a doctor's appointment.) But then you start to wonder where diligence ends and paranoia begins. And after one too many panicky speed dials, you start to fear it's the latter—which is why this stage also involves pretending you're no longer living from scan to exam to blood draw. The rest of the world, especially the rest of the world
who loves you, wants you to stop