Steps to Recovery After Breast Cancer

Women need to educate themselves about their own breasts and understanding the requirements of breast health including conducting their own regular breast self examination to be alert to any changes in your breasts, especially when you are over 50.

Nowadays, breast cancer is not the automatic death sentence it once used to be, and if caught early enough it can be effectively treated and your recovery percentages improve every year, as the treatments improve and are refined by cancer research.

But if you or someone you know is unfortunate enough to be diagnosed with breast cancer, it is important to know how to help maximize the recovery from the cancer treatments, and to support the recovery process in any way you can.

No matter how severe the breast cancer was or the ramifications of the treatment, the aftermath can be devastating. There are some choices each breast cancer victim must make, including how and when to return to a normal routine and other life choices.

Fatigue might be a big consideration in how fast you can return to the life you had before treatment – and some things may be changed forever.

Just because you finish your treatments and are pronounced free of cancer doesn’t mean that you walk away from the journey. Now it’s time to take another path on the road to recovery.

Your spirits may be lifted because you’re free of the devastating monster that invaded your body, but your life will be forever changed because of its attack and you need to recognize the differences.

Some things in your life may now seem more important than they used to – and others may slide into obscurity as you rethink your life and your life’s goals. Your family may have moved to the forefront of your priorities and building your career may have sunk to the bottom of the list. You may have new ideas about everything from your home decor to your spirituality.

Expectations of what you’ll be able to do could crash in mid-flight as you realize that you’re not going to bounce back to your energetic former self just because the treatments are over. Your family may also need to be educated about the aftermath of breast cancer and how quickly you might be expected to reach a total recovery.

Breast cancer changes people. Chemotherapy may have claimed your hair, but it will grow back. Your thinking on how things are or should be may never be the same again. The chemical makeup of your hormones may have changed and you’ll likely have feelings and emotions you’ve never had – or expected.

More than likely, you’ll change your diet, exercise plan and even some relationships after your bout with breast cancer. Sex is probably heavy on your mind and you may be wondering if that part of your life will ever be normal again.

You may be taking certain medications that will have an impact on your feelings and how you relate to others.

A phenomenon called “chemobrain” is the result of chemotherapy treatments and can cause symptoms such as temporary memory loss and the ability to concentrate. 

Fatigue is also a huge factor after being treated with chemotherapy or radiation, and this may be the worst side-effect that you’ll have to overcome.

You’ll want to jump right in after treatments and immediately begin to take care of your family and home. It’s just not reasonable to think that you can.

You’ll need lots of rest and time to think for many months after breast cancer treatments are over. You can lessen the aftermath of the treatments if you “give in” to your feelings.

Rest when you need to and don’t let others dictate your routine or how fast you should get back to “normal.”

You take the time to decide what’s best for you, and give yourself permission to do whatever feels right for you to fulfill your own needs to help speed your recovery.

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