Cancer is a life-changing journey. From diagnosis through survivorship, survivors are faced with physical and emotional changes - some temporary and others that stay with them. This may include surgery that removed cancer, radiation that changed the color of a patient's skin, or chemotherapy that made them lose their hair. After completing cancer treatment, scars or surgical changes can make transitioning back to normal life challenging. It is important for survivors to focus instead on embracing a new normal.
The support of loved ones can significantly help with embracing a new image after cancer. Kelley, a breast cancer survivor, explains that what helped her the most was her husband's approval of her newly grown-back white hair after chemotherapy.
"My husband's acceptance and encouragement have been so helpful for me. You have no idea how much words of affirmation like ‘you're beautiful' can mean to a survivor," says Kelley, who received her treatment at Sarah Cannon at Methodist Healthcare.
Survivors often hear terms throughout their journey such as "strong," "proud," "fighter," and "winner." While true, it is important to recognize that these fighters may face many different emotions throughout their journey.
The cancer journey can affect the entire support system surrounding a patient. It is a journey for the whole family, especially children and spouses. Communication and education are crucial when rekindling physical relationships and ensuring that families knows the best way to support a patient during and after treatment.
Kelley, who completed a yearlong cancer treatment, was navigated through her cancer journey by one of our Sarah Cannon oncology-trained nurse navigators.