The End of Cancer Treatment Doesn't End the Need to Talk
You may need a support group now more than ever.(VEER)
The chance to trade breast cancer stories and get advice doesn't end when your treatment does. Many women who felt no need or desire to join a group or online message board during treatment find they can really use the contact and support in the months and years that follow. "One woman in our group came a full year-and-a-half after she was done with her treatments," says Merijane Block, 55, who facilitates the Bay Area Young Survivors (BAYS) support group (baysnet.org) in San Francisco and has lived with breast cancer since her first diagnosis in 1991. "People come at different times in their process."
It's not uncommon, Block says, to suddenly find oneself in remission, freed from the draining cycles of chemo or radiation—but full of worry. It's as if your life were "a box of pick-up sticks that someone turned over and out they came," she says.
Things become uncertain. "Suddenly, you're not under the umbrella of treatment anymore, and it's like, 'Uh, oh my God, what happens now? What happens if I have a recurrence?' There's this sense that you have no assurance you're being taken care of."
This feeling often comes at a time when friends, relatives, and others on your personal support team start to resume their lives—now that there's no more need to bring you dinner or accompany you to treatments. No one likes to contemplate cancer anyway, so they're eager to assume you're better now. It's over. But cancer is never that simple.
For more information on finding support, visit our support groups web guide.