In the month of June as we celebrate cancer survivor month and help raise awareness about living as a cancer survivor, I am proud to be part of this group. As we celebrate, I would like to bring some awareness of how life is not the same after surviving cancer. You may be aware that the daily struggle of living with cancer was difficult, but life after remission can be challenging to work through as well. A cancer survivor has to deal with the aftermath of cancer. It is important to stay healthy and have a positive outlook as a cancer survivor.
Often times what is not said, is that cancer survivors often face increased physical, financial and mental burdens from their diagnosis and treatment. As cancer survivors we have a higher risk of being diagnosed with the same cancer again, as well as other types of cancers or health conditions due to the treatment received. In addition, cancer survivors may face mental health issues like depression, anxiety and PTSD. Furthermore, cancer survivors who had to undergo treatment often times find themselves with a large amount of debt. Chemotherapy, medication, radiation and other cancer-related expenses are expensive and can cause a significant financial burden.
Personally, my oncologist sent me for testing at increased intervals which decreased over time to ensure that I would not have a reoccurrence or that I had developed another type of cancer. As I have mentioned before the medication would cause for me to experience depression and anxiety which did not leave me just because I was in remission, it was a continuous battle over time. It also did not help matters knowing that I had a huge mountain of debt that kept increasing due to my ongoing cancer battle. To be honest, if I would have been better informed and not thought that I was alone then perhaps, I would have joined a cancer support group to share stories and have a support system in addition to my family. Also, I did not know that there are organizations that help with financial issues to address some of the medical bills that are the consequence of such a difficult and expensive cancer battle.
I tried not to stress about my situation because I was too overjoyed and celebrating the fact that I fought cancer and I won and was a cancer survivor. I knew that with my continued faith and trust in God, the financial issues would be overcome as well as the struggle to adjust back into life after cancer.
Please remember to take it one day at a time, keep the same positive outlook and reach out to someone if you are struggling. Like a couple of saying go “There is Strength in Numbers” and “Together We Stand, Divided We Fall”.