After Effects of Cancer

May 22nd, 2009 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

For those who have been through the threat of cancer, there are some very disturbing after effects. If surgery were required, there are scars other than that created by the surgeon’s knife. If therapies of one kind or another were required, there are recollections of lost hair and other debilitating experiences.

But more than that, and deeper, is the psychic phenomenon experienced from the dramatic and traumatic facing of the possibility of death.

Vulnerabity is a consequence of looking in the mirror and accomodating the real fact of your mortality. It may not come in that dramatic way. But it comes. It hits you when suddenly you discover your fears. You discover that you literally are no longer the person you once were. Behaviors strange to you emerge. Personality shifts such as self confidence to uncertainty become apparent. Discomfort replaces comfort in social settings. Strange dispositions affect your interactions or lack of them with others. Self confidence is shaken. What once was natural and normal is no longer. Acquaintance with new feelings challenges you. The body you once took for granted has been assaulted and insulted.

These are just some of the dynamics that accompany adjusting to life after cancer. Once a happy go lucky person, you may now be less witty, less spontaneous, more withdrawn.

Now, be quick to understand that these phenomena do not last forever. However, these and other emotional adjustments are real and normal.  Allowing yourself to accept that, will assist getting to the other side. You may never return 100% to the person you were. A major paradigm shift has occurred. Such shifts occur often, as we age, with or without a major physical assault. But, with cancer (and often strokes and heart attacks) you can depend that there may be seismic shifts in who you are and how you behave. For some, they may be more subtle. For others, they may be significantly different enough that others will notice the change.

Anixety over your own altered behavior, attitudes, mindset, etc. is neither helpful or healthy. The flow of your life will continue. Adjusting to some of the changes will be easy. Accepting others will be a challenge. Allowing yourself to forge ahead and to be who you are, not worrying over who you were, will free you to escape the prison of worry, anxiety and depression.

Some counseling, conversation with those you trust and love, readings, meditation, and other such disciplines may give you strength and forebearance. Do not ignore your condition. While I was surprised to realize the seismic shifts that had occurred with my personality, following cancer, it was an enormously helpful insight to see what others had already surmised. Beyond the discovery, there was the process of dealing with some of those changes.

Now, I can adjust and accomodate some behaviors that are blatantly obvious and dismiss others that were obnoxiously taking over.

I commend to you your own working through the dynamics of dealing with the after effects of cancer. Curing cancer is possible in some situations. Curing yourself from frightening fears and after effects is also within your capability. I commend your focusing not only on the curative process for cancer, but on the behaviors that often accompany it.



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