Connect with others who understand.

sign up log in
Resources
About MyBCTeam
Powered By

Discovering Your New “Normal” After Treatment Ends

Posted on August 01, 2013

by Bonnie, a MyBCTeam ambassador

You are certain to feel sheer joy and relief at the end of breast cancer treatment! Whew, you think, I finally made it to the end of a long and painful process! Ending treatment is definitely a reason to celebrate, and you probably can hardly wait to return to life as “normal.”

But you may quickly find out that life as you knew it before treatment just isn’t the same. Gone is the safety net of a team of doctors, nurses, technicians, and other means of support that are no longer there for you on a daily or weekly basis. Family, friends, and employers may have high expectations that you will be the same person you were before treatment. You will probably have the same high expectations of yourself. However, cancer is a life-altering experience and you will most likely be faced with establishing a new “normal” as a breast cancer survivor.

A myriad of things may present themselves at the end of treatment, and it’s quite typical to go through an adjustment period. Experts estimate that it takes as long for you to rebound from treatment as it did for you to go through treatment. However, we are each different, and it may take weeks, months, or even years to make the adjustment.

It’s often said that cancer treatment is one of the few treatments that leaves you in a worse condition than you were before you started. This is true for most breast cancer survivors. Some of the feelings and side effects you may experience at the conclusion of treatment may include fatigue, anger, loneliness, depression, anxiety, grief, pain, permanent scars, body image adjustments, lymphedema, neuropathy, menopause, weight gain, changes in cognitive functioning (“chemo brain”), changes in intimacy, increased stress, and fears of recurrence, along with other feelings and side effects related to your particular treatment.

But there are also positive things that can happen at the end of treatment. You may appreciate life more, become more spiritual, change how you think about life, reduce your stress at work and at home, adopt healthier eating and sleeping habits, and you may even decide to channel your energy into becoming a breast cancer advocate or become a source of support to others who have been just diagnosed or are undergoing treatment.

The biggest thing you need to give yourself is adequate time to heal and adjust. Be reasonable with yourself. Don’t set your expectations so high that you can’t reach your goals. Consult with your doctor(s) about any side effects that are still lingering. Join a support group. Share with your friends, family, and employer that you are going through a period of adjustment and ask them to allow you the time to adapt. Rest, relax, and know that eventually you will come to terms with accepting the things you can’t change as a result of treatment. Time is your best friend after finishing treatment. Best of luck to you as you find your new “normal!”

All updates must be accompanied by text or a picture.

Related articles

Lately, I've found myself wondering exactly what it is that has kept pulling me back to MyBCTeam...

Member Spotlight: Why I Keep Coming Back

Lately, I've found myself wondering exactly what it is that has kept pulling me back to MyBCTeam...
Do you remember the exact date and where you were when you first learned that you had breast...

Member Spotlight: Why I Joined MyBCTeam

Do you remember the exact date and where you were when you first learned that you had breast...
My mom survived breast cancer. I thought that was the end of the story. Little did I know it was...

Jenny's Story

My mom survived breast cancer. I thought that was the end of the story. Little did I know it was...
Lauren had a penchant for being organized, prepared, and ready to handle whatever life threw her...

Breast Cancer Doesn’t Care What Kind of Plans You Have

Lauren had a penchant for being organized, prepared, and ready to handle whatever life threw her...
by Justine, a MyBCTeam ambassador “So the doctor just wanted to let you know about some support...

Being 23 and Told You Have Breast Cancer

by Justine, a MyBCTeam ambassador “So the doctor just wanted to let you know about some support...
by Kristy, an ambassador of MyBCTeam When I was younger, I used to fear death. “What happens to...

I Was Supposed to Have a Baby, Not Breast Cancer

by Kristy, an ambassador of MyBCTeam When I was younger, I used to fear death. “What happens to...

Recent articles

Based on your answers in this interactive guide, you’ll receive a custom set of questions to ask your doctor.

Get Personalized Questions To Ask Your Doctor About HER2-Positive Breast Cancer

Based on your answers in this interactive guide, you’ll receive a custom set of questions to ask your doctor.
Select a topic below to get started:

HER2-Positive Breast Cancer Treatment Journey

Select a topic below to get started:
You’ll have regular follow-ups with your doctor for the first five years after breast cancer...

Life After Breast Cancer: What To Expect 5 and 10 Years After Treatment

You’ll have regular follow-ups with your doctor for the first five years after breast cancer...
Breast cancer cells sometimes metastasize — travel from the breast to a new place and start...

Breast Cancer Spreading to the Bones: 6 Symptoms and How To Treat Them

Breast cancer cells sometimes metastasize — travel from the breast to a new place and start...
Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a form of breast cancer that grows rapidly. According to...

How Fast Does Triple-Negative Cancer Grow? 4 Reasons It’s Aggressive

Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a form of breast cancer that grows rapidly. According to...
Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a fast-growing cancer that, after it is treated, may...

Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Recurrence Rate: 8 Things to Know

Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a fast-growing cancer that, after it is treated, may...
MyBCTeam My breast cancer Team

Thank you for subscribing!

Become a member to get even more:

sign up for free

close