Surviving Cancer and Illness
Having been a counsellor in a hospice for several years many of the people I supported were surviving cancer which, because of today's better treatment, can often be cured or better managed with medication. But this can bring other emotional and mental distress.
To go through, often gruelling, treatment can take its toll physically through operations, chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy. There can be side effects: nausea, fatigue, loss of hair to name a few. Once treatment has started there can be months of hospital visits which may mean travelling a distance. All of this to get well.
Eventually this all comes to an end... then what? Sometimes this leaves people with physical changes, the fatigue continues, and the anxiety remains. Future follow-up appointments can bring all the anxiety bubbling back to the surface. This is not unusual, but people come to see me because they felt they 'should' be managing ok, feeling positive and they weren't.
It can take time to process all that has been gone through. It can take so much energy to do the practical treatment journey that it's only later that the emotional impact can really be felt. Loss of self-esteem, independence and a fear of the future even anger... why me? Plus, the impact on loved ones.
How can counselling help?
Follow up support can make such a difference in exploring those difficult treatment months, but often it isn't offered and sometimes it’s later, perhaps going back to work, that emotions catch up and feel overwhelming.
Talking can really help, especially to someone outside the family who hasn't been a part of that difficult time, but who has the experience of listening and can help you make sense of the all that you have gone through.