After Treatment, Now what?

2 Aug

When I finished with radiation and started settling in at home, a new and unexpected side effect arose: post-treatment letdown. I know. I know. How dare I suggest it? Why on earth would I think it?

When diagnosed with FBC (F-bomb breast cancer), I felt the loss of my health.  Then the loss of my breasts. Then the loss of my mind. Now, I feel the loss of treatment.

When people ask how I’m feeling, they want to hear:  ”I feel great!”  What I want to say is: “I’m exhausted, confused and I miss my daily treatment.”  I usually say something in between.

Please understand that of course I’m thrilled to be done with chemo and radiation. DUH.  I am elated that I am feeling well enough to be fully present for my daughter, a/k/a Finally Five and the HOTY.  I am beyond excited to hike, catch up with friends and even to begin thinking about my professional life again (Silver Lining).

What I know about myself is that I am a person who loves habit and consistency. Treatment became a comforting constant in my life.  Medical treatment is a satisfyingly structured exercise that feeds my craving for consistency. Radiation felt similar to a job. Monday through Friday, I showed up at 7:40 am for my 7:45 treatment.  Just like clockwork.

I know that not having anymore radiation treatments and receiving a great report from my radiation oncologist is a sign of progress, of success even. However, not having my daily treatments leaves me feeling static.

The truth is that having treatment, doing something, is easier than the uncertainty of waiting.

Additionally the end of treatment leaves me alone with my body.  I admit to having a slightly distrustful relationship with my body right now.  It did, after all, dupe me by getting FBC in the first place.

I’m very hopeful that we (my mind, heart and body) have reconciled whatever caused the dis-ease in the first place so that we can move forward into the next chapter of life, in unison and without FBC (Silver Lining).

Instead of allowing myself to feel distressed, I’m recognizing what is missing in my life:  the consistent predictability of daily treatments. SO, I see this void as an opportunity to CREATE new Silver Linings. FBC happened TO me. Now, it’s time for me to take control again and to actively engage in doing things that will PREVENT a recurrence….things like: daily exercise, weekly yoga and meditation, and cooking.  This feels like an ultimate Silver Lined gift.

Hollye Jacobs, Hollye Jacobs, RN, MS, MSW
The Silver Pen began as a way for me to document the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and oftentimes hilarious journey through, with, over and around breast cancer. One year later I’m
still in recovery but now on a journey to find Silver Linings in all aspects of life.

The Silver Pen:


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