cancer cell

Cancer In Remission—A Journey’s End

How do you feel about your loved one’s recovery from Cancer? Are you jubilant, or do you feel strangely numb? You may be overjoyed, or feel dead inside and wonder what’s wrong with you.

When a large part of your life has been focused on someone else’s illness and that’s gone, you can have mixed feelings. On the one hand it’s great that the cancer isn’t hanging over you all, but on the other there is now a gap in your life.

If it is this way for you, don’t worry about it. Just as it takes time to adjust to a new reality after diagnosis, it can also do so now. It’s like you’ve worn a rut in your mind on a path that says “my friend/relative has cancer”. That path of thought is now a habit. Like all habits, you can change it, but it will take time.

One way to change that habit is to make sure you mark this occasion. It’s not enough to visit the hospital and be told ‘the scan was clear’ – or even more distantly, to hear about it on the phone. It’s important to celebrate this new phase and the hope for the future it brings.

If you’re close to the person who has recovered from cancer, you may want to do this with them. Your loved one may want to throw a ‘recovery party’, and if so I hope you join in with gusto.

On the other hand they may feel that it’s tempting fate; that if they count on their health then somehow it will be more likely to be taken away from them. In this case I hope that your loved one is at least able to feel grateful that they have made it to this point, as that feeling of gratitude will help them.

So what do you do if your loved one just wants to ignore the whole issue of cancer or remission – pretend it never happened? Well, you could always celebrate by yourself. Raise a glass to them, and toast their future health. Or you could create some kind of a ritual – perhaps laying your Cancer Success Plan away, or even burning it, with thanks for the support it gave you.

Maybe the thought of burning your Plan terrifies you. What if the cancer comes back? Is this what you are secretly expecting? If so, take a good long look at where that thought is coming from.

Address your deepest fears using the skills you have learned. My belief is that the Plan has done its work and you should let it go. If you were to face another journey with cancer, you would create a new one anyway. Your definition of success, your starting point and your inner self would all be different. You could find the same resources again if you needed to, anyway – after all you now know where to look.

Now is a good time to take inventory of the growth that has resulted from your journey with cancer; give yourself credit for your courage and strength. From the vantage point of a wiser, more insightful person, you can write a new Life Plan. Your Cancer Success Plan was adapted to the needs of that time—your Life Plan will utilize the time and energy that is no longer devoted to the illness of your loved one.

This is a turning point—a springboard from which to reclaim dreams long deferred. Some never reach a turning point—they miss the opportunity to decide what they want in life. Now is the perfect time for you to generate a plan that aligns with your deepest purpose—your life’s mission.


Anne Orchard

Anne Orchard is an experienced life coach based in Dorset, UK, whose areas of expertise include offering support to those affected by illness or death of a loved one and helping them to rebuild their lives.

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