The Finish Line


Thanks to Google Image for photo

Your finish line may look very different for different from that of others you come across. Some women can walk “The Walk” a week later. Some (most) can’t. Your friends and family will see your hair grow back, or comment on your shapely figure. They may need requests or reminders even six months after the last treatment to help you with some chores.

If the last phase of your treatment was chemo:

  • you may experience neuropathy,(hopefully temporary) debilitating numbness and pain in the fingers, hands and feet. The medication Neurontin, also known as Gabapentin is the same medication used for people coming off long term marijuana use. The medication can have an extra perk: Decreased hot flashes. It can also have an annoying drawback: Dizziness and blurred vision.

If crossing the finish line for you was surgery:

  • You might physically look as if nothing out of the norm has happened. Limit your time with people who don’t “get it.” You and others may expect to jump back into life; your body may have the plan to slowly but fully recuperate. A key after surgery to feeling good: Hydration—and fiber. And more hydration. Keep this up for at least a week to get the medications out, and the body back to some normalcy. If you haven’t been given mastectomy (or any type) of exercises before leaving the hospital, ask for them. These will reduce or prevent lymphedema, and enhance your ability to regain range of motion.

With radiation as the final treatment:

  • Like chemo, radiation fatigue is accumulative. It’ll be the heaviest toward the end of treatment. Two-four weeks after completion, you’ll probably begin to feel a  bit of energy come back. If you’ve had all three treatments, or more than one surgery, revise your expectations. It takes some people a long time to recover. Keep in mind, your body has been through major treatment—and you’re moving in the right direction.

Resources:

  • Treatment’s over. Hooray! Now what? You no longer have people stopping by to drive you to the clinic. That need is gone. You may have new needs, though. If you haven’t, go visit your clinic resource room. Ask what’s available for recent post-treatment patients. Is there a yoga class, laugher yoga, or acupuncture? Maybe a great support group if that’s something you’re interested in.
  •  American Cancer Society can be an on-going resource. 1-800-ACS-2345, (1-800-227-2345) www.cancer.org. If you have a specific question or concern, you can even ask them to connect you with a woman who’s had a similar situation, or choice to make. They won’t tell you what to do, but  they’ll be able to tell you their experience to help you through yours.
  • The official Lymphology Association of North America (LANA) website http://www.clt-lana.org has a search list of Certified LANA Therapists. Find a therapist and get measured for compression garments. You’ll need them for repetitive action and air travel.

Here are other websites/posts that address post-treatment issues: 

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