Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"
I recently finished surgery and chemo for nscl cancer. My family seems to think I should be back to my old self- I am a stay at home mom, but that has a lot of responsibility- cooking, cleaning, shopping, etc. I just don't feel ready or up to it. Am I unusual- do people really get right back to their old self?
Donna Lee Lista, Lung Cancer Survivor, Advocate and OncoLink Blogger, responds:
From a patient standpoint, I can share my perspective. I was a lot better physically, then I was mentally for a very long time and I think that your mental state can be just as important in getting back to your "old self". On one hand, the fact that people closest to you think you should be back to normal so quickly says that they believe you will be fine, on the other maybe they could be a little more sensitive as to the mental strain you have been through. You didn't say whether or not you are having actually physical symptoms, or are feeling depressed. In any case what I did was make sure I had a therapist I could talk to and I used massage and reiki as a part of my inner healing.
There will now be a new normal from this point forward, so in essence you will never "really" go back to your old life. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing at all. Please take a look at my blog "through the looking glass" I talk about life after lung cancer and how to face these exact issues.
As far as your family, maybe you need to let them read it too. Also, try to explain to them, that they need to help you in this process.
If you don't physically feel up to something, see if you can enlist some girlfriends or neighbors, they are usually more than willing to do whatever they can to help a friend when they are down and in need. Don't be too proud to ask for help. It can make all the difference in your progress.
This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat Series, Lung Cancer Q&A Webchat. View the entire Lung Cancer Q&A transcript.