Patient tips Five ways I got back into the swing of things after treatment

Five ways I got back into the swing of things after treatment

After Eric K. was diagnosed with stage 4 kidney cancer, he completed radiation treatment at City of Hope Phoenix. Life for him during treatment looked different from his pre-diagnosis routine, and he learned some insights along the way that helped him get through the experience. Eric shares the five steps that helped him adapt to his new life after cancer treatment.

  1. Make a "healthy living plan.” For me, cancer was a wakeup call that eating better and incorporating exercise into my life was paramount to maintaining my health─physically, mentally and emotionally. For some, that may look like setting aside time to work out, walk or jog. For others, it may be figuring out a food-prep plan that works for their lifestyle. Whatever it looks like for you, I encourage you not to squander your new lease on life. Pick one or two meaningful changes that will work to keep you healthy and energetic.
  2. Change your focus. Very often as a cancer fighter, our families and friends rally around us, and we become the center of attention while we fight our battle. If this describes you, congratulations! It means you have an amazing support structure to hold you up when you need support the most. But now that your treatment is over, you’ll have a unique opportunity to make some of them the focus of your attention. Has your wife been your rock during treatment? Maybe it’s time to relieve her of that role for a while. Block out time on a weekly or monthly basis for her to pursue her passions. In my world, my wife wanted to become a yoga instructor, so when my treatment was over, we found a way for her to have weekly uninterrupted time to pursue that passion. Maybe your caregiver has a goal he or she has  always wanted to pursue but just don’t have the time. Now’s the perfect time to make it happen for them!
  3. Pay it forward. While having treatment in your rear-view mirror is an amazing feeling, every day,  people are just starting their cancer journey. Many of them feel a sense of loss, bewilderment and hopelessness. Your outcome may play a pivotal role in motivating them to not give up and remind them that you’re never out of the fight! Being a mentor not only can help fellow cancer patients through some of their darkest times, it’s also a rewarding and worthwhile opportunity to not let us forget how far we’ve come in our own battle. Whether you know it or not, others are usually observing your successes, and your positive energy may help get them through their dark days.
  4. Set new career goals. Is there something you wanted to achieve professionally, but never put any energy toward it? Now’s a great time to change that. I always wanted to explore my writing skills, but never took the time to do it. When my treatment was complete, I submitted an article to a newspaper, and it was published. That led to other freelance writing opportunities around the country in various print and online publications, and today, you’re reading this! For me, writing was a great avenue to grow professionally, and I’m willing to bet that you have ideas that are waiting to be pursued as well. Don't put it off any longer! There’s no better time to get started.
  5. Remember: The person you are after cancer treatment is often a more enlightened and─dare I say─better version of your pre-cancer self. Use your good fortune and newfound knowledge to re-engage with your family and friends and those you encounter in a way that leaves a positive impact on all parties. Through your team of caregivers and medical professionals, you have to hit the reset button on life. Don't let that opportunity slip through your fingers!

A cancer journey can be overwhelming.

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