Life After: Making Plans After Cancer

Making Plans After Cancer

The other day, I had a long talk with one of my dearest friends who is nearing the end of her seemingly interminable year of treatment for (a different kind of) f-bomb cancer. Our conversation centered around the topic of life after cancer treatment, specifically the difficulty of making plans.

We both feel/felt similarly at the end of treatment. Neither of us wanted to make plans because we didn’t know if we could. Six months sounded like an eternity. Literally.

It may sound melodramatic to those who have not had cancer, but to many of you who have had the disease, you know exactly what I mean.

See, here’s the thing: when your body dupes you in such a humongous way by getting cancer in the first place, a naturally-occuring and quite reasonable bodily distrust is established. I know all too well that lightening can indeed strike twice. Yes, I just said that. Not very Silver Lining of me, you assume. Well, on the contrary. This philosophy is actually practical — and motivating!

I am now (highly!) motivated to fill my days with as much living as possible, respectfully acknowledging the fact that an earth rocking event could be lurking behind every corner, from a fire to a diagnosis. I am packing it all in, full tilt ahead. One of the things that I have to remember, however, is to pace myself. This is an ongoing challenge for me, but that in and of itself is a Silver Lining.

I am also now (highly!) motivated to do everything that I can possibly do to decrease my risk of a recurrence from eating a healthy diet, to reducing stress to removing should-ing from your life. Now there’s a Silver Lining!

When it comes to making plans, the further I am from my diagnosis date, the more confident I feel about making plans.  Logistically, I really don’t plan much further than six months out. Philosophically, I know that plans can change in an instant.  This feels like a balanced way for me to live.


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  1. says

    Thanks so much for this post. Since my breast cancer diagnosis a little over a year ago I am terrified to make plans. In particular, the time around check ups which I find unbearable and have not figured out quite how to deal with them. Before a trip, after a trip. I am not sure anytime is perfect. My family who have had very little experience with cancer don’t seem to understand my apprehension. For them the cancer is over. Thank you for this lovely post that lets me know I am not alone. I found your advice so helpful.

  2. Mary Lou says

    I finished treatment for my FBC this past February and know exactly what you mean (as I often do when I read your posts). I think I am a little afraid that I am tempting fate by making plans.

    • says

      Dear Mary Lou,
      Thank you so much for writing and sharing. It is so incredibly normal to feel as though you are tempting fate. I feel the same way and do my very very best to keep on making plans.
      Thank you, again. Please take good care and stay in touch.