What Impact Does a Breast Cancer Diagnosis Have on Psychological Well-Being?

Now that your breast cancer treatments have finally come to a close, you can take a deep breath and congratulate yourself for reaching the end of a long, sometimes scary and often exhausting journey. As you look forward to your life after active treatment and onto monitoring and surveillance, there are new challenges to face. The biggest question is how to enhance your physical and mental well-being as you enter this new stage of life.

ACCEPT AND EMBRACE ALL EMOTIONS

You have come to the other side of what was probably one of the biggest challenges of your life. Be ready to experience a full range of feelings: elation, euphoria, anxiety, terror, depression, giddiness and so many more. You may find yourself wildly fluctuating from grief to relief in the blink of an eye. One minute you might want to share your story and be strong for others with breast cancer; the next you might want to get as far away from it as possible. Says Catherine q from MP-plus. Know that all of these reactions are perfectly normal and acceptable.

SURROUND YOURSELF WITH POSITIVITY

It’s not just some kind of New Age claptrap: You really do take on the mood of those around you. Misery loves company, but so does positivity. Therefore, your physical, mental and spiritual well-being definitely depends on spending time with friends and family members who are upbeat without being fake. Unfortunately, you will find that some people in your circle are all too happy to focus on the negative in a conscious or even unconscious effort to bring you down to their level. Frankly, you don’t have the time or energy for these folks right now. Gently disengage from them. At the very least, keep them at arm’s length.

STRIKE A SMART BALANCE WITH REST

Cancer treatments are grueling, and it may take months for you to fully recover. That means giving yourself permission to rest when your body demands it. At the same time, keep in mind that fatigue is one sign of depression, so also pay attention to what your mind is telling you. There are times when the best cure for depression-related tiredness is to get up and do something. Take a short walk or make a plan with a good friend, and you might just find that those feelings start to lift.

KNOW THAT THERE IS LIFE AFTER A MASTECTOMY

If part of your breast cancer treatment involved removal of one or both breasts via surgery called mastectomy, it is important to recognize that you may be feeling many emotions. For some women, the physical loss of one or both breasts makes them self-conscious about their appearance and reluctant to be intimate with their partner. While these reactions are normal, you don’t need to grapple with them alone. Ask your oncologist or primary care physician to refer you to local mastectomy support groups in the area. Some women also elect to have plastic surgery to reconstruct their breast or breasts using their own tissue, implants or breast expanders. Watching breast reconstruction surgery videos in the privacy of your own home can be a helpful first step in this process if you are considering ways to restore or enhance the appearance of your breasts after mastectomy.

Recovering from breast cancer affects people in different ways, but it is rarely easy. Now that your treatments have finally ended, make being kind to yourself one of your highest priorities. Follow your instincts, gently challenge yourself when you believe it’s appropriate and absorb the love and caring of the positive people around you, Says karen brill from NewYorker. Remember that your mental and emotional well-being are inexorably linked to your physical health, so don’t be shy about giving yourself the loving care and kindness you need and deserve.