How do I handle the fear of recurrence and the emotional aftermath of cancer?
Part of the aftermath of the breast cancer experience is very similar to the post-traumatic stress disorder syndrome often experienced by war survivors. You may become paranoid about the cancer returning, and you may feel a little like a hypochondriac. These are part of the survival instincts. Every time you have a pain in your joints or bones, you may be frightened that it's a recurrence, rather than just simply an inflammation or strain. You can manage anxiety by realizing that what you are feeling is normal. Don't ever think an ache or pain is too small to mention to one of your doctors, especially if it lasts more than a few weeks. Many women agree that this fear, although present, will subside with the passage of time.
While you might not want to hear about anything to do with cancer, it is important to help yourself by staying informed. Even after treatment, new research and technologies can affect your long-term health.