- Question from Maggie P: How do I get back to my 'old' self? Nothing seems the same anymore.
Patricia A. Ganz, M.D.
Many things do change after breast cancer, and sometimes they include an increase in symptoms associated with menopause, such as hot flashes, sweats, and vaginal dryness. If you are having these problems, talk to your doctor about some strategies to manage these symptoms.
However, it takes some time for recovery. Most of the research that has been done suggests that by a year or so after diagnosis and initial treatment, women have resumed normal levels of activity and function.
One of the problems that women experience is that while they are recovering, they are also getting older, and some of the symptoms they experience might be related to aging rather than the cancer treatment.
- Marisa Weiss, M.D. Recovery can involve a lot of ups and downs. Try not to get too discouraged when you go through a series of bad or not-so-good days. The goal is to keep heading in the right direction. We know it is hard to be patient, because there are so many things that you would like to be doing. You probably won't return back to the same 'normal' that you had before, but what you need to shoot for is to arrive at a new 'normal'. What that is going to look like, and how long it will take to get there, depends a lot on who you are and what matters most to you.
The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Quality of Life featured Patricia A. Ganz, M.D., and Marisa Weiss, M.D. answering your questions about how breast cancer can affect physical, emotional, social, and sexual aspects of your life.
Editor's Note: This conference took place in October 2001.
The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.
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