Okay to take time to process experience?

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Question from AmyE: How do you deal with all your changing feelings after treatment is over? I'm still trying to process this entire experience, grieve what I have lost, such as my innocence, my hair, etc. So many people around are so ready to "move on," but I'm not quite there yet.
Answers - Lidia Schapira You bring up such wonderful points. The timing of recovery is so personal and so variable. Often well-meaning relatives and husbands want things to snap back into shape the moment active treatment is over, while the patient herself feels she's actually needier after treatment than during treatment. It also takes time to grieve for one's losses, and there are multiple losses in the experience of living with cancer. There are shifts in relationships. There is the loss of innocence about one's health, and a new way of experiencing what is normal. Many people describe the illness as a journey, and you may need to explain to those around you where you are in your journey. Take your time; you can't rush the process. I wish you courage and wisdom as you move further and further into your recovery.
Jennifer Armstrong, M.D. Amy, I congratulate you on recognizing your needs. Your hair will grow back. Your innocence may or may not. But you will take the time that you need to gain the strength that it sounds you already have.

The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Coping With Your Changing Feelings and Relationships featured Lidia Schapira, M.D. and moderator Jennifer Armstrong, M.D. answering your questions about facing your fears head-on, handling moodiness and depression, diffusing tension with your partner and feeling close without sexual activity, as well as issues of self-image and femininity.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in March 2006.

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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