How Do I Move On After Breast Cancer Treatment?

Question asked by Kris Demattos: My name is Kris Demattos, I'm a four-and-a-half-year breast cancer survivor, and I was coming here for treatment for 18 months and 52 weeks of treatment, weekly treatments. During that time I felt like I was doing something to prevent the cancer from coming back and I also developed lots of friendships and bonds with the nurses and the patients. And after my treatment ended and I stopped coming weekly, I had a hard time moving on. How do I let go of that feeling?

Answer from Karleen Habin, R.N.: Kris, letting go of feelings is very hard! You've established some wonderful relationships. And I think now, you just need to concentrate on maybe what your life was like before -- and also channel some of that energy into some of the other programs that might be available to you and other cancer survivors like yourself.

I also ask individuals to try to map out what their expectations from their providers are. "How often will I be seen? What do I need to have done next?" So that you can actually help to prepare yourself.

I think it is something that is gradual. We're not going to automatically let you go and never see you again. We have enjoyed that relationship as well. So I think that part of that -- knowing how often you will be seen and sharing your experience with others -- is certainly helpful. But generally, we will see you every three months for a period of a couple of years, and then we will gradually go to six months, and then we'll go every year, and then we'll probably go every five years. So I think that in the transition you will be able to learn let go of some of those relationships and make new ones.