1) Be easy on yourself! Surround yourself with others who are easy on you. Avoid self-pressure. Don’t allow survivor’s guilt make you feel overwhelmed by what you must accomplish in your “new” life.
2) Body image issues from surgery and medications are normal. Stay active and know things will feel “normal again”.
3) Chemo-brain concerns can be normal. Take your time returning to work and gain your confidence. Read, do logic puzzles, and keep your mind active.
4) Even though you may feel like you used up all the support you can expect from family and friends during treatment. Survivorship, especially the early transition is just as hard (but different). Don’t isolate yourself and still seek support.
5) Take the time to help those going through something similar. Sometimes supporting others can be the best way to heal ourselves!
6) It’s natural to mourn your past life so give yourself that time.
7) You might want to just leap into your “new” life and experience your new path and dreams but just allow it develop slowly, no need to rush it (it may take years). Try to enjoy the journey and stay proud of yourself!
8) Allow yourself to feel all the emotions that survivorship brings. Don’t be surprised if you find a new perspective, sometimes feel misunderstood, and less able to relate. Remember knowing yourself better just like knowing others betters, is always a gift. Let people know how the experience changed you.
9) After not being able to care for yourself for a long time, seek some external structure while reestablishing yourself.
10) Don’t feel too frustrated if you found that treatment led to a little regression of self-growth that you had already worked through in the past. You overcame it once, and can again
11) Survivor guilt is real. I felt guilty that I required so much support. I felt guilty people that had spouses/children did not survive and I as a single person did.
12) Although I encourage everyone we share the earth with to do something impactful towards their community, family or humanity, spare yourself from feeling the pressure that the universe saved your life and that now you must do something with major impact right away. I found too much pressure from myself to be paralyzing.