A tip sheet on ‘moving forward’ after completing cancer treatments developed by:
(Rev.) John Lougheed Chaplain Anita Syens
Practice Lead Spiritual Care Assistant
CASC Specialist CASC Associate Member
From our experience in the privilege of cancer care accompaniment over the past twenty years, we have learned as much – or more – from patients and those who accompany them, than we have ‘taught’ them. So, trust yourself, and your instincts. Here are a few thoughts, organized around the acronym.
C – for Community – what is your sense of community? The extent to which it includes family, friends, neighbourhood, colleagues, kindred patients, faith community…
The Communities we belong to, provide us with a sense of context for mutual support, encouragement, lament, and celebration. Don’t underestimate the milestone you have achieved with the completion of treatment, and the extent to which your peers are genuinely – and vicariously – supportive. Your ‘thrivership’ phrase of recovery can be empowering to you, and others.
A – for self-Assessment - To find words for how we are feeling – including what we fear – can help to diminish their power over us, and guide is to a way forward. One may not be able to make sense of a cancer diagnosis, but we can always seek to make meaning.
R – for Resources - Like our sense of community, these may range from intimate relationships to collegial ones. Perhaps you are already connected with a community agency, counsellor, peer support, or a faith community, or would like to explore what is available. As surely as you were helped by others, perhaps becoming a resource for others is next for you.
E – for Effort - Ultimately, just as people can’t speak for us, they can accompany us, but not walk the path of our journey for us. As such, we are all encouraged to reflect on what we need, and what effort we are prepared to continue to make in our ongoing recovery. And as ‘thrivers’ after treatment, consider the ongoing importance of effort in helping oneself to remain aligned to our unique paths.
Consider Advance Care Planning
Advance Care Planning is a process of reflection and communication. It is a time for you to reflect on your values and wishes, and to let people know what kind of health and personal care you would want in the future if you were unable to speak for yourself.
It means having discussions with family and friends, especially your Substitute Decision Maker – the person who will speak for you if you cannot speak for yourself. It may also include writing down your wishes, and talking with healthcare providers and financial or legal professionals.
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
Patient decision aids are tools that can help you with difficult or confusing decisions. The tools help you think about your options, choices, and personal values.