This is a term I have heard thrown around quite often after being done cancer treatment. I get it now. People who have gone through cancer, be it surgery, radiation, chemo, supporter, care giver, whatever, the "battle" doesn't really end there. This can mean a variety of different things and problems and issues to lots of different people. I am just going to write about some of my experiences and a few things that maybe I didn't think of before.
One of the hardest things anyone listed above deals with is the thought of "going back". No one wants to, and you kind of just have to have some faith that you will be okay, that maybe things will be okay after all. This takes a huge stress toll on someone like me. I have always had a job, been able to go to school, and do the things I wanted to. I love that I can do most of those things again (as long as it doesn't involve running yet, still need to work on fixing my leg). The thought of losing those things again would be very difficult to deal with. I know this is a feeling shared by most people. Everyone who fights cancer is strong, I have no doubt in my mind that these are the toughest people I have ever met (as would be anyone fighting any disease), they could do it again, I could do it again, but I don't want to, the pain was very hard.
Being physically in pain for so long takes its toll too. A common problem is any cough, cold or pain I have, I get worried is "bad" and furthermore, when it isn't I hate being at home sick. Even for just a cold or something trivial. It can be hard.
Physical challenges I have felt I can deal with, not easily, but they are manageable. They have timelines associated with them, Mental recovery can be more challenging I find because they have no deadline. You never know what may set you off. You can be having a great day, and something reminds me of something bad and it ruins my day, or maybe part of it. Some people call this the "new normal" a term I hate, I just want regular normal back.
Being a survivor is tough. It can be physically and emotionally draining for many people. I get worn down really badly sometime, trying not to let it show. Quite honestly it can wear me down to the point of exhaustion. I know I am not alone in this. I try more and more to relax, but it can be hard.
Survivorship is an ongoing struggle, but I think it is getting to be something I can deal with, or at least will be able to deal with better over time. Just need to learn how to deal with it a bit better.