When you finish treatment it can feel like coming off a rollercoaster. You may have been putting all your effort into coping with treatment and now you have the chance to look back at what you’ve been through. At the same time, your hospital appointments may become less frequent, which might mean you feel less supported.
Emotional recovery from treatment often takes longer than people expect. Some days you may feel that you’re recovering well, but other days may be a struggle, leaving you feeling low or lacking in confidence.
The emotions and feelings you have after treatment may be very powerful or unpleasant and may be new to you, but they are natural. Worry and fatigue can leave you feeling much more emotional or sensitive than you were before. You may experience a whole range of unexpected emotions, such as feeling withdrawn, fearful, irritable or frustrated.
Not everyone reacts in the same way after treatment and some people may not experience these types of emotions. There’s no right or wrong way to feel.
Some people find that having a positive attitude helps them cope, but you may also feel under pressure to avoid appearing low or negative. Try not to put too much pressure on yourself.
People can feel they don’t have enough support from family, friends or their healthcare team after treatment ends. If you feel this way, you could try telling people how you feel and how they can help.
Some hospitals offer health and wellbeing events where you can get information on coping with daily life after treatment. It’s also a chance to meet other people in a similar position to you. Ask your healthcare team if there are any events in your area.
You could also ask your specialist nurse whether your hospital offers holistic needs assessments to find out what practical or physical help you may need. Your healthcare team can refer you to other local services if you need them.
If you have other health problems, you may be finding it harder to recover from bowel cancer treatment. Speak to your healthcare team about what support you can get to help with daily life.
Many people feel stronger over time and can get back to enjoying normal life again but some people will feel like they need some extra support.
Your GP or specialist nurse may refer you to a counsellor or clinical psychologist. Some of these services are free on the NHS but you may need to pay for long-term counselling.
Other people with cancer can also be a great support. Visit our online community to talk about your experiences, share knowledge and get support from other people.
Updated August 2019