On the last track we discussed talking to clients if the illness is not progressing as planned. This included a description of the take the opposite track technique.
On this track we will discuss rebounding and rebuilding. The first step to recovery after remission is to reconcile with the idea of being healthy again.
Cancer and the fight for recovery never really ends. Along with the battle scars, clients generally gain a new perspective on life. Tabitha, age 48, had gone into remission from her cancer. Tabitha asked, "What does that mean?" I stated, "It means that you will carry your new perspective along with a few fears into the future. It means you will have some additional considerations and challenges, as well as the joys of overcoming them."
Reconciling to the Idea of Being Healthy
First, would you agree that it is productive for clients like Tabitha to reconcile themselves to the idea of being healthy again? Tabitha stated, "I feel like I’ve been under a microscope for the last two years. And now it’s over!" Like Tabitha, your client may actually experience a type of separation anxiety from the medical world, especially from the treatment staff who clients often feel took such good care of them. Also, aches and pains start to be measured by different standards for patients in remission. Tabitha stated, "I don’t want to feel like a hypochondriac and call the doctor every time I sniffle!" How might you have responded to Tabitha?
I stated, "Then you must move forward. Some of my clients noticed that one of the things that was damaged was their sense of mental and physical confidence, whether at work, at play, or on dates. After battling cancer it will take time to regain the will and desire to compete again in worldly matters. But soon you’ll rediscover that spirit, whether it’s feeling good on a date or achieving new heights of physical fitness. In fact, many clients find it helpful to set difficult physical goals, including running marathons, and are eventually able to meet them." Think of your Tabitha. What goal setting strategies might benefit your client?
Can I Have Children?
For younger clients, having children becomes an issue regarding recovery. This is another area where medical technology has strengthened. Combined with time, technology can allow the recovered cancer patient to regain their capacity to reproduce. Would you agree that time can indeed be one of the most productive healers regarding recovery? Clients’ mental edge generally returns to full strength, though not as fast as they sometimes hope.
"I'm blessed with more self-knowledge"
As time passed, Tabitha was able to gain more and more perspective on the cancer recovery experience. Certain advantages also became apparent to her. Tabitha stated, "I feel as if I have a better understanding of what in life is valuable. I’m better at prioritizing my time to focus on more meaningful activities, and I devote more time to the ones I love and who love me. I guess when you look at it like that, I’m blessed with more self knowledge and better decision making skills." As you can see, for Tabitha, the battle wasn’t just to stay even. She got better. Think of your Tabitha. How might your client cope with recovery? Could hearing this track be of assistance?
On this track we have discussed rebounding and rebuilding.
Peer-Reviewed Journal Article References:
Grunfeld, E. A., Drudge-Coates, L., Rixon, L., Eaton, E., & Cooper, A. F. (2013). “The only way I know how to live is to work”: A qualitative study of work following treatment for prostate cancer. Health Psychology, 32(1), 75–82.
Hou, W. K., Law, C. C., Yin, J., & Fu, Y. T. (2010). Resource loss, resource gain, and psychological resilience and dysfunction following cancer diagnosis: A growth mixture modeling approach. Health Psychology, 29(5), 484–495.
Yi-Frazier, J. P., Fladeboe, K., Klein, V., Eaton, L., Wharton, C., McCauley, E., & Rosenberg, A. R. (2017). Promoting Resilience in Stress Management for Parents (PRISM-P): An intervention for caregivers of youth with serious illness. Families, Systems, & Health, 35(3), 341–351.
Online Continuing Education QUESTION 14
What is the first step toward recovery after remission?
To select and enter your answer go to .