“New normal” after cancer refers to much more than just the unpleasant changes. This inclusive term refers to the combination of…
Physical changes (e.g., pain, fatigue, loss of voice box, insomnia, menopause)
Emotional changes (e.g., fear, sadness, loss of self-esteem)
New routines (e.g., checkups/scans, medications, taking naps)
New relationships; changed old relationships (e.g., survivor buddies; enriched friendships)
Changed attitude and outlook
Life lessons learned through illness
Two things may help you benefit from the healing power of the new normal:
Focus on all the elements under your control. You have the power to…
Develop adaptive rules and routines for your current circumstances
Choose your responses to challenges
Look for and build on good things that came out of unwanted illness
Tack on the qualifier that, before, was only implied: “new normal for now.” We’re talking about the next few weeks (or maybe, months)—and not necessarily forever after. If you think about it, “normal’ is a moving target from birth to death, with or without cancer. The human condition demands creating one “new normal” after another as circumstances change.
Healthy Survivors create a “new normal for now” that incorporates the physical, emotional and spiritual changes catalyzed by their illness. Whatever the challenges, you can always strive to make life the best it can be.
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