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Post Treatment 6 months +

Relationships with your spouse or partner, family and friends change over time. Ask for help when you need it.

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Your relationship with your spouse or partner, family and friends will likely evolve over time as your and their needs shift. Family members or friends who took over chores for you may want life to go back to what it was before your treatment and still expect you to do what you used to The longer You may feel that you aren't getting the support you need which might make you angry or frustrated. It may be hard for you and the people around you to express feelings or know how to talk about what you've been through - and are still going through.

The longer since the end of treatment, the more likely family and friends assume you are okay. Let them know when you are not, or when you need assistance.

Family and friendship concerns will likely lessen as the years go by. Here are some ideas that have helped others deal with family concerns:

  • Let others know what you are able to do and what not to expect you to do. For example, don't feel you must keep the house or yard in perfect order because you always did in the past.
  • Ask for help when you need it, including asking for help from your underage children. (It will help make them feel as if they are assisting your recovery).
  • Accept help. When friends or family offer to help, say yes. Let them know things that they could do to make your life easier. In this way, you will get the support you need, and your loved ones will feel helpful.
  • Help the children in your family understand what you have been treated for and that it may take a while for you to have the energy you used to have.
  • Talk about your needs. Ask each family member to talk about their needs and concerns. Consider scheduling a weekly or monthly meeting. Don't let cancer be the 800 pound gorilla in the room that everyone knows is there, but no one talks about.
  • Keep in touch with friends. It will help relieve their anxiety about you.

If you are part of a couple, expect changes in your relationship and needs as time passes. A resource to consider, including exercises, is the American Cancer Society's book: Couples Confronting Cancer ($18.95 including shipping).

If you need help dealing with family or friends, professional help is available. Particularly look for an expert on family roles and concerns after treatment.

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