Your new post-chemotherapy (chemo) schedule can have its own challenges. Some people find it difficult to face an uncertain future. Others feel at odds not having a treatment schedule to live by. Will the cancer come back? Will your body heal? Will you stop feeling tired? More questions may come up as you move forward.
Some common ones are:
- How long will it take to feel like my old self?
- Which of my doctors do I still need to see after treatment?
- How often should I see my doctor(s) after chemo?
- Will I need more tests?
- What can I do to relieve symptoms like pain and fatigue if they continue?
- What can I do to keep cancer from coming back?
- What do I need to know about health insurance coverage?
- Are there any support groups I can join?
You, your doctor, and your care team will determine what actions should be taken.
You and Your Doctor Post-Chemo
The truth is you are not alone with these questions. Getting through chemo ends one part of your journey, but you will have continuing care. Post-chemo care includes:
- An ongoing partnership with your doctor
- Regular medical checkups
- Additional support as needed
Be sure to speak with your doctor and care team about your follow-up care plan. Post-chemo care can be as crucial as any treatment you've received thus far.
Long-Term Chemo Side Effects
Chemo side effects occur because cells in your body–both cancerous and normal–have been damaged. Because of this, you may have chemo side effects that linger after chemo. Ways that chemo may continue to affect you can include:
- Problems with thinking and remembering
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Problems with your mouth and teeth
- Weight changes
- Difficulty swallowing
- Problems with your bladder or bowels
- Symptoms of menopause
If you have any of these longer-term chemo side effects, speak with your doctor. There are things you can do to help lessen these effects. You can speak to others who have been through the chemo journey. Your doctor may prescribe medications to help. Or you may be able to do some simple things at home that help. By now, you're probably a pro at getting the help you need. You can use these skills after chemo too.