Finishing treatment is an important point for everyone involved in a young person’s cancer experience. It’s an opportunity to reflect on what you’ve been through and acknowledge everyone’s efforts. You may even start to relax a little.
That said, finishing treatment can also bring up unexpected feelings and responses. It takes time to adjust. Here are some things that may help:
finding a new normal
Even after treatment ends, normal can still seem very far away. Wanting to have everything back the way it was before cancer is completely understandable. Many people also talk about struggling with the expectations of others who want them to be their old selves. But instead of trying to pretend everything is back to the way it was, it may help to acknowledge that everyone has been changed by the experience.
"New normal" is the term that a lot of people use to describe life after cancer. It means recognising how you live now, rather than trying to recreate the past. While it may seem strange at first, you’ll find new routines as things settle.
Finishing treatment brings up a whole range of feelings, from relief to guilt. These feelings are all common, but if you need help managing them don’t hesitate to reach out. Talking to your social worker or the Redkite support team can be helpful at this stage.
returning to school
Going back to school after a long break can be daunting. Young people are often worried about being too tired to concentrate, feeling out of the loop with friends, and looking different after treatment. For primary school aged children, Camp Quality’s travelling puppet show can be a great way to answer classmates’ questions about cancer.
The Ronald McDonald Learning Program has resources on managing primary and high school, and the Redkite support team are also here for teenagers and young adults to support them as they go back to school.
parents: protective or over-protective?
After everything that’s happened, many parents feel a strong urge to keep their child close and protect them as much as possible. This is natural, but it can also be good to encourage your child to start building up their independence again.
We know this isn't a simple issue – finding the balance is hard and letting go takes a level of courage most people won't understand if they haven't been through cancer. Once again, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Redkite support team if you would like to talk about this part of finishing treatment.
Last updated September 2015.