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finishing treatment


When treatment is finished or has become less intensive and you’re set to head home, it might suddenly seem a little scary to leave the hospital. While you’ve probably been wanting to sleep in your own bed, when faced with the reality of going home you might feel a bit anxious.


This is normal. For a lot of people, the hospital and medical team become like a security blanket. You have a wonderful team of people looking after you and making sure everything is going the way it is supposed to.


To feel more comfortable heading home, here are a few tips that could help:

  • Keep your doctor or cancer care coordinator’s contact details handy. You can always call them if you’re worried about something
  • Chat to a counsellor who understands, like a member of the Redkite support team
  • Make a list of any follow up appointments or tests. Put them in your phone or set a reminder
  • If you haven’t already, join a support group and talk with other young people who have had similar experience returning to school or work

As well as going home, you might also be going back to school or work. For some people this is daunting, but others can’t wait to get back into it. You could be feeling a bit of both.


Feeling concerned about catching up on work, feeling tired, or worrying about how people will react are all common. Don’t forget that on top of the skills and experience you already have, there are some really handy tips available for making that transition easier. Check out the Cancer Council’s working with cancer guide and Ronald McDonald Learning Program’s resources for teachers.


Remember to take things at your own pace. You know yourself best.


Going home can also mean being back with your family full-time, for the first time in a long time. Frankly, it can seem like everyone is acting weird. This will change. You have all been through an enormous event and it can take time to settle back into routines, adjust to everyday life and find a new rhythm.


Give yourself and your family a chance to re-adjust. If you can, talk about the changes and challenges, so you’re dealing with them together. You may be surprised how little time it takes for a familiar argument to start about who’s doing the dishes or what to watch on TV.


Heading home doesn’t always mean you’re ready to throw yourself back into life the same way. You could still be tired from treatment or just trying to get your head around what you’ve been through. If your friends are expecting you to walk from the hospital straight into party mode though, it can be tough. Explain how you’re feeling and tell them to keep inviting you, but that it might be a while before you feel like going out.


It might also seem like some of your friends went MIA while you were in hospital. Hopefully returning home will give them a chance to re-appear and re-establish your relationship. If that doesn’t happen it can be really disappointing, but it’s a reflection on them. Focus instead on the people you do want to hang out with. Of course, you might even have some new friends you made during treatment to keep up with now.


If you would like to talk to someone about any of these issues, remember that the Redkite support team is here for you.

Last updated September 2015.