Post Treatment For Breast Cancer 0 - 6 Months
We recommend that you at least skim the following content to get an overview, then return to each subject if and as it works for you. Each subject starts with a summary. Links take you to more information. For instance, to form letters and what to say or not say to an insurance company.
- Give yourself time to recuperate.
- Let family members, friends and co-workers know you are still recovering. This may not be apparent when you begin to look like your former self. Continue to ask for help as you need it.
- Do your best to keep a realistically optimistic attitude. We refer to this as a "positive attitude." There's a reason for the adage "the glass is always half full and half empty." Try to focus on the half full side. See: A Positive Attitude (And How to Keep It)
- When you have contact with your employer, an insurer, or government agency:
- Keep in mind that honey it is best to be courteous and friendly.
- Always keep in mind you are talking with another human being.
- Try to be understanding of the person's personal situation.
- Only use anger sparingly and consciously.
- In short hand: Make a friend. For more information, see: How To Talk With The People At Your Insurance Company (Make A Friend)
- Always get the name and/or i.d. number of the person with whom you speak.
- Make notes.
- Note the day and time and what was said.
- Keep your notes in the file with whatever subject you're calling about.
- Keep a photocopy of all forms you complete.
- If you mail anything that seems important:
- Include a cover letter with a date.
- Keep a copy. Attach a copy of the cover letter to your copy of the form.
- Send it by a delivery system that provides delivery receipts such as certified mail, return receipt requested or, by overnight. Note on your copy of the letter the receipt number so there is proof what was included in the particular envelope. Keep the receipt with your copy of the letter or document.
- When you are told things must be done by a deadline, note the deadline in your diary -- and finish on time.
- After each conversation, make sure you are in sync with the other person by repeating what is to be done, by whom, and by when.
- Make an alert to follow up to be sure the other person does what he or she agreed to do.
- Follow up on the day of your alert.
- Keep in mind that honey it is best to be courteous and friendly.
- In the short term, there may be depression instead of the relief or high you may expect at the end of treatment. Emotions which have been held in check since diagnosis have an opportunity to surface. The constant reassuring words from the cancer center staff will mostly be gone. You are suddenly left on your own to deal with uncertainty and fear, ongoing physical and emotional issues, and may even be continuing anti-cancer therapy.
- Emotional swings can continue for years. The severity of emotional swings generally lessens over time, but can surface at unexpected times.
- There is generally the fear of your breast cancer returning, or another cancer appearing. The fear can pop up unexpectedly, or be triggered by symptoms such as a flu. (To learn how to deal with fear, click here.)
- You also likely feel out of step with the healthy world.
- For Additional Information, see: Breast Cancer: Post Treatment 0 - 6 Months: Emotional Well Being
Physically: There may be physical disfigurement to live with, at least on a short term basis if you are undergoing reconstruction. Fatigue and/or chemo brain may continue for a while. Some effects may not show up until years after the end of treatment. If they do, speak with your doctor.
- Do not be surprised if symptoms continue.
- Get a breast cancer follow-up plan from your cancer doctor.
- Give yourself a monthly breast exam.
- Prepare for follow up visits with your doctors - and show up for doctors appointments.
- Consider gene testing.
- Help prevent lymphedema.
- If you are overweight, lose the extra weight.
- Comply with drug regimens. Save money when purchasing drugs. Store and dispose of drugs safely.
- There is no guarantee that your breast cancer will not return or that another cancer will not appear or that something else will not happen. You can help prevent another cancer occurrence, maximize your body's fighting ability, and help feel in control on a daily basis by adopting a cancer prevention lifestyle.
- Consider taking supplements.
- Take care of your mouth. Oral infections can spread quickly through the body, lowering your immune system's ability to fight disease.
The discussion about work issues is divided to suit your situation. Please click on the link that applies to you.
- Looking for work
- At work
- On disability (including thinking about returning to work)
- Self employed
- Small business owners (1 or more employees)
Financially: It is time to focus on paying off your medical bills and other debts and to get your finances in order to withstand the possibility of a recurrence or other expense. The same kind of planning will also help you meet your retirement and other goals. For information, see: Breast Cancer: Post Treatment: Finances
On a day to day basis:
- Reclaim your life.
- Let family and friends know when you need assistance. You do not need to be superwoman.
- Keep your children informed. Continually monitor their reactions.
- For Additional Information, see: Breast Cancer: Post Treatment 0 to 6 Months: Day To Day Living
- HEALTH INSURANCE
- If you do not have health insurance:
- Do whatever you can to get it. Despite your recent health history, there are a variety of ways to get health insurance. The easiest is through a group plan offered by an employer or membership organization. The larger the employer, the more likely it will have an employee health plan
- Each employer and/or each plan may have different rules regarding eligibility of dependents for coverage. Most include children and the spouse of the employee; some may include domestic partners as well.
- To learn how, see: How To Obtain Health Insurance
- Once you get health insurance, learn how to maximize use of it.
- If you have health insurance:
- Do whatever you need to do to keep it. It is likely one of your most valuable assets.
- If you and/or your spouse leave a job through which you have your group health insurance, you may be eligible to continue the coverage at your own expense under the provisions of the law known as COBRA. (Before taking COBRA, check to see if you can do better with individual coverage or through a different employer.) See: How To Obtain Health Insurance
- If there were medical expenses that your insurance company refused to pay for that you think should be covered -- keep pressing the company. Appeal. Be persistent. See: How To Appeal A Health Insurance Claim With The Best Chance Of Getting A Yes
- NOTE: We provide information about maximizing use of a health insurance plan according to the type of policy. If you do not know what type you have, see Types of Health Insurance Policies and How To Know Which Type You Have, How To Maximize Use Of Your Health Insurance Policy
- LIFE INSURANCE
- If you have life insurance, you may be able to get money from it while still alive if you have a shortened life expectancy (a "Living Benefit".) See: New Uses Of Assets - A Living Benefit From Your Life Insurance Policy
- You can still buy life insurance. In addition to traditional reasons, such as for your children, a policy can be a source of money while you're still alive. See: Life Insurance: How To Buy Despite A Health History
- OTHER INSURANCE
- Insurance protects against losses that the average person cannot bear alone. It is important for everyone to have basic insurance. The need is even greater after a diagnosis because it is likely harder for you to recoup in the event of a large loss.
- You are not likely to be able on your own to purchase Disability Income Insurance which provides an income if you become unable to work or Long Term Care Insurance to cover in case you need long term care. You may be able to obtain such coverage from an employer such as the government. (You may also be able to qualify in time.)
- Do your best to carry basic insurance such as Homeowners Insurance (either the variety for an owner or for a renter). If you own a vehicle, carry at least Automobile Insurance in the amount required by your state. The longer the period after your episode of cancer, the more likely you will also be able to get Disability Income Insurance and/or Long Term Care Insurance.
- If you haven't before, now is a good time to get your legal affairs in order. While you are thinking about it, this would be a good time for your entire family to focus on these subjects. Stuff can happen to any of us at any time. (Shifting the focus to the family unit also takes away any fear on their part that you are taking these steps because ofprostate cancer news that you are not sharing).
- At the least, execute documents known as Advance Healthcare Directives which let you stay in control of the medical care you do or do not want if you become unable to speak for yourself or become unconscious. The documents are free and don't require a lawyer. (Consider suggesting that the person charged with enforcing your advance directive(s) read:How To Enforce Advance Health Care Directivesr
- If you have children, make plans in case you are temporarily or permanently unable to care for them. See Children 101
- Consider creating something like an Ethical Will. which tells your children what you learned during your lifetime and family history. Or perhaps a video or photo scrap book of your times together.
- Keep control of what happens to your assets if you die by at least having a will. Wills also help prevent family fights. Wills are not expensive and may even be free. We provide tips about helping to make your will challenge proof.
- Thinking about, and talking about, funeral plans will save unnecessary stress and a good deal of money.
- NOTE: Check all documents, securities accounts and banks accounts with beneficiaries on them to be sure:
- The beneficiary you want is listed.
- If there is more than one beneficiary, the split between them is clear.
- You may be entitled to government benefits such as an income, health insurance or food stamps depending on your particular circumstances.
- There are no government benefits which distinguish between breast cancer and other health conditions.
- To learn about government benefits for which you may qualify, or which you should at least know about "just in case", see: Government Benefits
For Additional Information:
- When you reach 6 months post treatment:, see: Breast Cancer; Post Treatment 6 months Plus
- If your cancer recurs, see: Recurrence
- If you believe you are within six months of the end of your life, see: End of Life.