Narrator: Can I be my old self again after my cancer treatment?
Julie Silver, MD: There are few cancer survivors who come through treatment totally unscathed and are exactly as they were before. And what I tell my patients is, and I wrote in my book,is that Michael Jordan probably wishes that he was 20 years old again but he's not going to be 20 years old again.And so you can't be exactly what you were like before you had cancer treatment, probably. But you can work to heal optimally.And that's really the goal is how to heal optimally. These treatments definitely, they can cause neuropathies, they can cause people to have chronic fatigue for long, long periods of time,they can cause you to be very de-conditioned, a lot of scarring if you've had surgeries and different cancers removed, head and neck cancers can cause problems with speech and swallowing,there's all kinds of problems that may be permanent.But what I tell people, before you accept a new normal, heal the best that you can, heal optimally. Don't accept more pain and disability than you have to.
Narrator: OK, how do you know what is optimal?
Julie Silver, MD: It's hard to know what's optimal. In general you need to talk to your doctors about your symptoms. I'm still having pain, I'm still really tired. And then you want a doctor that listens to you.If you feel your doctor is pooh-poohing your symptoms and blowing you off, and not really listening to you then you need to find somebody who is listening.And if your doctor says, listen, we've tried all these different things and nothing is working, this is what's left and this is what you have to live with,then at some point you have to accept that.