You survived cancer, and thought you had gotten through the worst part. You got through surgery, radiation, or chemo—or maybe all three. Now, though, you’re discovering you still have a huge challenge in front of you. You’re wondering…
When will I—or will I ever—feel “normal” again?
After treatment you may have found yourself in the following situation:
- You’ve finished treatment, and feel you “should” feel better by now… but you don’t
- You deal with chronic fatigue that zaps your energy, depresses you, and makes it hard to do everyday tasks and get back to your regular life
- You feel lonely and that you’ve gone through something that other people just don’t understand
- You feel depressed and anxious, waiting for the next shoe to drop and wondering if the cancer will come back
- You feel emotionally traumatized by your experience, and wonder if you’ll ever be able to go back to your old self and feel joy again
And you’ve tried other things, like:
- Seeing specialists, but you just get shuffled from doctor to doctor
- Talk therapy, but it doesn’t make you feel better to talk about the same thing over and over again
- Visiting your oncologist, but he or she doesn’t ask about your quality of life or how treatment has affected your mental health
- Physical therapy, but you feel stupid squeezing a medicine ball when you used to be able to do so much more
So you do research on your on, talk to others, and try to figure out what a solution could be, but the advice isn’t what you want to hear:
- Everyone just keeps telling you to “enjoy your life”… and you wonder if something is wrong with you because you can’t
- You know you’re supposed to exercise, socialize, and get back to work or school… but but your barely have enough energy to brush your teeth, let alone do anything bigger
- Your energy is unpredictable—one day you feel like you can handle it, the next you’re stuck in bed… how are you supposed to plan if you don’t know how you’re going to feel in a month, a week, or even tomorrow?
- You had a great support network when you were in treatment, but now that your treatment is over people have fallen away and disappeared, and you don’t feel like you have the help and support you need
- You’re afraid of the cancer coming back, and obsess that every little physical symptoms means a relapse
Hi, I’m Elana Miller MD
I’m a psychiatrist based in Los Angeles, California who’s passionate about integrating Western medicine, Eastern wisdom, and holistic approaches to help people live fuller and happier lives.
I’m also a cancer survivor who helps other cancer survivors recover physically and emotionally after treatment so they can get back to “normal” life.
My background and credentials:
Board-Certified in Psychiatry
B.A. in Psychology from Harvard University
M.D. from the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California – Member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society
Residency in Psychiatry from the University of California, Los Angeles – Nominated as a UCLA Exceptional Physician
Featured on the Huffington Post, Forbes, the website of the Academy of Integrative and Holistic Medicine, and KevinMD
First, let me tell you that:
- It’s NORMAL to feel terrible after treatment, even months later… your body was just tortured and poisoned by treatment, it’s it’s not going to recover completely in a week, a month, or even six months, or maybe even a year depending on your treatment!
- Recovery IS possible… it just takes time, and specific techniques can help you along and make it happen faster and easier and with less emotional pain and torture
- You DON’T need to feel completely normal to feel happy… you can feel happy much earlier than it will take you to go back completely to “normal”
- You are not alone—other people have gone through this and recovered completely—including me!
In December 2013 I was diagnosed with Stage IV Acute Lymphoblastic Lymphoma. I was 31 years old.
I was six months away from graduating from my psychiatry residency program, finally feeling like all the hard work I had put into my career (four years of pre-med in college, four years of medical school, and nearly four years of residency), would soon pay off.
Within a few days I was told:
- That minor cough I had been dealing with was actually cancer
- It was stage IV
- It was a rare kind of cancer, so instead of six months of chemotherapy, I would need… three years
- I could die imminently, so I would need to start treatment immediately
- There was no time to freeze my eggs, so I’d never have children
Within a few days I had started an intensive chemotherapy regimen. I spent the next few weeks in and out of the hospital.
I tried to keep working, but it soon became apparent that I was becoming too sick.
After six weeks I went into remission, which was great—but I still had years of chemo left (anything less and I would be at a high risk of relapse), and I soon found the worst was yet to come.
Within a few months my relationship of five years ended.
Soon after I became too sick to take care of myself so I moved back in with my parents.
I tried to stay positive, but I felt awful all the time.
After about eight months of chemo (up to five days a week), I was starting to lose it.
Between the constant pain, nausea, mouth sores, and abject fatigue, I looked—and felt—totally disfigured.
After a year, I finished the intensive phase of chemo and transitioned to maintenance, and eagerly anticipated starting to feel better.
I didn’t start to feel better.
Still, I was desperate to get my life back, and after a year and a half, while I was still getting monthly chemo, I move back to Los Angeles and tried to go back to work.
It didn’t work, though—I was too sick.
At one point I had to deal with a relapse scare, and I seriously faced the possibility that I would soon die.
The dark days stretched out into dark months, and then dark years. I felt depressed and constantly ill, experiencing a level of suffering most people couldn’t imagine.
But then I woke up one day… and didn’t feel terrible.
A month later, I felt a little better. Not yet physically better, but mentally.
Soon after, I started to date. I felt insecure that no one would want to date a cancer survivor, but found that people didn’t really care.
(I did have bomb short, curly hair).
After another month, I met someone who seemed to think my experience made me special, rather than broken.
I was still on chemo, and for the first time in a long time, I had someone to drive me to my appointments.
A few months later I had my last dose of chemotherapy. A few months after that we got engaged.
Earlier this year, we got married.
If there is one thing this experience taught me, that could apply to you, reading this right now—it is this:
The human spirit is resilient. The worst things in the world can happen to you, and you can still bounce back. It might not happen overnight, but it will happen.
How I can help you
The Life After Cancer Program: A complete system to increase your energy, recover from depression, trauma, and “cancer anxiety,” and get your life back after cancer treatment
Along the way, I discovered specific techniques that help this process go along much more quickly and less painlessly than otherwise. Having a plan gave me hope and gave me a purpose—that no matter how hard it was, I was going to recover.
Now I have put these techniques together into a systematic program—a combination of online course and personalized coaching—that addresses the PHYSICAL and EMOTIONAL aspects of cancer recovery, and:
- Addresses the chronic fatigue that inevitably results from intensive treatment
- Shows you how to pace your energy so you can stop guessing and KNOW what you can take on, and at what pace
- Teaches you how to integrate holistic approaches into your life to help you feel better, including prescription medication, nutritional supplementation, and mind-body practices
- Helps you set incremental goals that will make your success inevitable
- Addresses anxiety and depression so you have the mental bandwidth and positivity to get better
- Teaches emotional resilience—so you can overcome the trauma of what happened to you, move on, and lead a happy life without needing feel “perfect” all the time.
Most important, I will LISTEN to you and I CARE. For the people I’ve helped with this system, their pain is my pain, their problems are my problems, and their successes make my work and life worthwhile.
You didn’t survive cancer to live like THIS—life is too short to suffer when you don’t need to
Sign up for a FREE video one-on-one Strategy Session with me—let me hear what you’re dealing with and we’ll see if my program can help you achieve your goals.