There are many stages one goes through when facing a life-threatening illness. First is the initial diagnosis when decisions are being made regarding treatment. Then there is the treatment stage: depending on the course of treatment, this stage can be quite brutal. These stages are followed by the post-treatment stage which has no expiration date. When going through a catastrophic illness, a patient is usually surrounded by a team of health professionals and, if they are fortunate, family and friends. The stage of post-treatment is rarely acknowledged and is often experienced as a wall of silence. There are no more appointments and schedules to keep. Friends and family may not want to remind us of our recent ordeal and they may be exhausted by their efforts at caregiving. This can be a very lonely time and one of hypervigilance. Krauter gives practical advice for coping with the residue of living beyond the illness.
Program 3620 Description