How Finding Balance Helps Manage Cancer-Related Fatigue

How Finding Balance Helps Manage Cancer-Related Fatigue

How Finding Balance Helps Manage Cancer-Related Fatigue 4584 3056 Untire

Our gratitude goes out to Rebecca ter Mors, who shared her story with us.

Rebecca ter Mors is a 26 year old cancer survivor living in Utrecht, Netherlands. She is the Founder of the Super Youth Foundation whose mission is providing fun experiences for young cancer patients and survivors in the Netherlands. She currently works as a freelance actress and model with her own company ‘Rebecca ter Mors‘.

When I was 11 they discovered a brain tumor in the back of my head. I had surgery to remove 90% of the tumor, but unfortunately it came back and a period of radiation was necessary to reduce it till two little stripes that are now still there. As childhood cancer survivor, I’m living with the late effects of my treatment for more than 15 years now. Chronic fatigue, concentration problems and memory issues take the upper hand in my daily life. One day it’s more than the other, but the effects are always there. I have had to learn how to live with it and find the right balance.

Today, things are actually going quite well. However, when I encounter big life changes, I always have to reestablish a new balance, which can be challenging. In January, I started working for myself after working part-time in an office for nine months. This was a complete turnaround in my daily routine but a very good choice. I found out that working as a self-employed person really suits me better, because I have so much more freedom to organize the work and the hours that go with it so it is achievable for me.

This new work life balance gives me much more rest and the opportunity to live in the here and now. I can develop at my own pace without any pressure and I can choose which assignments I want to do and don’t want to do. The freedom to choose my work made me feel much better.

A few days ago, I had an evening out for the first time in a long while. At first, I did not want to go because I would normally needed two days to recover. But it was the housewarming party of a friend so I just had to stop by, even if only for an hour. In the end, it was a lovely evening where I ended up staying much longer than expected and genuinely enjoyed myself. It was refreshing to be social, meet new people and the energy to engage in conversation.

I got home pretty late that night, but somehow I still felt okay. To my surprise, the next morning I could get back to work without having to rest all day or feel lethargic. It was nice to see that establishing boundaries and making choices focused on what was good for me was finally working.

I was recently introduced to the Untire mobile app, which is a dedicated cancer-fatigue resource for patients and survivors. It has an entire theme on the topic of setting boundaries. Based on my changes and choices, I found this information to be especially valuable given my new work schedule and ability to manage social events. The daily tips from the Untire app really helped me. I love the fact that it focuses on you as a person, to find your balance and your own way in life. This gives me strength to go further in my own path.

Establishing boundaries wasn’t easy in the beginning, because I wanted to go with the flow, but with the right people supporting you it will work. I’ve made it a goal for myself to do just two different things for one day. I have given up trying to explain things to people who do not understand, as some will never get what it’s like to experience cancer fatigue. This alone, I can tell you, this saves a lot of energy that I can now put into ‘more important things’.

Rebecca ter Mors



(Photos by Yvonne Janssen)