• Cancer and the holidays. What tips do you have for how people living with cancer can make the most of this holiday season?

    Asked by GregP_WN on Friday, November 2, 2012

    Cancer and the holidays. What tips do you have for how people living with cancer can make the most of this holiday season?

    26 Answers from the Community

    26 answers
    • ticklingcancer's Avatar

      I've started to type a few responses to this question and each time I get a few words out then I'm stumped. For me, this is a difficult question to answer so I'm curios to see some of the other responses and even learn from this one. I had a rough time during the holiday last year after being diagnosed in early November and starting chemo in early December. But through it all, my family was by my side and that made all the difference in the world.

      almost 6 years ago
    • Harry's Avatar

      Perhaps the best thing to do is to savor this season with friends and family. You may not have another or you may have many more. Celibrate this season with joy. This one, at least, you have.

      almost 6 years ago
    • FreeBird's Avatar

      I think many people build an image in their heads of what their ideal holiday should be, and they have unwritten rules for what it takes to have a good holiday compared to everyone else. I'm talking about people without cancer or other chronic illnesses too. Shopping malls know and exploit this. The winter holiday season makes a lot of people miserable emotionally even when they're smiling on the outside. Mostly these rules are written by other people and have nothing to do with the things we really value. We are very unoriginal animals who keep repeating the same thing year after year-- even those aspects we dislike. I hear people saying this Christmas isn't going to be the same. My advice is to break the rules and make your own holiday every day you're alive. Just don't wear those Christmas sweaters whatever you do. I hate those things. Can we have two Halloweens this year instead? Who's in?

      Enjoy the food if you can eat. Life is very short. Enjoy the people, especially if you have time to spend with family. And find something more meaningful than how big a hole you can dig with a credit card. Both the spiritual "pagan" meaning of the season and the Christian meaning are lost in a bizarre modern consumption-based theme park style holiday with millions of zombies stumbling over each other at the shopping mall to buy the last Kung-fu Hairy Henry doll for their kids. I really don't like special days on the calendar, because it repeats itself like a broken record. If it's going to repeat, make it worth repeating. It's really freeing to make your own rules. This year do something different and fun. You deserve it. Invite some different people to share your special meals.

      almost 6 years ago
    • teddyfuzz's Avatar

      I'm with FreeBird - I vote for two Halloweens!

      almost 6 years ago
    • Stevedarke's Avatar

      Christmas stirs many emotions and therefore is quite unique to each of us, however when you throw cancer into the mix our emotions can become even more confused. Whatever you feel about Christmas it is just another day in the calendar of life so to celebrate it or not will depend on your mood and that of those around you. I say reach for the best of life on all 356 days of the year, and leave the worry of just one of them to divine providence.


      almost 6 years ago
    • Peroll's Avatar

      I had too thoughts about this. First cancer is a great exvcuse not to eat those holiday foods you really don't like but have to eat because someone brought them. Cancer gives tyou the excuse tht your Dr told you not to eat that so you don;t have to eat it and pretend to like it any more.

      I also think that cancer is a good excuse to back away from the commercialized christmad crap and really give thinks for what you have, your life and your friends and supporters. Start new traditions that celibrate the thinks that matter most in your life.

      Also ask for a week off chemo so you can feel better even if it is only for a few days.

      almost 6 years ago
    • cancervivor's Avatar

      We let the family and friends know that we will be cooking a big spread and we want everyone to come. These days what's important is different that what it was a few years ago.

      almost 6 years ago
    • Queen_Tatiana's Avatar

      With the return of my husband's cancer (Peroll), we decided to change things up this year. We've gone through 7 years of holidays not being able to really do anything except for 2 years we were able to travel to Austen to be with his family. This Thanksgiving we've rented a house on Whidbey Island and will be with our kids, one son is here in Seattle, and the other and his girlfriend (our daughter in love:) are coming in from NYC. Christmas we are taking a cruise to Mexico and Belize to simply get away and enjoy before chemo begins again in January--he stopped chemo when it was decided to operate.

      almost 6 years ago
    • Queen_Tatiana's Avatar

      Freebird, perhaps we should have an ugly Christmas sweater contest on here? LOL I have some bad ones that were my mom's and as much as I could not stand her wearing them, I can't ever get rid of them as they are simply a part of the holiday for me. I do not wear a Christmas sweater. Never. Ever.

      almost 6 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      On the first day of Christmas my Cancer gave to me,
      a reason not to get all stress out about the holidays.

      On the second day of Christmas my Cancer gave to me,
      2 artificial trees that stayed in the closet that year.

      On the third day of Christmas my Cancer gave to me,
      3 lighted wise men that stayed in the box.,

      On the forth day of Christmas my Cancer gave to me,
      4 weekends I didn't have to shop.

      On the fifth day of Christmas my Cancer gave to me,
      Peace and Quiet.

      On the sixth day of Christmas my Cancer gave to me,
      6 invitations declined.

      On the seventh day of Christmas my Cancer gave to me,
      a 7 pound pre-cooked turkey breast.

      On the eighth day of Christmas my Cancer gave to me,
      8 tree ornaments not broken by my cats.

      On the ninth day of Christmas my Cancer gave to me,
      One too many egg nogs.

      On the tenth day of Christmas my Cancer gave to me,
      Cozy jammies in which to watch TV.

      On the eleventh day of Christmas my Cancer gave to me,
      lots of cards I didn't mail out.

      On the twelfth day of Christmas my Cancer gave to me,
      A stress free holiday without feeling guilty.

      almost 6 years ago
    • NanaL's Avatar

      We usually cook a big spread and have the family over but this year I told my husband I want to go out to eat and then come back to the house for dessert and board games, cards etc. I want to be able to spend quality time with my granddaughter and the rest of the family without spending my day in the kitchen! Everyone thinks it's a great idea. A new tradition may just be what the cook needs! :)

      almost 6 years ago
    • Lirasgirl33's Avatar

      I will say........the most important thing is to spend it doing what makes you happy. What makes me happy is spending the holidays surrounded by family and loved ones. It has been this way before my cancer diagnosis and will continue to be that way. There are just not enough holidays during the year so I have to come up with things to do and reasons to get together and celebrate life. :)

      almost 6 years ago
    • JennyMiller's Avatar

      Last Christmas was rocked with emotion. I was diagnosed 11/11/11 - had surgery 12/5 - was told it was Stage III with 8 of 11 positive lymph nodes - had scans 12/19. I tried to stay in the spirit for the sake of family and friends. However, I personally had already entered that "twilight zone" of the cancer world. I was invited to a Christmas Party at a Church Rectory hosted by the Pastor whom I had worked for. So I bought a new "very roomy" colorful blouse -- I taped up my three drains (grenades) to my belly and ventured out -- when I was at the Buffet table with many of the guests, the drains came lose and fell below my blouse -- yes, it was unpleasant for me. On a better note, we had our family over for Christmas Eve which has been a tradition for years - they brought all the food and did the work. They had made a DVD of family pictures starting with my husband and my childhood -- through their childhood -- and then the grandchildren and great grandchildren. It was set to music and it brought a few tears. Through all of this, I was convinced that it was my last Christmas. When I wrapped the Christmas Decorations and placed each one in the storage bin, I kept wondering who would unwrap them next because I surely would not be here to do it. Well, it is Christmas 2012 --- and I am here through the power of prayer that brought me through that nasty storm!!! I will be the one to unwrap those decorations and it will be a symbol that I have been gifted with life and another Christmas --- so I will make every effort to appreciate family, friends and the festivity --- and to live the true meaning of Christmas in my love of God who has sustained me. And, by the way --- I have all my Christmas Shopping done and the presents are wrapped -- my Christmas Cards are done and sealed and ready to be mailed -- and I will do the cooking for Christmas Eve. Of course, I am not that naive to think that I won't have some memories and fears surface but I am going to try to make "C" stand for Christmas and not Cancer --- at least for awhile.

      almost 6 years ago
    • BoiseB's Avatar

      I was diagnosed with cancer two weeks before My favorite Holiday which is Easter. I found that the Holidays actually helped me through my cancer. I made the Holidays very spiritual. Try to participate in something of a spiritual nature. Maybe even something different (a different congregation perhaps.) The Winter Hollidays have always been hard for me because I have Seasonal Adjustment Disorder. I have found that Cancer has actually helped me through the Winter Holidays.

      almost 6 years ago
    • jodlmill's Avatar

      I was diagnoised on 11/9/11 and had many tests prior to Thanksgiving and started chemo on 12/2/11 with my second treatment on 12/23/11. I surrounded myself with family and friends during the holidays because they are really what matter in life not petty things of this earth. Some of the things I did with them, went to look at Christmas trees that were decorated for an annual charity, went to the movies, watched Christmas movies on tv with friends, spent Thanksgiving day with my family, spent Christmas with family and friends. I found that doing things as I felt like it helped take my mind off of the cancer journey I had just started.

      almost 6 years ago
    • Harry's Avatar

      Well, I like my family and even my in-laws. I like the special foods. So, for me the holidays are for getting together with my family and enjoying them. I don't see many of them often enough. I agree that the holidays can be stressful. So, don't do the stress. Shop in catalogs and on-line if you don't want to face the stores. Don't figure you need to outspend everyone else. And, if appropriate, focus on the religious aspects of the holidays. Those aren't about stress.

      almost 6 years ago
    • packerbacker's Avatar

      For Thanksgiving, we go to my husband's Aunt's house and spend time with his family. Stuffed turkey is my favorite meal, so I'm going to eat what I can and hopefully have a good day with that. I also, in the past year since diagnosis, have learned that time spent with loved ones is irreplaceable, and I plan on enjoying being with them. For Christmas, I make jewelry for the women and we buy the men a little something. But again, the most important part of all of it is spending time with my loved ones. Mom comes over and we enjoy time together. I am frightened at the thought of not seeing them much longer, but I am going to focus on the time I have with them. The whole "2-3 years left to live," even though I know that's not always accurate, scares me and I am constantly wondering and worried about that. But, I hope everyone, including myself, can continue to see the joy and love that seems to show itself more during this time of year, because I plan on it.

      almost 6 years ago
    • kokopelli1229's Avatar

      i think of 5 things i am thankful for, or rather visualize for a few moments. It sets my day in a positive direction.

      almost 6 years ago
    • LisaLathrop's Avatar

      ENJOY the holidays as much as you can. Be with family and friends who support you and understand that if you have to skip the holiday meal because you need a nap, that is ok. You may have to forgo some old traditions and make some new ones depending on how your feeling. Smile...and count your blessings....you are ALIVE!

      almost 6 years ago
    • Paprika's Avatar

      Try a new recipe and bring it to someone who needs a little love. This experience has taught me the best way for me to heal has been (is) to help someone else. karma. it's a great thing! Be thankful and let everyone who helped you out this past year know how much that has helped!
      I'll eat some stuffing in honor of your victory Greg! love and kisses from Seattle

      almost 6 years ago
    • jana's Avatar

      I'm one such person living with cancer that was initially diagnosed as Cancer of Unknown Primary, but what is in fact metastatic Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer. Though I have lived in northern California for five years, I don't know anyone, and will be spending Thanksgiving, and the holidays alone. This may well be my last holiday season. Can't recall when I've been this devastated. Any tips on how I can survive this?

      over 5 years ago
    • vernonveronica's Avatar

      I was diagnosed in April of this year with Nueroendocrine Pancreatic CA that has spread to my liver. I have blood vessels that have regenerated and basically look like a roadmap which is making it almost impossible for surgery. Christmas has always been my favorite holiday and we host a big family dinner including all my in laws. This year it will just be our immediate family and no stress. I have completed my shopping and the gifts are wrapped and the tree will be going up the day after Thanksgiving, if I feel up to it. That's my motto, if I feel up to it.

      over 5 years ago
    • TammyF's Avatar

      I am talking my husband on a cruise this christmas, we know it most likely will be his last christmas, so I want to make it as special as I can. Don't get me wrong I really can not afford this, but I will worry about that later.

      over 5 years ago
    • fullofhope1913's Avatar

      in surgery for liver cancer 14 hours!!! isn't this too long

      over 5 years ago
    • cllinda's Avatar

      I delegated the year I started chemo. My daughter did the shopping, my son put up the tree, and I enjoyed the time with family. My husband cooked the Christmas dinner, and I just could be present in the moments. I started chemo on Dec. 12, 2012, and had I known how it would effect me, I would have waited until after the holidays. But this year, I am feeling good, and plan on enjoying my holidays again. Just in smaller portions.

      over 3 years ago
    • Tank's Avatar

      Enjoy Enjoy Enjoy

      over 3 years ago

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