One of the few good things about cancer is that you can use it as an excuse to eliminate stress. I no longer play the stress game with Christmas. No expectations and no pressure to do anything I don't want to do. No decorating, not mad shopping, no sending out Christmas cards. I made some fudge to give to people I work with because I wanted to. I got a couple of little things for my husband and kids who will be at our house on Christmas Eve. No big dinner, just some appetizers and drinks. Do exactly what you want to do, nothing more and nothing less. And that XXX about it being your last Christmas so you should have your family over.....tell him to stuff it. Neither Christmas nor dying should be about stress.
Bile Duct (Cholangiocarcinoma) Cancer Questions
Christmas stress - breaking tradition
Asked by BobbiW on Thursday, December 20, 2012
Christmas stress - breaking tradition
Is anyone feeling the pre-Christmas stress? I was diagnosed with Cholangriacarcinoma in Aug. 2012. Our traditional Christmas has been my side of the family going to my mom's for Christmas Eve. There are approx. 25 people there (inc. lots of kids). I feel it is too stressful this year with the commotion and, since I am having difficulty moving about (I'll need a walker or wheelchair to maneuver), I've told my mom and daughter that we (hubby & me) won't make it this year and spend a quiet time at home and, that if anyone wants to stop in for a short visit that day/night or Christmas Day, ok.
My hubby thinks this is crazy & angers him. His point is that this might be my last Christmas and doesn't want me to spend it without my family around; Christmas is a time of celebration w/family. He wants my immediate family to spend Christmas Eve (mom, daughter & her family, my brother) - not with all the nieces/nephews/their kids we hardly ever see. UGH! I'm in a dilemma what to do! HELP!
7 Answers from the Community
I think the fact that you are welcome to having your family members drop in to visit you is a great solution. Most people would understand why you're not up for a large, chaotic gathering with lots of kids. I'm not a psychologist but I suspect your husband is scared about your health and his fear is manifesting itself in misplaced anger. He may be seeking reassurance from you that you plan on being around for future Christmases. See if you can talk to him about reaching a mutually agreeable compromise - maybe you could make plans to have your mother, brother, and daughter have overlapping visits with you.
I started avoiding Christmas at the in laws long before I had cancer. They are wonderful people and I couldn't ask for nicer in laws, but Christmas at their house was absolute chaos. Christmas at my folks' home could be pretty stressful, but nothing like the mad dashing of kids and dogs at the in laws.
I think you should do whatever makes you feel best. Perhaps you could consider attending the big party but insist on finding a comfortable chair and staying there. Let everyone come to you. Or, if the noise level is just too much, what you have already planned is a good idea. And, perhaps, tell the hubby to stop being so morbid. There's no sense ruining a good Christmas with excessive stress over what might happen. He's probably more afraid of losing you than you are of dying.
And Fight! Live!
We used to do the run-about-scramble every holiday. Not anymore. You, and I, We...have the right and it should be expected that if we don't want to run all over creation on these holidays, then we should be able to stay home if we want, and everyone should come to your house. Every excuse like, your house isn't as big as someone elses, or it's tradition to have it at granny's, or whatever, gets thrown out the window in this case, You should instantly become the most important thing in the family's priority. Tell everyone that you will be at home and would love for everyone to come over, but even if they don't, it's not your fault or any reason to get stressed out for you not going. I was comfortable and felt secure in my chair, in my house, where MY bathroom was, and my medicine, and my wife to take care of me.
You do what you want, but, you have yourself the most enjoyable holiday that you can under this years circumstances.
We all wish you the best.
My husband and I used to do all the running around on Christmas: My family, his Dad's, and then the rest of his family. We stopped doing that way before cancer walked into our lives. Thanksgiving is also big with his family. Last year (diagnosed summer of 2011), I just couldn't make it, I really didn't feel good. They all understood. At first, my husband wasn't happy, but he saw that I was uncomfortable and he took care of me. He felt bad for pushing me. I made it to Christmas last year, but we didn't stay long. But, that's only about 10 people. Like it has been said, if you do go, maybe you can find a spot to sit and let them come to you. I like the idea of inviting people over to see you at your home. And, tell your husband not to be so morbid, who knows what next year will bring? Hopefully, he will realize that you are more important than "making an appearance" that may leave you feeling worse. I hope you find some joy and peace and love this Christmas and every day!
Thank you all for your input!! Hubby and I talked some more and he agrees - it's better to have some quiet time together during this hectic season. Today, my step-son and his family are stopping in for a visit on their way home from a Christmas celebration at his wife's side. My wonderful daughter and her family are going to stop in for a while tomorrow before heading to my mom's for dinner. It seems the best way -- and will reduce the stress for both hubby and me.
Merry Christmas to all and a Happy New Year!