• Does having cancer through the Holidays give you a different "feeling"?

    Asked by GregP_WN on Monday, December 19, 2016

    Does having cancer through the Holidays give you a different "feeling"?

    I had a roller coaster of emotions. First, the diagnosis in early December, then the Doctor saying that it wouldn't be a problem, then surgery that I didn't know if I could recover from. I went from not knowing if I would live to see another one, to realizing that being alive and being thankful for the life I have and everyone and everything in it is all I need.

    13 Answers from the Community

    13 answers
    • BoiseB's Avatar

      Both my cancers were diagnosed early in the year. For my first cancer I had surgery in August and my first clean scan at Thanksgiving. I have some very memorable moments . One was my daughter took me to see the Messiah and I was actually able to sit through the entire performance. I was still having trouble eating and had not emerged from chemo fog. (that took almost 2 years) My daughter did most of my Christmas Shopping but I was able to go to the Church Christmas Bazaar to get my mother a present. My mother was still angry with me for getting cancer.
      Christmas after the second cancer was somewhat better. I knew what to expect from this cancer thing, I thought.

      over 4 years ago
    • LiveWithCancer's Avatar

      I had just started chemo in 2012. That first Christmas, I expected to be the last. Besides cancer, my ex daughter in law had just taken off with the grandkids. No one knew where. To say it was traumatic would be an understatement. Every year since has been a celebration of continued life.

      over 4 years ago
    • Ejourneys' Avatar

      My cancer didn't change Christmas for us (I had finished active treatment on Dec. 5 two years ago and our holidays are low-key to begin with), but my friend Helen's cancer did. On Christmas Day 1995, Helen was in the hospital for colon cancer (she died in Feb. 1998). I had known Helen for 11 years and my partner for a year. Back then my partner and I were friends, but not yet a couple. We attended the same informal writing group.

      After one December meeting, my partner-to-be asked me what I was doing for Christmas. I told her I was visiting Helen in the hospital. My partner offered to come with me for moral support and I said I would check with Helen. That was a formality because I already knew that Helen would say yes; she loved people and the more, the merrier.

      We spent Christmas Day 1995 in the hospital. Helen was very weak but she fought gamely to unwrap every gift and truly enjoyed herself and all the company. My partner had walked into a hospital room filled with strangers (including Helen) and was absolutely wonderful. Only later would I learn that my partner had fought her own fears to even step inside a hospital, given the month she had spent in one in 1982 -- what we now believe had been the start of her MS.

      After the hospital we found a Middle Eastern restaurant open for dinner in Harvard Square; everything else was closed. We spent several hours walking in calf-deep snow along the banks of the Charles River, talking and watching the moon rise. That night we agreed to become a couple. This is why Christmas is also our anniversary. This year marks our 21st.

      over 4 years ago
    • KimmieJo's Avatar

      Holidays are tough for me. I was diagnosed on December 18th 2009 and had my first debulking surgery on Christmas eve! I stayed overnight and got out on Christmas day. The hospital where I had surgery was 200 miles from home and there was a blizzard so spent 3 days in a hotel room before I could get back home! While I am thankful that I am still here 7 years later I still have trauma each holiday season.

      over 4 years ago
    • andreacha's Avatar

      Ejourneys - A great story. Thanks for sharing.

      over 4 years ago
    • Molly72's Avatar

      I was in the hospital during the week of the "Holidays", big mistake! Many of the doctors & nurses with senority had left, other staff remaining was either new or didn't want to be there. My surgeon
      finally showed up & told me she was vacationing "somewhere warm", and left me in the care of the Doctors Three Stooges. The floor I was on ran out of toilet paper, the food was simply horrible
      and there was a loud party for staff fairly late one evening that awoke many of the patients.
      When I was finally discharged, there was no one to even escort me in a wheelchair to the front door.

      Now, I am not religious, nor a Christian, but I expected a better level of care especially at this time of year from this hospital. They certainly should have at least tried to make thing "nice" for their patients. It was a Bah Humbug experience.

      over 4 years ago
    • Boris12's Avatar

      Any holiday is different now. They bring back a flood of memories no matter what time of year
      The Christmas holidays are no different. We look back on what has passed and wonder about next year. I miss my partner who passed with Alzheimer's and dementia one month after I was diagnosed. I think about the 45 years we were so lucky to spend together. I think abut my parents and the holidays growing up. All things we know will never be the same. Cancer seems to cast a long shadow on all of this. I guess we have to make new traditions. I also dread New Years Eve. Looking forward is harder now. I am trying to practice gratitude for what I have had and what I have been given. I am learning to accept help from others. Make the most of today.

      over 4 years ago
    • LaughSmile's Avatar


      Keep up the good work. New years thoughts. You must inspire a lot of people. Your gift to me and others. Thank you, "What's Next."

      over 4 years ago
    • BarbarainBham's Avatar

      Boris12, I read after my divorce that the key is to start new traditions at Christmas instead of wishing for the past. Examples are inviting other single friends to eat or go to a restaurant or other places to start a new tradition to look forward to. I did that one Christmas night, and it was fun.

      My parents have been alive until this year, and my siblings and I had always eaten with them on Christmas in the middle of the day. They both passed away in October this year, so we're looking for that new tradition this year.

      Both my cancers were first diagnosed the week before Christmas, so although I'm religious, Christmas isn't really an up time for me any more. I think I should turn my thoughts to helping others and have donated to the homeless. . .still working on helping others.

      over 4 years ago
    • jcunningham's Avatar

      I was told I had cancer last year on Dec. 23rd. We didn't share with anyone at that point because we wanted our kids to just have their Christmas. I have spent the last year in treatment and so far I am NED. Cancer changes the way you feel about everything. I have found myself just not willing to accept what people refer to as holiday stress. I am just accepting the joy, sharing what I can, doing what I can, and letting myself be happy. I feel so justified in ignoring the negativity/stress/meanness/hate in the world since I have had cancer. I accept the good and try to give it back in a way that works for me. As we all know, when you have cancer you have a layer of fear and anxiousness that lays over you. You have to find the joy and good in life and refuse to accept the bad or that fear takes over all of life.

      over 4 years ago
    • BarbarainBham's Avatar

      If I'm honest, I have to admit that my dread of Christmas began before cancer when I was a single mom and couldn't afford to buy gifts. I'm normally accepting of my cancer .

      over 4 years ago
    • carlie's Avatar

      Most of my surgeries were around October so over the years I've been grateful to be alive and well for Christmas and New Years. This year my surgery was 2 weeks ago and I'm feeling hopeful for the best to come. My radiation treatments begin in 4 weeks... chin up and push forward with the grace of our Lord.
      Thanks Greg for the inspiration !

      over 4 years ago
    • Boris12's Avatar

      BarbarainBham, Sorry for your losses this past year. I admire your great attitude and helping others. We can all learn from that. I have a candle on the table that I light. I am finding this year the magic is missing and I am trying to find it out there, somewhere. I wish you peace and happiness this holiday season.

      over 4 years ago

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