• Holiday Cheer?

    Asked by Nancebeth on Sunday, December 2, 2012

    Holiday Cheer?

    Anyone else as ambivilent as I am about the holidays this year? I am Jewish but have always put up a tree and lights on the house. It is also my birthday this month so I always went all out celebrating. This year is my first as a cancer survivor and I thought I would be even more in holiday/celebrating mode, but I just can't get motivated to decorate or really do anything.

    36 Answers from the Community

    36 answers
    • FreeBird's Avatar

      I'm not a big fan of the modern holidays, and would rather skip it altogether or celebrate the season in my own way. Dad enjoys it.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Peroll's Avatar

      I have found it harder to get into the holiday spirit when facing chemo over the holidays. It is hard to get excited about crowds and celebration with the fatigue and nausea. I usually feel better about them when they get closer but I am not really into the commercial aspectI perfer to think about the true reason for the holiday and to be thankful for the family and friends that support me in my journey.

      almost 4 years ago
    • karen1956's Avatar

      Nancebeth.......The year I was in Tx, I celebrated my 50th birthday and I think I was okay with having a birthday....but the next year, I almost dreaded my birthday. I too am Jewish and my family does not go overboard with the holidays and gift giving.....I can't say if its being post BC (I'm 6 1/2 years since Dx) or the fact that my kids are getting older (youngest is 14 and others are in their 20's), but I don't get excited about Chanukah like when they were little. We light the Chanukiahs and I'll make latkas once at Chanukah....BUT where I do get joy is buy for others, those who are less fortunate...This year I am buying gift cards for a friends charitable organization that sends gift cards, letters etc to people in Tx....I will probably adopt a family through work, but I don't like shopping so have to think that one......I think having cancer makes us re-think all sorts of things....Do what makes you happy :)

      almost 4 years ago
    • Harry's Avatar

      For me. it is Christmas. But, I can't get as exicited as I used to and I don't think it's because of cancer. The kids are grown. I'll get to see them for Christmas and that is a big deal--particularly in the case of the youngest daughter who lives in Japan. I haven't seen her since last Christmas--though we do Skype Saturday evenings. But, it isn't the same as when they were little. I'll also see my Mom and brothers and that's always a big deal. Then there are the special foods. In our family Tourtiere is a big deal. It's hard to explain but, if you have French Canadian ancestry you may know. Our recipe is a Montreal recipe (ground pork) so it really isn't kosher, but my daughter once made it with ground turkey so she could share with a Jewish friend. :-)

      And I'm not too happy about the commercialization of Christmas. Christmas is about a Babe in a manger and it isn't about sales targets.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Tracy's Avatar

      Its kind of odd when you are a survivor, you see all the stories of people overcoming and doing great things. Then you also know of being tired and always worried, It takes a while to recover, much longer than you may think. Not just in body but in mind. I compare it to PTSD - you lived in fear and now you are not sure you are free from that fear. Other people are telling you how you should feel but sometimes it sneaks up on you. Take it day by day and let yourself heal. Tracy

      almost 4 years ago
    • JennyMiller's Avatar

      Since I was diagnosed Nov 2011 - had surgery 12/3/2011 -- scans on 12/19/2011, I felt I completely lost Christmas 2011. So, I asked my husband to put up the tree and all the decorations at the beginning of November this year so that I would have the extra time to enjoy them. I have enjoyed them -- but like everything else in the cancer world -- things are just not quite the same. Regardless of every sincere effort, that nagging fear remains somewhere in the back of my mind. The last couple of days have been "downers" but I think it has do with the fact that my surgery was one year ago today. I feel that it is one of those anniversaries that I have to get past so that I can resume my life. I sometimes feel guilty because I am not in constant appreciation of being a "survivor" -- that is when I try to remind myself of the horrific journey that I traveled to get here. My wish for all my friends on this site is a Holiday filled with peace and joy -- and a New Year filled with happiness and GOOD HEALTH!!

      almost 4 years ago
    • Crash's Avatar

      I read all the other answers. I like best what karen1956 had to say. You forget about your troubles when you're helping someone else. We all sit in the lap of God and he has his arms around us. It makes sense to be ambivalent. I think it makes sense to briefly have a pity party, but then you go back to that Frank Sinatra song where he sings "That's Life" "That's what some people say, you're riding high in April and shot down in May" and he concludes, "I just pick myself up and get back in the race."
      You're a cutey. I see all the light you can put in other peoples lives.
      I'm going to slaughter this, but here goes, "Ba roke ha shem!"

      almost 4 years ago
    • Nancebeth's Avatar

      So, I ended up putting up my tree although it is not a grande as it usually is. It took me all day in between watching football and taking rest breaks. Thank you all for the comments.
      I did make a pretty cool modern take on the holiday wreath and that was fun.
      Hope all of you have a happy holiday season.

      almost 4 years ago
    • tombo's Avatar

      dont worry,,i am Catholic,,my next door neighbors as a kid were Jewish,,very mixed cery nice neighborhood in Shaker-University Hts,Ohio,,boy did we have fun,,Danny had his hannakah bush,,sorry about the spelling!,,and I had my Christmas tree,,all our houses were lit up big time,,well i guess the best to say to you is HAPPY BIRTHDAY,,and HAPPY HANAKKAH,,,and CONGRATULATIONS,,on bring a one year survivor,,i am a year and a half in,,but still doing chemo every 3 weeks,,,I HATE IT!!,,i am soooo happy for you!!you will find a way to celebrate i am sure,,,good luck,,xoMike

      almost 4 years ago
    • dealite2007's Avatar

      I, too, am experiencing my first holidays with cancer. I thought I would be celebrating every day and whoop it up. But, my motivation is in the dumps. I forced myself, for my 19 year olds sake, to put up the tree yesterday (no ornaments yet). What I did do, which seems to make my soul feel good, is to put a small tree on my front porch decorated with pink lights and a pink ribbon; single candle lights in the windows with only one with a pink light (had to paint it pink.) When I did that, I felt good. I don't know why.

      almost 4 years ago
    • tombo's Avatar

      yay!!!!she put up a tree!!!

      almost 4 years ago
    • SusanK's Avatar

      In response to Dealite2007, I visited my sister-in-law this weekend and noticed new lights at her house. She put up purple and white lights on her shrubs and trees, and inside the house, added purple ornaments to a mostly white and crystal ornamented tree. Beautiful, but different for her. It didn't register immediately but then I recognized her purple ribbon pin that she often wears. Her son died of pancreatic cancer and their ribbon is purple. I think we do whatever we need to do to help us get through, not just the holidays, but every day. I couldn't wait to put up my tree this year, like JennyMiller. The lights, the old familiar decorations, make me feel better. Please do what feels right to you. Not every day of this season will find you "riding high," but do enjoy the times you find yourself smiling at a memory, enjoying a laugh with a friend. And, please, treat yourself to something. You deserve it!

      almost 4 years ago
    • greensmythe's Avatar

      I just got my dx on November 12 and haven't started any treatment yet- at points am mad, and have no real feeling for the holidays-but have a family to think of, especially grandchildren so am trying to kick my own butt to get into gear. Am in a holding pattern until tests come back for mutation testing. Will know this week.

      almost 4 years ago
    • fastdog's Avatar

      I was diagnosed a year ago, 2 days before Thanksgiving. My 1st surgery was scheduled for Dec. 8, so I ran around a lot, making sure I had gifts bought and wrapped ahead of time. I didn't get out of the hospital till Dec. 21. There are only the two of us, no kids, no relatives, but I still wanted to have Christmas. Also, I am a church organist, and had to miss playing for all the Advent services and couldn't even attend the Christmas Eve one, I was too swollen and in pain, and that was a downer. This year, unless something unforeseen happens, I will be able to do all that, and I'm extremely grateful. Will I be here for it all next year? Who knows. Someone mentioned a good Frank Sinatra song. The one I try to keep in mind, I don't even know who wrote it or sang it, but it goes, "I'm gonna live till I die, I'm gonna laugh till I cry." I think that's a pretty good theme song, at least for me.

      almost 4 years ago
    • BoiseB's Avatar

      Christmas has always been tough on me because I suffer from Seasonal Adjustment Disorder. However I do celebrate the Easter/Passover season with great joy. My birthday is also very near to Easter. In 2010 I was diagnosed a three weeks prior to Easter at that time I was told I had about 2-4 months to live. I began treatment on my Birthday prognosis "this will be your last birthday" Well they were sort of right and sort of wrong. The next year Easter was the day before my birthday. I celebrated the entire week. My advice to you is celebrate your first birthday outrageously. Then celebrate Chanukah. It is the celebration of a miracle of unexpected light the candles in the temple burned longer than the naturally could. After a year your candle is still burning. And celebrate Passover this year you have been Passedover.

      almost 4 years ago
    • MillieS's Avatar

      I try to live in the moment everyday. I get up in the mornings thankful for another day. This holiday, I will receive my last dose of chemo ... So I plan to put a big bow on the IV pole. But at home I don't have the energy to do a lot . Still I plan not to allow this disease to control my life . I guess what I am trying to say, you have today. Don't waste it. Do something that makes you feel happy. Don't forget about family and friends that want to help. Now would be a good time to call on them! Bless you . Stay strong. Stay positive.

      almost 4 years ago
    • 2bbcontinued's Avatar

      Yeah,I thought the same thing. This year's holidays would be especially joyful. But that is not what I am feeling at all. Indifferent to the entire season. My birthday is Christmas day. Don't understand my feelings. Actually feeling down about the whole thing. And I am cancer free at this time. I should be on top of the world. I know part of it is I am just so tired. The past 6 months have been a terrible strain, physically and emotionally. My body and feelings are too tired to put the energy into getting up for the holidays. Would prefer to ignore them all together. I know there are others out there not as lucky as I. Things could be a lot worse, but as someone told me many years ago, you feel what you feel. No right or wrong. They just are. Sorry for rambling on so. Just have not been in a good state of mind lately.

      almost 4 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      Another one of those things that is a matter of perspective. Society has conditioned us to define "holiday spirit" as ramping up our stress levels and pocketbook to decorate and shop. Long before I had cancer, I celebrated when I wanted and had an occasion to, not when Hallmark or Walmart told me I should. So no, I am not at all ambivalent..

      almost 4 years ago
    • SueRae1's Avatar

      To be honest I have been feeling ambivilent about all Holiday's since I was diagnosed with Advanced Renal Cell Carcinoma in 2009, and spent Rosh Hashanah in the Hospital, I was diagnosed with Breast cancer right after Yom Kippur 2010, and had my lumpectomy before New Years. Holidays are stressful, being on chem is stressful - just makes me want to take care of myself and do nothing much but heal.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Carol-Charlie's Avatar

      Nancebeth....... Hope you have a very happy birthday. I'm Catholic, you're Jewish.. Our faiths go back a long way

      I found out years ago (I'm 69) that when you want your 'joy' back... act like it's there Put that lovely smile on your face. Put holliday music on "loud".. Sing along with it.. start by baking a traditional treat for the holiday. Decorate a Chanukah "Bush", with all the other joyful symbols of the love our Lord has for us, and we for Him.

      I put a smile on my face and soon I'm smiling and working along. I'm still tired (but I'll be seventy in May) but I just sit and rest briefly. We put up our tree yesterday and today I'm doing the LR and Kitchen... DR and BR.... (yes a little tree on the table by the chair. My song to you is one I sang as a child when I'd cry... LET THE SUN SHINE IN... FACE IT WITH A GRIN.. OPEN UP YOUR HEART AND LET THE SUN SHINE IN. WHEN YOU ARE UNHAPPY THE DEVIL WEARS A GRIN, BUT HE FEELS SO AWFUL AWFUL, WHEN YOUR LIGHT COMES SHINING IN... SO LET THE SUNSHINE IN FACE IT WITH A GRIN.. OPEN UP YOUR HEART AND LET THE SUNSHINE IN. (Sorry but I always sing loud)...

      You're normal... you've been through a lot.. But Nancebeth... you made it through. Now it's taken me 69 years to realize this... well not really.. it started at 62, when I was diagnosed. I asked God to take my hand and lead me to where he wanted me to be.. I promised Him I'd follow Him where he led. He's still leading and holding my hand. I then learned to give him my worries and problems. He solves them or removes my worry. He wants only good for us. You know all this. I just want you to know we've all done this to some extent.

      Just paged down and see you well on your way without my words of wisdom. Good for you. God bless you!

      almost 4 years ago
    • SunnyCloud's Avatar

      Since my family split up about 10+ yrs ago, all these man made holidays are just not enjoyable or important to me anymore. But, I do have a small child and I feel forced to at least try. And now, after cancer, they seem even less important. However, I did discover the truth about Santa and the x mas tree. Plus, of course, Jesus was not born in the winter. So I am thinking of making up our own tradition that doesnt include pagan practices. Thankfully, my child undertsands and is OK with the idea.

      almost 4 years ago
    • greensmythe's Avatar

      Just wanted to say that this thread got me out of my funk and I went out and got a Cinammon tree- which really makes the house smell like the holidays and will be going to get tree tomorrow. No sense in wasting these good days! Thanks to all of you!

      almost 4 years ago
    • ticklingcancer's Avatar

      This time last year I was getting ready for my first round of chemo. Didn't have much of a Christmas spirit. I can certainly understand one reservations about wanting to celebrate in light of diagnosis or treatment. Have you ever seen Elf with Will Ferrell? Buddy the Elf says "The best way to spread Christmas Cheer, is singing loud for all to hear"

      almost 4 years ago
    • Harry's Avatar

      If you define holiday joy as what others, particularly people selling things, tell you it is then you will not experience it. Joy isn't about things. It's about people and memories--old ones and new ones. Make sure those you love know you love them and feel their love for you. Holiday joy will come from that.

      It may be hard when you are undergoing treatment or when you are run down from your treatment or simply trying to get over that awful diagnosis, but try to remember that you are not your cancer.

      almost 4 years ago
    • derbygirl's Avatar

      I find it a little difficult to get into the holiday spirit since my diagnosis 4 years ago. Part of it I think is because I am always really tired and have very little patience in dealing with the holiday crowds. But I think a really big part of it has to do with finances. I used to go all out with the holiday with baking and decorating and picking out the perfect gift to show my family how much I loved them. With not working since 2011 and dealing with cancer and a heart problem, I just don't have any money to do these things. My family keeps telling me not to worry about it but I do because I always was the one to try and make the holiday season special for everyone.

      almost 4 years ago
    • akristine's Avatar

      Last year, I had surgery on 10/19, came home on Halloween after spending time in skilled nursing, returned to the hospital after a pulmonary embolism on 11/10, returned home again on 11/16, and had the drain removed from the incision in December. Fortunately, I had home care nurses, and volunteers from Jewish Family Services did my grocery shopping and laundry. The elevator in my 1908 building stopped working 10/18 and wasn't repaired until 12/7. I didn't decorate at all because I didn't have any Hanukkah candles for one of my menorahs and no wicks for the oil menorah. I felt well enough on Thanksgiving to cook a simple vegetarian meal in the microwave (butternut squash stuffed with quinoa, sweet potatoes with nutmeg, cranberry/Granny Smith apple casserole, and a pumpkin tart for dessert). This year, I have both menorahs ready to go on December 8 and I will be going to temple for a Hanukkah meal on December 14. Not much decorating. Christmas Eve, I will continue the tradition of watching "A Christmas Story" and "A Christmas Carol" with George C. Scott. Christmas Day will be celebrated like most Jewish people do: a meal in a Chinese restaurant followed by a movie.

      I wish everyone good health and enough energy to enjoy the holidays.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Snooks' Avatar

      I've always been a kid when it comes to the holidays, and since becoming a cancer survivor, I cherish every holiday that I am alive. I decorate more, spend more and party more. When you look at what we've been through (treatment) we deserve to splurge!!! Happy Holidays.

      almost 4 years ago
    • SMT4's Avatar

      I think sometimes as cancer survivors we feel like we should gobble up every opportunity event or celebration. And sometimes others expect us to for what we have gone through! This can add extra stress !!!!! My theory is celebrate and take each holiday and day as they come and in your own way. BTW happy birthday !!!!

      almost 4 years ago
    • Richardc's Avatar

      I was diagnosed just after new year's (four years ago). We had all of these plans - time period for recovery from surgery, then chemo and radiation therapy. Boy - was I wrong. 1 week before Easter, the wheels fell off. After I recovered, I vowed that if it was within my control, I would enjoy all of the holidays and birthdays. Not so much about the season (religious or otherwise), but the time to appreciate family and friends.

      I've found that the further out from recovery, the less cancer is on my mind. Perhaps it is the fact that I participated in the Relay for Life and then went on to become involved with the organization. The outward focus helped provide clarity, motivation and a purpose in life.

      You have to find time for yourself, but also find an outwards focus. Good luck.

      almost 4 years ago
    • galiher7's Avatar

      I feel the same way Nancebeth. My birthday is this month also and I have always gone overboard with Christmas decorations, my favorite holiday. I am a breast cancer survivor, one year this past Aug. I just don't feel in the festive mood like I was in past years. I am still tired a lot and still have neuropathy in hands and feet. Maybe the festive mood of others will help. Good luck and Happy Holidays!

      almost 4 years ago
    • gwendolyn's Avatar

      I saw a picture of your "modern wreath" on WN's Pinterest board...for someone who was feeling ambivalent about the holidays, you are very creative!

      almost 4 years ago
    • GGP's Avatar

      4 years ago, when I was diagnosed for the 3rd time it was just before Christmas, I was shopping with my wife in a Mall and everyone was walking around all happy and not a care in the world. I sat there on the "old XXX bench", even though I'm not that old, watching everyone. The more I watched, the madder I got at the whole situation. I didn't deserve to be there again, why me, and all the thoughts we get. I hadn't even gotten a diagnosis at that time, they knew it was SCC but hadn't found the primary. So that year was a tough one. I had one surgery just before Christmas and was barely healed by Christmas day.

      Yeah, that was a sucky year. Since then, I have swung the other way, every holiday is a chance to get with family and friends and have a good time and enjoy company. We look at things much differently now.

      Hope you swing the other way and get to enjoy the Holidays.

      Greg P

      almost 4 years ago
    • KathyNeal's Avatar

      I choose to not be manipulated by the commercial aspects of the holidays and to find my own meaning.

      Last Christmas I had just finished chemo and I was slowly getting my energy back. It was a "bald Christmas," and a time of lots of financial and professional worries. While still fearful, I was nevertheless ready to be happy and hopeful about putting the treatments behind me and get on with life.

      This year I look back and think about the hard things I've gone through and grateful that I'm still here. The change in the seasons and the holidays feel all the more precious to me. I feel as if my senses are more open to what is around me. It's a good feeling. I still choose to not get manipulated by commercial messages about what I should do and feel around the holidays--it takes work!

      almost 4 years ago
    • JenniferC's Avatar

      I definitely hear you on this one. Being that I am two months out from my double mastectomy TODAY...I thought I'd feel quite a bit better and have more energy, but I also am lacking the motivation to get out the decorations and do the tree and all. I know I WILL do it---if nothing else for my kids, (9 and 11), but it just seems like SOOO much work right now...then I jump ahead of course to the take down and clean up of it all too.

      Okay, I'm not being very positive here...I guess what I/we need to realize is that we can only take things one day at a time. Do what we can on the days we feel good, and rest on the days we don't. I did read that you HAVE set up your tree now---yay!!! And I liked someone's comment on here about "...listening to Christmas music loud, and baking..." I think I may have to MAKE myself do some of those things this year. But hey, it's a good year because I am alive and here for my kids/family!!

      almost 4 years ago
    • tombo's Avatar

      alll the comments on this thread were great,,,even I,,decorated my house this year,,i bought a bunch of red ribbons,,and staplegunned them under each window!!,,and in the spring,,i will have fun etting the staples out!!i have NEVER bben sucked into the commercial aspects of the holiday,,but it is sooo much fun watch little ones SCREAM,,when they open a gift tht they wanted,,i think for people like us,,it very hard sometimes,,all i know is that when i feel good,,i find somthing to do,,its been many many months,,since i have thought,,,why me??,,i smile as much as possible,,especially when i sign in for chemo,,some people look so sad,,and they may wonder,,what is this dude smileing about??,,i just try to be as happy as possible,,then it becomes easy,,really easy to stay positive,,this is a fun time of the year,,fun to watch old Christmas movies,,have a good cry,,{i still love SCROOGE],,sooo,,try to have a good day ,,ALL OF YOU,,,xomike

      almost 4 years ago
    • Nomadicme's Avatar

      Aww you always had so much spirit, what's been going on that has you down? I'm just lazy and never bothered getting a tree. If I was near you I'd come over and help you decorate. Hugs

      almost 3 years ago

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