Monday, December 22, 2014
Cancer doesn't have a holiday
If you have cancer and its Christmas, its not as fun. Holidays are supposed to be the time of families, friends, food, and celebrating, and depending on which holiday, gifts. But cancer doesn't take holidays. You can't take a day off from cancer. You can stick it in the back of your brain for a bit but it always comes out, some how.
If you are in treatment, you can try to participate in holidays. But chances are you won't have much fun. The year I was in treatment, I don't remember Thanksgiving as being that significant. But I don't think I did much cooking as usual because I felt like crap. Then Christmas wasn't much fun either because I had just had another lumpectomy because of a suspicious area.... I remember being tired and not doing much shopping or cooking. I don't even remember what I did for my birthday that year except I believe I had a Taxol infusion and none of the nurses noticed the date.
If you are post treatment, you can celebrate another year of being around to enjoy it but it may be more difficult to celebrate. Depression is common after cancer as is PTSD, so it just might not be as fun as it used to be. Financially you might be able to be as generous as you were before cancer - many cancer patients can't work after treatment or take a step back from their career during treatment. And then there are the medical bills that take a crimp out of their wallet. Physically you may not be able to travel as much or participate in as many activities because of limits to your mobility or stamina.
If you know someone who is coping with cancer, take a moment out of the holidays to reach out to them to say hello, give them a call, or send a message.
Me, how am I celebrating this year? A cancer friend is coming over this afternoon to enjoy a bottle of red wine which aged for a decade in her wine cabinet. Christmas Eve I will cook and then go out for Chinese food with my family. Christmas Day there will be eight of us for dinner - until I run out of steam and have to go to bed. Next week will be more family to enjoy. My diet will wait until then. And I will have to nap a lot.
In the meantime, I have to go for blood work tomorrow and get organized for a doctor appointment shortly after the new year. And I have to go get a copy of the receipt for my eye glasses so I can request a reimbursement from the insurance company. And I have a doctor appointment tomorrow.
See, cancer people don't get holidays. We squish them in between medical crap. But we are still here.