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.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

“An Awakening”

When I was diagnosed with Breast cancer a few years back, I reacted like most who receive a cancer diagnose; first thing came to mind was a “death sentence”. However, I found out later that it was truly “an awakening”. I began questioning God, why would you do this to me? What had I done in life so bad to have this placed upon me? But instead of bemoaning my fate, I decided to look for the positive side of it. There has to be a reason for it all.

I also realized that I was about to face a new beginning, new hope, do and see more with a whole new prospective on life. When I think of the “gift of life” that was given to me, I know that I will develop and gain strength from all my experiences. After going through all that I did during my breast cancer period, I was left with a few complications I now have to live with; one being daily pain. For a while, I wasn't happy with the way I looked around my breast area, nor the pain I had to endure each day, but I decided to snap out of it. Even after being diagnosed with another cancer (colon) a few years later. Which totally took me by surprise. But even with the pain I had to endure through each diagnose, and all the struggles I've dealt with all my life, I still feel truly blessed. I think about the individuals that are no longer among us. I also realized that there will always be someone worse off than I am. I reminded myself, that I “still have my life”, so who am I to complain.

One day during one of my surgeries, I experienced something of a miracle, as if I went to the other side, so I felt the compulsion to write it down. I turn that experience into a poem and I called it “Peace”. Writing had become therapy for me. I took that poem, along with many others I had composed during my breast cancer period and placed them into book form. I was blessed enough to have that book published, called “True Simple Poems of Life, Faith and Survival”. I later had another inspirational children's book published, with a third one on the way. I'm hoping that anyone who has the opportunity to read my first book of poems, get out of them, what I placed in all of them. My poems are from the heart, as real as any could ever be. With the words and phrases of each poem of statement, I wish to make a positive impact on someone who's ill or otherwise, where they could develop the strength to embrace life in a whole new way. I never anticipated becoming a writer, I just became one. I truly believe when you survive a horrific tragedy or a horrible disease as cancer, it's for a reason, “you have a purpose” and I want to live to find find out exactly what that is for me.

That's what I'm all about now, inspiration. I would have never become a writer, producing inspirational poems and stories, if I had not gone through all that I did. I'm a true example that you can survive cancer not once, but twice, providing you catch it in time, have faith and allow that faith to direct your path.

Karen Rice
x2 Cancer Survivor/Author
Houston, Texas

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