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Anyone have the pre-Christmas blues?

lindaprocopio's picture
lindaprocopio
Posts: 2022
Joined: Oct 2008

If you do, I just wanted to give you a pre-Christmas ((((((HUG))))))). This is my 3rd Christmas in treatment for cancer. I've always LOVED Christmas and never understood why so many people feel blue overthe holidays. Until cancer...

In 2008 I was half-way through my initial 6 rounds of carbo/taxol chemo. I remember how isolated and cheated I felt because my immunity was too compromised to go out Christmas shopping or to my grandkid's Xmas programs at school; and then everyone had non-stop colds and the flu and my son kept my grandkids away for me for my own safety. My blood counts were too low for me to safely drive. I'd think about the gingerbread houses we'd made together the year before, and how we rode the Polar Express train, and how DIFFERENT this Christmas was. Everyone was so busy with parties and Xmas preparations, and I would phone to talk, and as soon as I said "I miss you" I would start crying and shame myself with this display of self-pity. So I stopped phoning.

In 2009 I was 4 rounds into dense dose taxol chemo for my 1st recurrence. I was getting 3 weekly Nuepogen shots so I refused to stay away from the grandkids and their Christmas programs. I even took them out of school one day to bake with me, playing the 'cancer card' and my bald head to get them sprung from class. When I look at the photos I can see how sick I look. But I remember it as a wonderful Christmas. I spent $$ like I thought it was my last Christmas. (Why make a contribution to my IRA when I have no old age to save for?! HA!) When I took down my tree, I packed away the family heirloom ornaments I want my grandkids to have in the big storage box I have for them after I'm gone.

And now it's Christmas 2010. I started carboplatin last week for my 3rd recurrence, this time mets to the liver. I smiled as I crawled under the bed and secretly took out the ornaments from the kid's 'inheritance' and let them hang them on the tree. I will pack them away once again when I take down the tree, just in case THIS is my last Christmas.

I am filled with joy at the holidays this year. I've made my peace with this journey. I've learned that you can never know what is ahead for the new year. So I live in the moment. & I encourage you each to look for the small moments of joy and beauty, acknowledge them deep in your heart, and smile at the blessing of each tiny moment of happiness. Hug these golden memories in your mind as you ride through the scanners or nap on the chemo loungers. Life on earth is beautiful, especially when it is clearly finite. Take it in and feel the rich joy of it. Merry Christmas to you all!

bluerose's picture
bluerose
Posts: 1089
Joined: Jul 2009

Hey kiddo, haven't seen you post in awhile. Sorry to hear about the treatments you are having to go through yet again and know how you feel with it all during the holiday season, insult to injury eh? But I see that you have learned a great deal about living in the moment from other Xmases after the diagnosis, year to year you seem to be learning a lot about life and love and what's really important. Hey, everyone should be living in the moment, no one knows when their time will come from one thing or another, we just have had early reminders - no one is getting out of this life thing alive. So enjoy each day as you undoubtedly are.

There is a certain amount of blueness to the holidays for survivors and those in treatments, that's natural, who wants to be sick from anything during the holidays let alone with cancer treatments so I think it's important to admit that and then move on and enjoy the season as you are doing.

I was out doing a big Xmas grocery shopping last week and near the end I had to ask the manager to do the last few items for me and run it through the cash as I couldn't stand any longer and felt ill and I'm not even in treatment. I looked around at people loitering around holiday plants to decorate their homes - taking all the time in the world to enjoy them and I couldn't even finish my groceries for Xmas let alone think about decorating as my biggest problem. Do they know how lucky they are to have their health I thought as the manager sat me down so I could rest and he finish my grocery list for me. I snapped out of it but felt that blue feeling I couldn't even finish the Xmas groceries.

You were talking about not going out because of your system being low and all the holiday germies out there in the malls and it reminded me of a dumb thing I did after my first bone marrow harvest. I couldn't even walk, was in a wheelchair, and I went to a super busy mall in our area to take the kids to sit on Santa's knee. lol. I could have picked up the freakin bubonic plague in there but you know what? The emotional medicine I got from seeing the kids, then 3 and 5, up on Santa's knee smiling from ear to ear was sooooooooooo worth it. I'm glad I went but my oncologist wasn't quite as happy when I told him about the little trip the next week I saw him. Hey I lived through it. lol.

Anywho nice to see you again on the boards kiddo. All the best on your treatments, I am saying a prayer for you after signing off this post. Be gentle with yourself Linda and keep up the fight and I know you will be heading under the bed to fetch those ornaments again next year for your little ones.

Happy Holiday Season Linda,
Hugs,
Bluerose

Pennymac02's picture
Pennymac02
Posts: 336
Joined: Aug 2010

Thankyou Linda, for posting this. It was just what I needed to remind me of what to be thankful for. My husband is waiting for a liver transplant due to primary HCC and we are 500 miles from home and family this Christmas, living at the transplant center. I've been having a pity party the last few days over the holidays instead of appreciating the richness of the experiance I'm having right now.

Thanks for the wake up call.
Penny

Hondo's picture
Hondo
Posts: 5843
Joined: Apr 2009

That is a beautiful post and from reading it I can see you are a strong person. I too had to go through it 3 times mine was NPC but in my book cancer is cancer no matter where you have it. March 2011 will make my 5 years of no recurrence; I just want to tell you that life after 3 times in the box it still great. I have a lot of side affects and problems but I am still here to enjoy the holidays with my wife and children.

All the best to you on this holiday

Yiayia63
Posts: 1
Joined: Dec 2010

Thank you Linda ...I just finished reading your post about pre-Christmas blues and hopefully it will get me through these 2010 holidays. I am a three year breast cancer survivor; however, on 12/3/10 I was dx with stage III Lung Cancer and I have been devastated. Your post lifted my spirits and I just wanted to say thank you. Have a wonderful Christmas with your family and grandkids and I hope we are both here celebrating Christmas next year. May 2011 be a good year for you. thanks again, Barbara

Hopeful720's picture
Hopeful720
Posts: 92
Joined: Feb 2010

I absolutely have the Holiday Blues. Thank you for your post. You excude such strength. I will remember to smile at the tiny moments of happiness, and hug each golden memory in mind. This is how I will get through...

Thank you... you are in my prayers.

terato's picture
terato
Posts: 384
Joined: Apr 2002

Sometimes, "Happy" is not appropriate, especially for those in pain, so I hope that you and those you love take comfort in each other.

Love and Prayers!

Rick

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