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Tips for coping with Christmas and other celebrations when going through cancer....

Good morning everyone,

Christmas is fast approaching, with only a few weeks away, I thought it might be helpful to start a discussion on how best to approach Christmas and any other celebrations at this time of year, when you are in the midst of a cancer diagnosis, treatment, surgery or recovery.

If you have a helpful hint or tip to share with other members reading these pages, please post it here. Any suggestions are welcome, I know there are many people here at different stages of treatment plans, I am sure there are lots of you who have some great wisdom and insight to share.

Meanwhile I have put a couple of links which may be helpful.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas,

Chat soon,

Lou x


  • RobertARobertA Posts: 1,273 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2020


    Hi Lou

    Thank you for posting these valuable ideas and suggestions.

    I remember my first year of cancer treatment, and coping with Christmas was quite an ordeal for me. It was not so much Christmas Day itself, it was the social events and pub trips leading up to the big day which I found so hard to manage. I guess that I looked well enough, certainly people kept assuring me that I looked great and I would be plied with drink and have to stand in a crowded corner pretending to be having fun. In truth, I was weak, tired and confused and in no condition to cope.

    I soon realised that it was up to me to let people know that I cannot do the things I used to do and decided to be more honest about my condition, how it has affected me and what I can and cannot do. It has taken the pressure off me and Mary and we are no longer afraid to decline invitations and perhaps risk causing offence. After all, the people who really care, do understand and I am able to enjoy good company without finding it a strain.

    Rob xx

  • LouiseJLouiseJ Posts: 789 ✭✭✭✭✭


    Hi Rob,

    Thank you so much for sharing memories of how you got through Christmas in those early days of cancer and treatment.

    It is a surreal time especially at this time of year when there would ordinarily be celebrations etc , I remember going to a works do in a local pub. I was nervous, as I was having chemo at the time, all my hair had gone, I knew I would wear a scarf on my head, but also knew people would instantly 'know'. I wasn't sure how I would be feeling, but I did want to see my friends from work, and I had arranged for Mark to fetch me at an arranged time which put me at ease more. What was lovely about the evening was a complete stranger coming up to me, commenting how she was glad to see me out (I didn't know her), and to say she had been in my shoes a year earlier. I was really touched.

    My first Christmas with cancer was taken day by day, I agree with you we have learned to not worry about saying 'no' to things. You have to do what is best for you, and as you say, real friends will not be offended, and will understand.

    This year is going to be different more so due to covid restrictions, I know it will be hard for some who will be unable to see their loved ones as they would like to.

    Lou xx

  • RobertARobertA Posts: 1,273 ✭✭✭✭✭


    Good afternoon everyone.

    Hi Lou. I love the story about the lady who spoke to you saying how pleased she was to see you out and about. It must have been very challenging for you, and you were brave too, especially as you were still coping with chemo at the time. Moments of kindness and understanding like that are so special and precious. Following my cancer diagnosis and treatment with hormone suppression drugs, I have become much more emotional and I think I might have burst into tears at that moment.

    Yes, Christmas is going to be different this year, and also very hard on families and people who live alone. Mary and I have not been off the Island at all this year and we have really missed being unable to see family and friends on the mainland. Hopefully, the COVID jabs will help to turn things around and that we really will have something to look forward to in 2021.

    Rob xx

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