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Let's Discuss...coping during the holidays

It's okay to not be okay-even during the holidays

While the holidays can bring joy and cheer, this time of the year may also be challenging for those affected by cancer, caregivers or those experiencing loss and grief.

  • How are you feeling as we approach the holiday season?
  • What are your plans?
42 Replies
Runner Girl
2730 Posts

I am having a rough go of the season this year. Typically I love Christmas and go all out for it. This year however has been a challenge. I had to make the horrible decision to have my 14 year old boy cat euthanized. A week later the man in my life advised that he has a lump in his groin area and is having an ultrasound, this afternoon, to have a look see what it might be. So I'm not really feeling festive. How the rest goes will depend on the results of his ultrasound. Hoping I can update later with good news.

8442 Posts

I'm waiting to hear GOOD news @Runnergirl @Runner Girl

18 Posts

Sending good vibes to you @Runner Girl All will be well!

18 Posts

I love Christmas, but this time it will be different. I will start treatment before Christmas, it might not be the best time but looking forward to one treatment down!

Sending good vibes and cheers to all! 😊

2271 Posts

@Runner Girl I am so sorry to hear about your special feline family. Such a tough and loving decision. Then your partner's health - he is a lucky human to have you beside him!

Your post reminds us that life does not stop because of the holidays - illness, death, births, COVID, joy and sorrow. Sometimes we have all of that at the same time.

This year our son is coming home ( I think?) from BC - last year he couldn't due to COVID restrictions. Having him home will be so wonderful, yet at the same time, we are keeping our gathering to just us, limiting other family to protect them and us. Such a hard decision - who to visit or how to visit or not?

4 years ago, I had my first chemo appt. Christmas day we shaved my hair as it was falling out in clumps - traditions - I hope not to repeat! lol…I remember thinking though, there is no law against making shortbreads in the summer! ( I had lost my taste for food after that first treatment).

Now 4 years later - i hope we can keep the tradition up of just making them simple. Enjoy a treat or two ( or three) and breathe…


48 Posts

@Runner Girl Im so sorry you’re going through all this. As the momma of two fur baby felines , I feel your sadness. But you were doing the right thing for him❤️. I’m sorry about your man too. Im lousy with words but I’m thinking of both of you.

Im not festive at all. My appointment with my oncologist is Dec 21. We’re only having a small gathering for Christmas too . I’m ready for something good to happen.

Runner Girl
2730 Posts

Thank you everyone for your kind words and concern. I can update that the lump is a hernia. Now we'll see what his doctor wants to do about it and when that might be able to happen.

Runner Girl

186 Posts

What a crappy week @Runner Girl! Hope you get some good news re your guy.

I am not feeling festive either. My husband is on palliative care for end stage COPD and for all we know maybe the lung cancer is back. It wouldn’t change anything to know. He’s on hi flow oxygen 24/7 and still has terrible trouble breathing if he exerts himself at all. Getting worse every week. So we just try to live one day at a time. Festivities are out!

This is my third Christmas without my kids and my first Christmas with cancer treatments.

My kids live in Alberta but I live in BC

I always put up some Christmas decorations and outdoor lights even though I am single and will be the only one who sees them. Decorations just put me in a good mood and brings back good memories.

Thank goodness for the telephone, the internet and FaceTime to stay connected with family.

My plans for the holidays will be lots of cancer treatments . If I get snowed in and have to miss some appointments then that’s just too bad. I will still enjoy the Christmas lights against the snow.

8442 Posts

Oh geez @DMT i had no idea you were going through this..I'm so very sorry. Please let us know if you need anything.

1543 Posts

@Runner Girl thanks for sharing the good news! Hopefully you can breathe a little easier tonight.

2175 Posts

I've never been much for traditional Christmas activities. TBH, my favourite day around Christmas is Dec 21, the winter solstice. “The sun is coming back” my mother always said as the days start to get longer again!

I am visiting with my daughter and her husband in Barrie ON (a 2hr drive away). We will hunker down with good food, lots of board games, walking their dog, and wearing PJ's all the time.

My heart is with all of you who are enduring treatments thru the holidays or have unpleasant memories of going through treatments at this time of year.

1956 Posts

I‘m not big on Christmas TBH (seems there’s a theme here)…I actually haven’t been a fan since I was a young child…I hate all the commercialization and fuss and how it drags on forever - that may stem from my church going upbringing with all the advent services and some priests who were exceptionally boring, as well as choir and orchestra performances (i enjoyed both singing and playing music but it did get repetitive and we seemed to start preparing in September!). I do try to join in the festive spirit but it’s just not me…

I’m trying to find the enthusiasm for our work get together on .Friday and secretly crossing my fingers for either high COVID rates (we are at 4.6% test positivity and our cut off is 5%), or for a snow storm (starts tonight)…I enjoy seeing friends and colleagues, but I don’t need the ‘festive season to be attached to it!

Thankfully I married the Grinch so we keep things very low key for Christmas day. We don’t give each other gifts and tell our families not to either (they make an annual donation to cancer.ca instead). We go for a walk together (this year without Holly of course 😢), cook dinner together and spend time talking to our families online. We get the games out and have a tradition of watching ‘Its a Wonderful Life’, and ‘Love Actually’…

This year we have a camping trip planned for New Year and I’m looking forward to that - I am sure there will be Christmas baking and eggnog involved, as we meet up with friends.

3 years ago I was just starting chemo - it definitely affected my capacity for eating, drinking and being merry but I was moving from a low bar downward!

This year I am remembering my uncle who didn’t make it to Christmas last year, and Mother in law’s anniversary of death was a few days ago too, and it’s just six weeks since we lost our furry family member.

sending love and hugs to anyone not feeling it, for whatever reason. Xx

21 Posts


I was looking forward to seeing a few family members, until this Omicron variant came along. It’s like the Grinch came to town.

I’m nervous to go out again, even though I got the booster.

8442 Posts

I'm into year 4 of the grieving process....sometimes I feel like my life with Dan was just a dream, and other times it feel like yesterday. I'm doing mostly ok...and I've come a long way since year 1 when I was full of anger and bitterness thst anyone could 'dare'enjoy the holidays while my fiance was gone. (Like the world had to stop because my fiance was gone) . Now I hold no resentment to anyone enjoying the holidays. Why shouldn't they? If I learned anything it's that life is short and we dont know how much time or how many holidays we have to enjoy with our loved ones..so I do my best to partake in whatever little holiday joy there is to partake in. Even if the only joy there is is to get a holiday flavoured starbucks latte.... you're darn right I'm getting one and going to enjoy every sip if it!!!

2272 Posts

@Lacey_Moderator Ahhh Yes the “Holidays” are Near & Here…..

For me…..it is just day by day; I am SO happy, to keep putting one foot, in front of the other and not trip!!……..my mom 86, fell on the icy sidewalk….be careful out there folks….walk slowly…..

Covid/Omicron/Delta , all put an extra level of fear/ woe / to us all…..even with Boosters…..I will just stick around the house; walk outdoors with mask on face (save money on not buying scarves)…..keep the troops happy at home…..and we ALL try, NOT to go bonkers simultaneously!!

I remain grateful/Prayers are daily……..and hope you all enjoy the Holidays…..with good health….

Remember: It is OK, to drink Green Tea & Drive !!

Whitelilies/Miss Lilly/Hey You !!

A year ago today, I lost my mother to cancer. This hasn't been a good year, my mother, 2 uncles and a cousin have passed on. I know, circle of life, but it still sucks.

Thankfully, I am doing ok, health wise. But definitely tired of wearing the masks.

I have worked in retail my entire working career. Because of this, (seeing the holidays start way too early) I put no decorations up in my house. I have a wreath on the door, a poinsettia and outside lights, and that's it. I listen to the same Christmas songs (started playing on Nov 12th) on a loop daily at work.

From reading other people's posts, @Brighty holiday Starbucks latte sounds like a good plan. I've had to find a new route to work as there are works crews digging up my normal route. The new route has some nicely lit houses and might need to add driving (my waistline tells me I should walk instead) to look at these houses with a Starbucks holiday latte in hand.

24 Posts

On December 21, it will be my third chemotherapy session. As much as I wanted to be positive about this whole thing, there are moments where I feel really sad and alone. Being a single mom, my husband passed away nine years ago, with two university aged kids, even at times like this, I still want this season be spent like any other seasons we have had in the past. We have Christmas tree and holiday lights put up days after my first session. I intend to still cook Christmas meals and stay up to celebrate Christmas eve with simple food and gifts opening, like we usually do. I still want to continue the tradition of celebrating Christmas day with a few friends and families. My utmost goal is to beat cancer. I am determined that I won't let cancer ruin this holiday season.

1108 Posts

UGH christmas! ha ha ha

my story is not unique and my dysfunctional family is no different than anyone else's dysfunctional family; christmas is not a happy time for me.

but having said that, I do LOVE December.

*beautiful lights can literally bring me to tears. 😜

*hearing Mariah instantly makes me dance in any grocery store aisle I happen to be in. 💃

*I have NEVER turned down a yummy treat or glass of holiday cheer, and the bump in my social calendar this last month or so, tho exhausting, has reminded me of all of the good people I have in my life. 😍

I get that covid, cancer & christmas together must be very hard for some folks.

I am available almost every morning for virtual conversations, and christmas day will be no different. I'd love to have virtual coffee with you if you are feeling lonesome. reach out here, or privately and we can make it happen. ☕

sending my best wishes for peace and hope to everyone in treatment over the holidays, and to all the folks here in the cancer connection community I wish for you the very best of the season.

cheers/holiday hugs

#cancerdoesntstopforchristmas #familytimecanbehardforsomeofus #cancerconnectioncommunity

17 Posts
This is a bittersweet time for me. I made the decision back in October that I was going all out for Christmas this year, decorating the house, baking
and activities with the family. So very glad I did. Trying to build memories for the future. Yesterday we got bad news from the surgeon, hubby's cancer
is inoperatable as it has spread to his lungs. But he is still in early stages?? so we are making the best of things and enjoying what we can. I don't know
if another Christmas will be in our future. It certainly wouldn't be the same without him as he is the glue that holds our family together.
1956 Posts

@nel thats the spirit!

I know how crumby I felt after chemo three years ago, after having my first dose on 19th December. I managed to get out for a walk, video chatted with family, then had a nap before we cooked a meal together in the evening. I’d done most of the prep beforehand and I had some cheat ingredients to make it simple, but it still exhausted me.

Enjoy your time with family and friends. Essjay xx

1956 Posts

@Marj99 it sounds like you are making memories and I am sure your efforts will be worth it xx

so sorry for the bad news re hubby’s cancer 😢

Roy L.
506 Posts

@Lacey_Moderator This is a huge mixed bag for me. I am still walking, ok rolling, 2 feet off the ground with the arrival of Althea. She and my daughter are doing fantastic and I had a great hour of snuggle time today. So good for the soul, She is amazing.

On the other side, my dad passed 5 years ago on Dec 27 from Hodgkins Lymphoma. I start Chemo on the 23rd and for the past week I have been having issues with ex-in laws which is draining and unnecessary.

My favorite part of the holidays is always dinner with my kids. Unfortunitly we havent had dinner as a whole in a few years due to different circumstances and this year will be no different. We will spend time together, as much as we can. I am going to attempt to make dinner for my son and sister and run some up to the other 2. IF I am up for it, fingers crossed I will be feeling ok.

So thats what I got.

@Runner Girl that is the happiest I have ever been hearing about a hernia. Hope it all goes well.

Cheers everyone, I wish you all a fantastic holiday season whoever, however, whenever you celebrate. Enjoy family and friends and great food. Its not about what you get or give, its about being there.




at home with Grampy
24 Posts

Hi…I am not doing all that well this holiday…gound another lump in my opposite breast of my last breast cancer 14mths ago…have to have biopsy in January and just feeling plain depressed and not into celebrating at all. Praying is the most i can do at this time. On top of it all 3 mths ago i fractured my spine with 2 compression fractures and am trying to survive with all the pain n what goes with it and now both breasts have issues, lump in left and unknown issues in the right. am so sad.


4 Posts

@SK22 sending you good vibes back. 💫

4 Posts

@Nudge what a perfect way to describe this. It really is like the Grinch came to town. I understand your hesitations completely, I feel them too. (I fear making my Dad sick, but given his diagnosis we want to spend time together, as “normally” as possible…) The Grinch has amped up our anxiety (and safety measures), again, for sure.

44 Posts

I'm so sorry you had to lose your boy right before the holidays @Runner Girl I have an 11 year old boy and I know I dread that day, he's been my constant companion through so much. Perhaps there is a special way you can celebrate the time you had with him during these holidays to take some of the sting out of the loss.

I'm happy the results for your fellow were not more dire and I hope that resolves very well.

Wishing you the best the season has to offer and hope those things are revealed to you.


44 Posts

@SK22 I start the next treatment before Christmas too. My thought processes constantly evolve and I've decided to look at it as my Christmas gift to me as my next best shot at beating this cancer! Here's hoping for both of us!


Cynthia Mac
3876 Posts

Finally getting time to chime in this week - starting with this discussion: I’ve a “checklist” of my responses to many of you, and hope the others fine my “emoji responses”:

@DMT - it must be so hard to be where you are right now. I’m sure however you and your husband work the season this year, will be right for the two of you.

@Rollercoaster - good for you for doing it yourself! I did Christmas on my own for about 20 years, but I just haven’t had it in me the last few years.

@Runner Girl - I’m glad your guy’s situation is as easy to resolve. I know the grief you feel over your fur baby - I lost my little dog within a week of Christmas, and that seems to have been the cause of some of my loss of Christmas spirit these past 4 years.

@ashcon - pyjamas all day? Yes, please!

@Essjay - I agree: not big on the whole “to do” about the season either - it is rather a “turn off!” While I don’t feel the need to do winter camping, I do like to invoke the sense of peace that I’m sure it must bring!

@Brighty - it’s so good that you can look back and see how far you’ve come, and that you have the ability to look for and see the small blessings that the season can bring - like the peppermint mocha McCafe!

Oh, @Buffythevampire - I’m sorry you’ve got that particular anniversary coming up. The first one is really hard.

@supersu - NOT MARIAH! There are Facebook memes about that song - I reposted one the other day! I mean… the Tractors’ Christmas album tops that! (My new favourite Christmas song is Michael Buble and Shania Twain‘s White Christmas.)

@ChildofGod1 - I do hope you are able to find relief from the pain.

As I’ve alluded to above, several things have whittled away at my Christmas spirit over the years: I was all “Martha Stewart” in my 20s. The “glue” in my family was my grandmother, and once she passed (over 30 years ago), we no longer had Christmas with the ”greater family” - with aunts and uncles and cousins - it was just parents, siblings and partners. The loss of my dog 4 years ago this week, followed by the loss of my mother the following summer made for two difficult Christmases. My “fellow” isn’t big into Christmas, and that has a way of influencing a partner, too.

My new home isn’t set up to “put on a show”: there’s really only one place to put up a tree, and I don’t have a “front door” (side entry off the driveway), so I’ve put up a couple of wreaths, some garland and seasonal accessories to acknowledge the holidays. Simple, but it makes the acknowledgement. I would like to find a nice wreath for the front wall of the house - maybe next year.

What I have looked for in these past few years goes along the lines of what @Brighty and @Essjay talked about — the small blessings, and the peaceful moments. May all of you find them in your own Christmas this year.

1543 Posts

@Roy L. my heart is so full looking at you holding Althea. It actually brings tears to my eyes. ❤️❤️❤️

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