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Coping with cancer during the holiday season

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Sarah Midea was only 22 years old when she was diagnosed with cervical cancer. She went for her regular Pap test and was called back for a follow-up, which resulted in several biopsies and cryo-surgery. Everything unfolded so quickly, she barely had time to come to terms with the fact that she had cancer.
 
“I was fortunate,” says Sarah. “The cancer was caught early and treated quickly.”
 
Sarah’s surgery took place in November and with the holiday season just around the corner, she faced the challenge of recovering while preparing for the holidays.
 
“While my family was very supportive, because my surgery happened quickly and I wasn’t in treatment, there was an expectation that everything was back to normal,” says Sarah. “But I was still facing the physical and emotional side effects of the surgery well into the New Year.”
 
For those people facing a cancer journey this holiday season, normal routines are disrupted and can bring unique new challenges. When you or someone you love is diagnosed with cancer, it’s hard to know what to expect.
 
It’s important to know that everyone’s cancer experience is different. Some people get through treatment and find that their life hasn’t changed as much as they had expected. For others, their life changes completely. During the holidays, those changes can seem even more overwhelming.
 
If you or someone you love is living with cancer, here are some practical tips for coping during the holidays:

·        Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Support from family and friends can give comfort, and they may have good ideas for how to manage stress and practical concerns.

·        Regular family meetings are a good way for families to keep up with what’s going on with everyone. They can be a special time for everyone to talk about anything that’s bothering them, to prepare for the coming week, to plan or to spend time with each other.

·        Be flexible, even if plans have been made, you may have to reschedule or change plans depending on how you or your loved one is feeling that day.

·        Information can be incredibly powerful. Visit cancer.ca or call a Cancer Information Specialist at 1-888-939-3333 for personalized and reliable answers to your questions.

 
After being cancer-free for several years, Sarah has valuable advice to share. “Each holiday season, we are thankful that we can still spend time together as a family,” says Sarah. “The best advice I can give is to be appreciative of what you have: time with loved ones. Do not take it for granted.”
 
Learn more about how you can help someone living with cancer.
 
 
How do manage to cope during the holidays? Comment below, or join in on our discussion about the holidays.








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