Surviving Cancer and the Holidays

When dealing with a cancer diagnosis, life is hard enough, but toss in the holidays and the stress that comes along for the ride it can seem insurmountable. You need to face that your energy needs to be focused on getting well and those around you need to be equally aware. A challenge, yes, but doable.

I was dealing with surgery complications, a second surgery (actually third) and three different infections, but somehow found a way to do the shopping and give the kids a great Christmas. I looked like “heck” and couldn’t leave the house most of December, but thanks to the internet pulled it off.

There are things that you can do to make life easier….

1)      Get help! Don’t be a martyr. You shouldn’t go it alone. I never asked for help, when I should have and it made things harder than it ever needed to be. Whether we want to believe it or not, there’s usually someone willing to step in.

2)      Fall in love with your computer. You don’t need to be out on Black Friday to get deals. There’s always wonderful bargains online. ALWAYS!

3)      Learn to say “No.” You have cancer, you have a reason to say no, without guilt. This became the time I cleared my list of commitments and NEVER allowed it to get that full, again.

4)      It doesn’t have to be perfect… Your family wants you well and knows that is what matters most. It doesn’t take the perfect dinner, party or baking dozens of cookies to make the holidays special; it takes being together and making that time matter.

So slow down, have a cookie, hug a child or whatever it takes to get through the day and remember that the holidays don’t have to be complicated or cluttered to be memorable. Simple is most often best.

Enjoy the moment and remember that you have an important job to do this holiday season, beat cancer.

Nothing else matters that much.



Battle Scars… Flaunt Them Baby!!!

If you’d asked me my thoughts on this subject shortly after surgery or even five years ago, my answer would have been much different than they are now… My scar is HUGE and though I’m not going to roast in the summer to hide it, I’ve still downplayed it like it wasn’t there. Ashamed of it and embarrassed.

I don’t know if it’s age or just a new found confidence in the past year or so, but I’ve swung completely the other direction. I’ve even entered contests for the best scar and story (didn’t win, YET, but determined to kick butt someday!). I will mess with you, if you ask (in fun, not in a mean way) and will make jokes about it. All in all, it’s become a way of breaking the ice and lightening the atmosphere.

Some can hide their cancer scars, but as you know, even if you can’t see them, they’re ever present and life changing. There’s nothing wrong with being uncomfortable with sharing it, but there’s amazing freedom in owning them. Not only do you feel free, but you will undeniably help someone else dealing with the same thing.

There’s no doubt, it’s scary, but worth it! Be brave, flaunt it (as long as it won’t get you arrested) and feel the power it gives you.

Have a great week and remember that you’re far stronger than you think you are.