Emotional issues

Cancer can be emotionally draining, but sharing your feelings can help you and others in your situation. Talk about it here.

Getting through Christmas

jw68
Posted by

Hi

I was diagnosed with cancer 2 years ago just before Christmas. Consequently Xmas (which I have always loved) was awful. Last year wasn't much better. This year we have my son and his 2 young daughters coming to stay for Xmas. Has anybody got any tips ideas on how to cope with this and not ruin their Xmas. Just seeing Xmas adverts is freaking me out. Any suggestions would be appreciated

Thanks

John

Jostran
Posted by

John, why is it freaking you out? You are here, you are still here 2 years on from diagnosis so you have everything to be thankful for....each day is a blessing so take each day as it comes and cherish each day. We have an unwritten rule with our family on special events (We have a son and daughter, both married with a total of 5 grandchildren) such as Christmas, Birthdays etc  that the C word is not mentioned or even thought about and believe me it never crosses our minds as we are having so much fun as a family.

My husband had Oesophageal Cancer diagnosed in October 2015, removed March 2016 but we were told on 6th October this year that cancer has returned and this time is terminal with no chance of removing it.....he possibly only has months with us but we remain positive in the hope the management medication will keep him with us for longer than estimated. He is continuing to work, continuing to gig with his band and staying positive & determined, the only time the C word is mentioned is when we have to go for his treatment. 

Yes, you have cancer but don't let it rule your life and spoil events; whilst you can you are in charge of 'it' and not the other way round for now.....live your life, enjoy your special times with your family and be happy while you can .....including Christmas and be positive, your family will love you and respect you for that and you can enjoy one anothers company all the more!! 

Love and Merry Christmas wishes

LittleRunner
Posted by

Hello John, sorry to hear that xmas adverts etc are making you anxious.  How about if you start planning a timetable for xmas day (and the run-up), to make sure that you don't get too much time to brood?

I hope this year it goes really well for you, and that your bad memories get over-written with good memories that you make this year.

GBear
Posted by

Hello John,

It’s always going to serve as a constant reminder of being diagnosed at Christmas, but you’re still here 2 years on so it’s also a positive too, so celebrate that. We all battle our emotions and yes as a fellow cancer patient who was diagnosed just over a week before my birthday I am sure next birthday will be a nervous time.Having your family round will be a comfort to you in lots of ways, your sons 2 young daughters will be a great distraction to you. Embrace their energy and try to enjoy Christmas. 

elounda17
Posted by

Yes my feelings exactly.Thank you for these words of encouragement. A merry Christmas to you and your family. Xx

Calamity jane 1961
Posted by

My mum was diagnosed on Christmas Eve 2013 and died 8 weeks later so I also feel very sad and anxious in the run up to Christmas. 

rascaltiddles
Posted by

Hi John, I understand it must be very difficult for you, my husband had a Brain Tumour and we only had 1 Christmas after his diagnoses but it was a happy one, filled with family, gifts, good food and all the usual Christmas cheer. He wanted it to be a lovely Christmas memory in case it was his last and sadly it was as he died in October. 

Only 2 months on and I am determined to enjoy Christmas as we always did, I have two daughters and 4 grandchildren from 7 down to 6 months and I wouldn't want to spoil it for them. We will be scattering his ashes on Boxing Day so there will be tears but there will also be laughter. 


I hope you and your family find the strength to enjoy Christmas and make happy memories for your family to look back on. 


Good luck and may you still be with us next Christmas. Xxx 

Lady Penelope
Posted by

Hi John

Managing feelings is the hardest thing of all.  I think harder still is trying so hard to remain positive when you don't feel it, when it all feels so negative and overwhelming and you simply can't feel bright about any of it!  Often I have wished I could be one of the positive people who can work through it and then start a spiral of comparing myself to people in a worse position than me who remain positive and out there, so why can't I? ... and so it goes on.  Awful.  And exhausting.

I don't know how this has manifested for you but I'll put this out there in case it helps.... I have been so CROSS with myself that I can't change my thinking and that anger at myself for not being able to think my way out of it, change my attitude, be positive .... it is those thoughts that have made me despair, more than my thoughts and feelings about Christmas ads and seeing busy, happy people and being jealous that my life is currently stuck (I am having chemo)...... so .... my advice is different ... it is to accept .... to accept that this is the way you feel (and accept the concomitant guilt about having these feelings) and be okay with it rather than fight and fight and fight.  Somehow accepting makes it more peaceful and one becomes less at loggerheads with one's own self.  Even if you find the peaceful bit only occasionally it can make it feel a bit better.  Can stop it swirling and whirling around your head and heart. And THEN you can formulate a plan to help yourself and your family make it through.  It IS hard.  For you and for them. But be gentle with yourself and you can be gentler with those around you.  And if a bit of humour can come back, even better.  I was always one of those people others came to for help and positivity, for a lift, for a bright smile and I found myself helpless and cut off from the world and that made me wretched.  Losing control of my own life when I was always the fixer for others.  Not being the bright button in the box.  Being so bored with cancer and chemotherapy..... but when I can, I practice thinking  'uhoh, here I go again .... ranting ... kick boxing with myself ... how exhausting .... this will pass .... I'll get used to this .... it takes about 30 days to change a pattern of behaviour and of thinking .... so I feel like THIS .... ho hum ..... what a pain ..... and breeeeeathe ...... sometimes I curl up on the floor in a ball and sometimes I crawl back to bed .... but sometimes I remember what a smile feels like and that's good ......

I am probably barking up the wrong tree (a pear tree with a partridge in it) .... but just wanted to put a slightly different slant.  Gawd I ain't arf rabbitted on ...........

With kindness 

jw68
Posted by

Hi Joan

Thanks for your reply. I am so sorry to hear about your own personal circumstances with your husband. Funnily enough I am also a musician. I have my own personal studio and write and record songs. I try to remain positive and do various other things but I still find it difficult to cope. Thanks for your comments/suggestions and I hope you have a good Xmas

Happy Xmas and kind regards

John

jw68
Posted by

Hi Little Runner

Thanks for your reply. I 'll certainly try this idea and hope it will alleviate some of the stress and keep my mind from wandering

Thanks and have a great Xmas

John

jw68
Posted by

Hi GBear

Thanks for your reply and your words of comfort. Have a good Xmas

John

Hellyeah
Posted by

Hi lady penelope

As a carer for my husband iv been struggling with this ..i should be the brighter positive  one syndrome and your words have helped me see that mentally punishing myself isnt helping. I just have to accept that some times its just going to be hard and thats just the way it is. My husband has lost all hope his health isnt great and iv been beating myself up for not being able to keep him positive but now im just going to do xmas for the family and hope he can enjoy some of it but if hes not interested thats ok. 

Thanks you gave me another perspective on my situation.

Helen x

jw68
Posted by

Hi rascaltiddles

Thanks for your reply. I am sorry to hear about your husband, my condolences to you and your family. I hope you have a happy Xmas as well given the circumstances

Thanks

John

jw68
Posted by

Hi Lady Penelope

Yus, m'lady (as Parker would say) I can identify with your points. Thanks for taking the time to respond in such detail. It is so easy to fall into a negative spiral. I am currently trying the following:

1 hour a day of mixed exercises such as yoga meditation, shadow boxing

Head Space sessions. I have found this to be an excellent site and it gives you 1-2-1 help on depression, stress etc. plus lots of other apps such as  cancer recovery, panic and even flying, interviews,  Unfortunately they have not got Xmas! It has been really helpful to me and I am working through the modules. Unfortunately after a free trial you have to pay- about £80 a year- but I would recommend it

I also do Fit in 5 which is a Sky series and they are 5 minute exercises, as I have been told by my GP that exercise helps with stress

I even tries cold showers as I saw a theory that cold water swimming alleviates stress and depression. I gave up on this because it was like torture but I might try it again when the weather is warmer

Thanks for your suggestions and I'll take them on board. I hope you are better soon and have a great Xmas

Take care

John

daloni
Posted by

Hi John

I was just reading through this conversation and all the different perspectives. I was about to agree with Lady P and then suggest you try Headspace. I think it's great. The biggest thing it's given me is the ability to feel my anxiety, anger and sorrow around my incurable diagnosis - and let them go. Then I find I feel other emotions too, such as joy. It's just that they were stuck under the blanket of anxiety, sadness and anger. 

But I see you are already there :-) 

I wonder whether you are able to separate Christmas from the traumatic memories now associated with it?  The timing was a coincidence and in reality the trauma is attached to the cancer diagnosis rather than Christmas. But in our minds, it's sometimes easier to attach the trauma to a date. I'm not sure I'm making sense here. 

Anyway. Don't renew your Headspace subscription too quickly - there is usually a price drop nearer the deadline. 

Wishing you as merry a Christmas as you can manage. I really hope it's a good one....

Xxx