Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Advice from my Christmas Past

Over the past few days we have been slowly decorating for Christmas. It is one of my favorite times of the year.

With the weather here in the northeast in the mid-high 60's, and with the help of my husband and son , we decorated the outside of our home. Then we moved inside. Day 2 , decorate the mantle and place the Advent Wreath on the dining room table with its pink and purple candles; Day 3, set up the tree; Day 4, decorate the tree; Day 5, put up the Nativity and add a touch of Christmas to the kitchen.

Before my cancer diagnosis with the help of my entire family I would begin decorating the morning of Black Friday and by dinner with Christmas Carols playing the entire house inside and out was decked out for the holidays.

It doesn't work that way any more. And it most certainly didn't work that way in December 2005 while in chemotherapy and five months after I was first diagnosed, or in December of 2008, one month after my recurrence and surgery on my spleen and liver.

Having experienced two Christmases in treatment I offer this advice:
1. Look at everything you have to do, prioritize and cut back. Instead of baking 5 different cookies, just bake two. Instead of midnight Mass/ Service maybe attend the earlier evening service. Can't make it to church ? Contact your pastor /minister/ deacon and ask them to visit you. Can't imagine lugging the Christmas tree and decorations from the attic? A simple dwarf spruce tree from a local store might be just the thing to bring the Christmas spirit into your home. And in the spring time you can always plant it outside. To tired to shop? Buy online. Don't have a computer? Check those Sunday newspaper adds and call the stores to order your presents. (I know you are reading this and saying I need to do everything. I have said the same thing. I know how you feel. I've cried a few times over not being able to physically do things.)

2. Ask for help. I never wanted to ask for help. I'm stubborn like that. I thought , I was the mom I was suppose to make the cookies, buy the gifts, plan the dinner. But I came to realize that family and friends really want to help out. So I learned to let them. It was ok to let Theresa and Matt make the cookies and for Nick to buy the presents. And it was ok to go to a friend's house for Christmas Eve and just enjoy the night. And it was ok that every decoration was not on display. Ask for help to wrap presents and make out Christmas cards.

3. Get your rest! I learned to nap - at other people's houses. I would just ask the hostess if it was ok if I went in to another room to rest. A half-hour later I was good to go for a few more hours.

4. Eat right! Be sure that you eat those 3 meals a day or more if you need to. Sometimes when you are visiting others the meal might be scheduled later than you are used to. Be sure to eat some crackers, fruit, a handful of nuts or have a glass of juice. Those things should tide you over until the meal begins. Remember if your white count is low to follow the guidance the doctor has given you about what to avoid.

You can be in treatment and have a very Merry Christmas too. This advice works for those celebrating Hanukkah and Kwanzaa too. Enjoy!

Every Day is a Blessing!Blessed to be here for another Christmas season.

1 comment:

Heidi Bright said...

Good ideas. I think people understand our needs while we are in treatment, and are more than happy to accommodate them.