Thriving at Christmas?

Hello again everyone,

How are we all coping in the run up to Christmas?
This is a thread to chat about anything to do with coping during the festive season, and a chance for you all to share your experiences and tips with one another.
Please do feel free to share as much or as little as you feel comfortable with, it can be about anything, but just to give you some ideas to start off with:

  • some of you may have advice to share or are hoping to get some advice on coping with specific side effects over the festive period?
  • or perhaps this time of year is a particularly emotional time for you for varying reasons?
  • Maybe this time of year marks a significant date for you, if you have lost someone close to you?

Take care everyone and we hope to hear from you :+1:

Su

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I think fatigue is my biggest thing at Christmas because I find I set it off by overdoing it emotionally or physically and it can come on immediately or up to 48 hrs after I overdo it. Since diagnosis I do not deal with what personally stresses me well. We have a really easy Christmas but I somehow get all wrapped up with the hype. We are going to my husbands relatives one day so I have not got to do anything and they are all lovely, and we are home by early evening, but I find the day really wipes me out. I do try to get some fresh air and exercise each day, but it is also a time I like to have a rest. It is interesting, but I find it is rather nice to get back in the old routine afterwards. We do not socialise much, which I am very happy with, and my coping mechanism over the Christmas period is to take time out to be quiet on my own and have the odd naps and treats.

Hi @SuBloodwise and @Erica. Since my diagnosis I think I am more tuned in to the word ‘priorities’ and certainly am not afraid to say ‘no’ now and again. I try not to stress over what isn’t done and pare back to the essentials, then build on that. I make sure that I can plan rest periods as much as possible, as I know that if I overdo things I will not be able to enjoy the festivities. Christmas for me is a time to spend with the people who mean the most to me. I am very fortunate in that my family is close, as I know at this time of year there are so many more disagreements over who should spend time where, especially where there are family break ups.
However you spend your Christmas I hope it is filled with love and hope for the future

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@Erica , thank you so much for sharing! It is a really positive thing that you are able to recognise what affects you the most, and it sounds like you have also developed an awareness of when you maybe overdoing anything. I’m really glad to hear you have some coping mechanisms which have really helped you, like the naps, the fresh air, and of course, the odd treat :smile: I also wondered, Erica, about the people around you, your friends and family, how did you find explaining this all to them? From discussions on here, there does seem to be mixed experiences as to how easy it has been to encourage our nearest and dearest to understand.

Has anyone had similar experience to Erica with fatigue? Have similar things helped you?

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Hi @SuBloodwise and @Pisces56 I suppose my husband tends to go about with his head in the clouds and isn’t good on feelings, although he can see when my fatigue sets in and knows I need to rest or nap. He is very logical person and can only see things from his perspective and can not comprehend the illogical side of blood cancer and fatigue and why going to his nephew and wife on Christmas Day and being looked after can wear me out. I also find it difficult to explain. He is fine about me not doing evenings and actually uses me as a useful excuse. He cannot work out why exercise, fresh air and interaction with people can sometimes help my fatigue. My brilliant friends are my emotionally crutches. He is happy working for his charities from home, but absolutely fine about me going out and about with friends. Every year our New Years resolution is to do more things together, we are a good partnership as we accept each others funny little ways and don’t try and change each other.

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@Erica it’s so positive to hear that your husband and your friends have been supportive of you. But as you say, Erica, it’s only natural that are going to be some challenges. It sounds like you have worked hard in finding ways to overcome these though, and it’s great to hear that you have confidence in voicing what does and doesn’t help you.

I am wondering if anyone else has had similar experiences with their friends and family, and would like to share? what kinds of things helped you when communicating your needs? Feel free to share :slight_smile:

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@Erica my hubby and I went through a very rocky patch after my treatment was finished, and from being a couple who discussed rather than argued communication completely broke down (There were other factors as well as my illness at play). The crunch was when we went to The Good Food Show and we both had plenty of drink samples. We got back to our hotel and the barrier he had put up fell away. The air was cleared. Now things are better than ever, which is a good job as we spend so much time together. Mind you, even when we were teaching we often ended up in the same school!

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I find Christmas mentally trying at the best of times so I’m not sure I’m a good example! We have more problems in the family this year after 3 of us have gone into remission so it’s still not going to be a jolly one this year. In some ways, last year being my first Christmas alone was kind of nice. I booked into a hotel in a village and had a meal at a local Italian restaurant. I’d had chemo on Christmas Eve so that was my excuse for not heading back to the family in Birmingham. This year though another serious problem has happened not directly connected with me so we’ll all be on a downer…

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Christmas can be such a stressful and emotional time can’t it. It can be difficult trying to please everyone. The first Christmas after Hugo was diagnosed he was going through a particularly intensive phase of treatment and we were warned that he could well end up in hospital. We told everyone that we weren’t doing social Christmas. I got the boys presents bought and wrapped in plenty of time. Got frozen veggies and roast potatoes and didn’t make any plans. As it was we ended up not being in hospital. We spent Christmas day just the 4 of us. All day in our PJs, a quick and easy Christmas dinner. It was bliss! It reminded up all of what is really important. Kind of wish we could get away with it again, but I can’t justify being that selfish again.

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@franko I’m sorry it sounds like Christmas is going to be a tough one for you this year. I hope it has some unexpected brighter spots.

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It sounds as if you have had a really tough year. Your Christmas last year sounds just what you needed. Although much is made of loneliness at Christmas some people enjoy having the time to read a book, listen to their favourite music and not have to fight for control of the remote control. I hope that there is some way that your family’s problems can be made lighter and if you can, take time out, for a walk or to see a friend so that you get some time for yourself.

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Hi @franko,

I am so sorry to hear about your situation, and that there have been problems within the family. It does sound like you have had a lot going on, how have you been in last few days? It is so good to see that you feel like you can post on here, and share what is on your mind. The forum community is always here to talk things through whenever you need it. :+1:

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Thanks everyone for your kind comments. More of a family situation than something affecting me personally this year. I’m in pretty reasonable nick personally but it feels like the family is slightly cursed over the last 5 years with four of us having cancer, two deaths and now this. I made up my mind though once my chemo had finished to have fun and travel and I’ve certainly kept to the plan in 2019 in spite of the hiatus for my transplant. I’ve started writing down my experiences which has sort of turned into a book with episodes from elsewhere in my life too. Not meant for literary publication but quite cathartic. Onwards and upwards and hope you all have a great Christmas :slightly_smiling_face:

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@franko I can only imagine having multiple things going on in your life can make things incredibly tough . But it is so encouraging to hear that you feel in reasonably good condition yourself, and it also sounds like you’ve been really proactive in exploring what helps you. Finding some way of expressing how you feel, like the writing you describe is so important- and I’m so pleased to hear it has helped you. And good on you for sticking to your plan to have fun and relax :+1: I hope you found some lovely places to travel to! :grin:

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