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How are people feeling during this festive season?

Another year has gone by and Covid is still very much in our world.
How are people thinking and feeling about the festive season this year?
In this country restrictions have been lifted, how does that change things for us?
Some of us have had our 3rd vaccinations/boosters, does that change our thinking?
Our any of you feeling pressurised by family and friends or do they understand.
What about the media?
What about government v the medical experts?
I await with interest to hear what people think and feel.

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Am working xmas day
Not a great fan of xmas anyone
As long as I can see my hubby son daughter mum and sister am happy

Xmas is an expensive time and the real reasons for xmas seem to have disappeared

I don’t drink so am not interested in going out happy to watch old movies and shows

Spend time with my furry family

People provably ho mad this year as celebrations probably more this year

I would rather avoid the risk of infection with being newly diagnosed

We can have fun at home and enjoy the real reasons for xmas

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Basically no change for me, along with my very supportive husband and family. I am preparing myself for the onslaught of festive cheer, that will happen, but I am not sure that it will affect me as much as it did last year, fingers crossed anyway. The local infection rate is higher than the rest of the country currently and with Christmas markets and conferences plus the influx of Christmas shoppers I am staying well clear of everyone and am still only taking daily walks.
My family are extremely supportive and although we would all love to meet up we will take it all a day at a time and use zoom etc, thank goodness for technology. You never know it could be mild enough for a pleasant outdoor walk!
I agree that the true meaning of Christmas has gone and, although I can’t spend it with my close family, we can reach out to each other in a meaningful way, after all we have been doing so for 20 months now. We hold on to the hope that one day we will be meeting, as others do now, in a normal way I just wish the government and media knew that people like us are not living a normal life.

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Thank you so much for starting this topic @Erica. I thought this might be a good place to share our updated Christmas blog - Making decisions about your Christmas plans if you have blood cancer | Blood Cancer UK
How are others feeling about it this year?

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It’s a nightmare. I know lots of you feel you are in a “new normal” but I still don’t. Not only do I crave my old Pre cancer life but I want a covid safe life too. For me I’ve had 2 years of what I feel as misery. I was diagnosed with lymphoma and smouldering myeloma in October 2019. I was successfully treated with R-CHOP then went straight into shielding. We haven’t had what we call a traditional Christmas since 2018. Within my family there are always lots of get togethers, little parties, big parties and impromptu meet-ups around Christmas. I’m sure this year they will go ahead and I’ll be sat at home with my husband feeling miserable and sad because I can’t go. I’m only 43 and have a 18 year old son ( he will be off out partying I’m sure) and a 12 year old daughter who loves these parties. I’ll probably try and drop her off to some of them. Why should she keep missing out.
I feel very anxious all the time but also very cross. I want my life back and I’d love my Christmas back.

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Hi @Limadi a great big welcome to our forum and there are other people on here feeling as you do.
Now you are part of our forum family.
You have had 2 life changing events to process, and the timings of both are really unfortunate, who could have foreseen the pandemic…
I know I would still have been in shock from my cancer diagnosis when Covid struck and we went into lockdown.
Yes, traditional Christmases’ are a mere memory aren’t they. We have definitely had to re-think ours and turn it into whatever we wanted for the 2 of us.
I think what I miss is the the social interaction, the laughs and hugs, the meet up’s
Have you got access to Skype or Zoom as I have found those meeting up have really helped me.
I have been sending little notes and cards which I find fun and also lovely to receive.
How would you feel about meeting some people socially distanced outside or in a well ventilated space.
Perhaps dropping your daughter off at parties is a start isn’t it, and as you say why should your children miss out.
Do you feel that you might benefit from some counselling, it is not for everyone, but it certainly helped me. Your GP or Macmillan Cancer support might be able to help.
The Blood Cancer UK support line is also there if you would like to talk to someone.
You are certainly entitled to feel as you do and I feel honoured that you felt you could be honest with us.
Please keep posting as I would like to hear more about you and look after yourselves.

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For me personally no Christmas has been normal for the last 3 years or so since I no longer have my mom’s family Christmas. In 2018 I spent Christmas at a local hotel just for a change of scenery as I was on one of my treatment weeks. I didn’t mind it actually, I had a nice meal at a restaurant on Christmas Day and nobody to wrestle the remote control off. The next year i spent with my sister and we all had flu but still managed to open a couple of bottles of wine to cheer things up. Last year, every possible plan I tried to make had to be cancelled and I ended up eating Christmas dinner with my landlord and his partner. It was probably as close as I’ve got to some of the old family Christmases I had as a child as we exchanged presents and had a nice meal together with dodgy TV. This year I really don’t know what’s going to happen as the only person in the family I could stay with from a practical point of view is the same sister I stayed with before and she’s now on permanent chemo until the end and in a lot of pain most days. I haven’t broached the subject of Christmas as I don’t want to upset her or put her under any pressure to have a house guest when she’s not up to it. I’m leaving the ball in her court and have a provisional booking at the same hotel as 3 years ago if I need a plan B. I’m not feeling particularly Christmassy and ti could all be a bot last minute but I’ll do something and there’s sure to be wine involved :slight_smile:

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Hi @Franko I like the idea of having a Plan B, always a good philosophy.
I always like to be organised and find it very difficult to go with the flow.
Take care

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@Limadi I am so sorry you’re going through what sounds like such a tough time. Please do remember this community is here for you as are the support team so please do get in touch if you want to talk things through.

How are others feeling at the moment?

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Hi @Alice_BloodCancerUK, I am resigned to not visiting family and friends over the festive season again this year, we will phone or video link, however I know this is not the same as being with them.
I put our decorations up over the weekend and it looks suitably festive here.
However the plusses are I find the travelling and days long and quite tiring and my husband and I can now do whatever we want, when we want, wearing whatever we want and eating whatever we want.

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In the build up to the festive period thought I’d start a post (please merge if done before) on any concerns or anxieties people maybe feeling and/or suggestions people can advise or done to cope with the more darker side to dealing with this time of year

Concerns

Being unwell
Being alone
Being like a vacuum in the room
Unable to act and feel like everyone else
Being reminded you’re not well
Vaccine and covid
Being with people who don’t get it
Being asked so many questions
Being treated differently
Not getting involved or feeling involved
Thinking this could be your last Christmas
Being given too much or too little attention
Having or feeling not in the mood to celebrate or see the point
Mental and physical strain of entertaining and/or appearing things are ok.
Reminder to others that you’re not well that they struggle to chat or integrate with you.
Other people feeling awkward around you.

Things to be happy about and looking forward to…

You made it to the end of the year
Thinking and reflecting on what you’ve endured and made it through (maybe in a better state mentally and physically)
Being with friends and family in a safe environment
Being with people in happy mood (may mirror if you’re not feeling so great)
It’s common to stay indoors, being in control of what you do and who with, maybe be easier to be in your comfort zone.
Opportunity to forget about things (be distracted)
It’s Christmas
Opportunity to create happy and joyful memories

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Hi @Rammie18 you say it so well, I cannot follow it.
You have been on my mind a lot.
How are you doing right now and have you told your family exactly what you have been through as that might alter your feelings over the ‘festive’ period.
I found when I was diagnosed that I felt I was labelled as ‘Erica with Leukaemia’ and not just ‘Erica’.
On the plus side I hope to make my ‘18th cancerversary’ in 9 days time.
Didn’t you have a special birthday looming or have I got that wrong?
Look after yourself and don’t forget the forum will be open all over the bank holidays, we might need it.
Look after yourself, you special person, thanks for thinking of starting this brilliant thread, it can be such a difficult time of the year for so many.

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Hi Erica… I’ll dm a reply so not to divert from the topic in hand… :slight_smile:

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How’s everyone feeling?

We are holding another Ask the Experts on Monday 13th December about this very topic - Ask the Experts - Community Voices: What helps me through the festive period | Facebook

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I am so fed up with covid restrictions and just want to get back to a normal life. I really hate cold weather. As well as ET I have Raynards, under active thyroid and scleroderma. We will be having Christmas Dinner with my daughter and 5 grandchildren.

Last year we went to see them very briefly wearing 2 masks and a squirt of first defence up our noses. We now have had our 3 jabs. My first 2 didn’t work but I am pleased to say a test has shown I do now have antibodies after my third jab. Can’t wait to get my fourth!

We are seriously considering going somewhere warm on boxing day for 2 weeks. We have a 6 week cruise to the Carribean booked for February but who knows whether it will sail. Best go before Boris locks us down again.

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I think your list is so on point Rammie.
As Grandma Jo ( a lady normally in full swing at Christmas) I really resent that my energy levels fail me at this busy time. I am the chef this year with daughter and family on Christmas Day followed by two sons and families the next day. It does not stop there because my brother-in-law is a priest who comes for a week’s well earned holiday for several days after Christmas and between Sunday services. He lives at the other end of the country. He works in a inner city parish with extreme poverty and divisive communities ( National Front included) and is a hero in my book!
I love this time and family are so sensibly concerned for me and happy to test before they see me. That is all wonderful.
What I resent is that despite being at a fabulous point in my journey with leukaemia scores really low, my neutrophils are very low too and the fatigue catches up with me. For me that means that I cannot feel warm and get shivery and at the worst a bit shaky too. I plan ahead and already have cake, dinners etc all ready in the freezer and demand kitchen assistance and table setters etc so I am not going it alone but I resent the feeble lady who replaces me before the day is out.
There rant over!! I know that so many if you will be lonely and scared and I will think of you. I feel a bit ( okay a lot) selfish for feeling like this but I think you are a forgiving lot.

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