I love Christmas, the decorations, food, buying presents and most importantly spending time with family. As I am starting chemotherapy on Monday I have had to step back form hosting the big day, but will enjoy going to my nieces house.
I have to admit our lounge has always looked like Santa’s Grotto by the time I finish with the decorations and I am impressed to say they all come from cheapo shops. I was diagnosed on the 16 December 2003, so that year I was in my own surreal bubble in complete shock and fear, going through the motions with Christmas going on around me. Those feelings are as vivid as I type this as they were that year. The 16 December is a date that only I remember now and it a day of reflection and contemplation just for me. I put a few extra bubbles in my bath, a bit of extra chocolate in my hot chocolate and I might spoil myself in other ways. It is a time of gratitude for how lucky I have been and the fact that my diagnosis has made me look at myself and my life and to see what changes I have made and what I might wish to change, Part of my reflection is for my Blood Cancer Buddies that have not made it or have had such horrible times with treatments and long lasting side effects. In the past I did helpline cover over the Christmas period and I hate the way that the media portrays Christmas as happy families eating together with a log fire burning in the background as I believe it is a very difficult time for so many people for many different reasons. My much loved place I retreat to on the big day is in the evening when I wear my pink and orange cookie monster onesie (an ‘interesting’ look) and curl up in front of the TV.
Hi, @SP7 and @SuBloodcancerUK, you will be glad to know it now looks like Santa’s Grotto here !!!
Here too, decorated today ad starting FCR tomorrow.
Hi, psychologically I think it makes such a difference getting the decorations up. I hope the FCR goes OK tomorrow, please let us know how you get on we are all here to support you.
I love Christmas too. I’ve not put the tree up but will next weekend. I tend to buy all my grown up kids, their partners and the grandchildren lots of presents. I used to put these in bundles by the tree but having moved house earlier this year the lounge I have decided on a Christmas bag each. Because I have a bad back following collapsed vertebrae I tend to do the wrapping in stages. So as soon as I have bought that person’s presents I wrap them up. I made my Christmas puddings last month and this weekend will make some nibbles to put in the freezer. On Christmas Day there are only four of us for lunch but later my youngest daughter and her family will come round and we will play games like pass the parcel, poison smartie, charades and probably hide and seek. It is usually chaotic as gifts are exchanged then too but it is fun with the children. Also around that time we take the grandchildren to the theatre or cinema, Star Wars for the eldest, treasure Island for the 8 & 9 year old grandsons and Ducklings for the 4 year old granddaughter so a really busy family time.
Wow, Joan, you have just worn me out just reading your post and put me to shame by making your Christmas Pudding, I have to admit my favourite supermarket supplied mine. I have realised what a stress free Christmas I have. Keep posting how you get on and take care of yourself.
Oh wow you’re so organised @Joan - sounds like a brilliant family time.
Really enjoying hearing what Christmas looks like for lots of you!
My husband has non hodgkinsons lymphoma and high grade lymphoma .He is going in to hospital today and will be the first recipient of T Cell Therapy in Wales .It wasn’t the Christmas we were expecting and the treatment fills me with dread and hope.We have trimmed up and celebrated Christmas dinner with our much loved family.We owe much to the NHS for the kindness and care shown to my husband .Onwards and upwards is our mantra and wish all those who face such life changing experiences a very Happy Christmas and peaceful new year.Never give up !Regards Sue!
Hi Sue, a great big welcome to our community forum, I hoper you will find it as supportive and informative as I do, and as you say this was not the Christmas you were expecting. Yes, aren’t the NHS wonderful. This community forum is to support you both and if you feel the need to speak to someone the Bloodwise support line is free from UK landlines and mobile phones on 0808 2080 888 and they are available to take your call Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm and on Wednesdays from 10am-1pm, but you can get in touch whenever you want and leave a message and they say they will get back to you within one working day, the Christmas opening hours will be different so do check.
Hi @SP7 and @Sue. I think you have highlighted that Christmas can be a difficult time for many people who are going through treatment or recently had a diagnosis. Christmas 2007 was a celebration as, after nearly a year of poor health, I had finally been diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma and come through a major operation. I had 6 months of chemo to follow in the new year but all was positive. A year later it was apparent that I had aggressive relapsing HL, and I had lost some hearing due to chemo, as well as many other complications. I had spent most of the months from August up till Christmas in hospital, but was allowed home for 3days to be with my family. It was unspoken, but we all knew it could be my last, and yet we hunkered down, had Christmas presents, played games, chatted and shared many hugs. It remains one of my favourite Christmases.
My cards are half-written and my house is still devoid of decoration. We seem to be in a bit of a social whirl, spending little time at home at the moment. Then i planned to do things this week, and my body has decided to rebel! We are at least having Christmas at my daughter’s and her husband is a fantastic cook and host. We are left to entertain the two children …which means a mammoth Lego session. Our youngest son will be with us too. As I have a large family we have cut down on who we buy presents for, and often get experiences instead. My 5 yr old granddaughter has opted for a girls day out with afternoon tea, and her brother would like to go to a football match with his grandad.
@Erica @SuBloodcancerUK @Joan I admire your organisation!!!
To you and your families, I wish a peaceful Christmas filled with joy, and a healthy and happy 2020. Special blessings for those undergoing a difficult time, because of illness or they are missing someone who is no longer with them. Love, Louise
Thank you for your lovely welcome and supportive x
Louise I can imagine how difficult life has been for both yourself and your family.We have been living with my husbands illness for about 5years so have seen many ups and downs but we remain positive and like yourself are surrounded by our much loved family .I wish you and your family a Christmas of making happy memories and enjoying just being together.Lol Sue. We
I should have added that in March 2009 I had my own stem cells transplanted and am 10years post transplant. There was 30% chance of survival of a year. Multiple problems because of treatment, but grateful for every morning I wake up x
I’m sure your Santa’s grotto looks fantastic @Erica ! It’s nice to be able to grab a few cheap bargains when it comes to decorations isn’t it?
It was so interesting to read about how December 16th understandably holds so much significance for you, and lovely to hear that you make sure to be kind to yourself and take care of your self when this date comes up. Bubble baths and hot chocolate are always a winner! (and sounds like you have a very comfy onesie there! ) Do you find it helps to anticipate certain days you might find tricky in advance, and plan what you may do on these days?
you also brought up some really thoughtful points, Erica, about Christmas and the way it can be portrayed in the media. Does anyone else have any thoughts/experiences with this?
Hi there @Joan ! I echo Dawn and Erica, you sound so organised! and I think many people will be wanting tips from you as they do all of their Xmas preparations haha it was so nice to read about the variety of things you do at yours for Xmas; the games, the theatre- it must be such an enjoyable thing to do with the family too.
Anyone else a fan of games/theatre at Christmas time?
@Sue I join our other lovely forum members in giving you a big, warm welcome!
I’m Su, I am one of the Support Services Officers here at Bloodwise.
I am so sorry to hear about your husband’s diagnosis, I can only imagine how tough things must be for you both. But it is such a positive thing that you have reached out for support and joined us. As you can see, our members are a very lovely and friendly bunch
The forum is a safe space for everyone to share anything on their mind, and as @Erica says, the support line is also here for you if you ever need it
How have you been? I wish you and your husband all the very best with his treatment.
Hi Sue, @SP7, @Joan, @DawnBloodCancerUK, @Pisces56, @Sue. I do try to organise myself because I don’t deal with what stresses me well so I choose to pace myself and keep it simple. There are things I can do early like writing Christmas cards, putting decorations up and booking supermarket deliveries. I am definitely not a xmas games person as they stress me out, especially if they have a competitive element or working in partners as I hate the thought of letting people down or not feeling good enough. My husband and I were both brought up in small family units and don’t feel comfortable in large gatherings. I would enjoy a matinee theatre or pantomime. By agreement we don’t give presents within our families. My husband and I get our own and my son usually appreciates money, however we each have a festive bag and I might be given my favourite shortbread or chocolates and I usually put in a tube of smarties, some Maltesers and of course, a chocolate orange each of the three of us.