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Forum: Coping with Holidays, Special Days and Anniversaries — Holidays and special days, like birthdays and anniversaries, can be filled with complex emotions. Are they a time to celebrate or are they extra difficult? Share your feelings and experiences here.

Posted on: Dec 16, 2018 12:04PM

CaptainJay wrote:

Wife was diagnosed IDC a few days ago. Our 25th anniversary is next week. Testing is ongoing and we're starting the surgeon, oncologist, and related doctor rounds (circus). She is feeling fine physically, We're both up and down mentally. Any suggestions and input on how to celebrate our anniversary next week? What would be (or would have been) most helpful and encouraging to you?

Related question - how to best deal with upcoming holidays? Family doesn't know yet and struggling with how to let the news out. Since further testing is ongoing and treatment plan has not yet been determined we have more questions than answers right now. Don't want to spring it on the family at Christmas but don't want to wait until after.

Any input from those who have been there is helpful. This is all new.

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Dec 16, 2018 12:51PM - edited Dec 16, 2018 12:55PM by NancyHB

Hi Jay. So sorry to hear about your wife's diagnosis. That's hard enough without the holidays and anniversaries to also celebrate.

I appreciate where you both are right now. My first diagnosis came the day after our 11th anniversary - which was two days before Thanksgiving. We were prepared for the diagnosis so it wasn't as much of a surprise as it was confirmation, but even then it was still tough to deal with. We were determined to live as “normal" as possible in those early days, so we had dinner on our anniversary and talked about our plans for our summer vacation. We didn't know what treatment was or what it would be like, but we allowed ourselves time to put it aside to celebrate us. I won't lie; in our celebration we also talked briefly about our fears of how many more anniversaries we'd have, and gave ourself permission to be scared. We grieved the loss of our carefree time as empty-nesters, but we didn't wallow in it, and honestly had a wonderful evening.

Thanksgiving was two days later - big family affair with extended family on my husband's side; the next day was my family's holiday. By then we had a definitive diagnosis and a general idea of chemo, radiation - and recurrence risk. It was much more real, and much more difficult for me. I had a really rough few days, and didn't want to spoil our holidays so I took a Xanax before each day, and it helped immensely. That gave us time to get more information, and present everything more clearly and calmly.

For us it was best to have all our ducks in a row before we said anything - and after the holidays. I didn't want our kids or family to associate the holidays with this stupid disease, especially since our SIL had just recently lost his mother to colon cancer. And I needed to be in a more positive space; my kids looked to me to know I would be okay, and I had to take time to get there.

I say, celebrate your anniversary with much love and joy. You'll figure out the best time and way to tell your family. There's no harm in waiting until you have all the information you'll need to answer questions, calm fears, and know your own feelings. It can be hard to wait, but if it were me I would (I put off my December scans this month, until January because I strongly suspect I'll get less-than-positive news, and I didn't want it to interfere with the enjoyment of the holidays). But that's just me. Talk with your wife and make a plan together. Right now it's about her, and you.

Positive thoughts and blessings for a happy anniversary and holidays.

"Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life." - Omar Khayyam Dx 11/22/2011, IDC, Left, 1cm, Grade 2, ER+/PR-, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 12/5/2011 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Chemotherapy 1/19/2012 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy 6/12/2012 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes Dx 1/27/2016, IDC, Left, 1cm, Grade 3, 0/4 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery 2/15/2016 Lumpectomy; Lymph node removal: Left Chemotherapy 3/1/2016 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 7/21/2016 Mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap Dx 1/31/2017, IDC, Stage IV, metastasized to bone
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Dec 16, 2018 01:07PM Runrcrb wrote:

i agree- put off telling most people until you know more. Celebrate your anniversary as normal. I was diagnosed five days after my husband went into the hospital for a stem cell transplant. We didn’t share until a week or two later, after I was able to tell our children in person. The diagnosis phase is challenging- appointments, tests, waiting and decisions. Once you learn as much as you can to start down the treatment path, it’s a little better.

Good luck and happy holidays

Dx 6/27/2016, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IIB, Grade 1, 4/10 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 6/27/2016, ILC/IDC, Right, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 1, 4/10 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 9/22/2016 Lymph node removal: Right; Mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 10/31/2016 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 2/9/2017 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall Hormonal Therapy 4/23/2017 Aromasin (exemestane) Surgery 12/13/2017 Reconstruction (right): DIEP flap
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Dec 16, 2018 02:05PM - edited Dec 16, 2018 08:03PM by Moderators

We are very sorry to hear about your wife, and all this right before a big anniversary and the holidays. We hope that you find a meaningful way to celebrate your 25 years together, one that brings joy and a reprieve for both of you.

Telling family and friends is a very personal decision, and very much depends on your particular relationships. Sometimes people feel better waiting until a plan is in place, and depending on the relationship, sometimes it's better to allow certain people into the process, and help support your decision-making. No right or wrong answer, just extremely individual.

We're all her for you.

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Dec 17, 2018 06:11PM CaptainJay wrote:

Thank you for the responses. Very helpful. We're talking through it now & putting a plan together for how to move ahead. She doesn't think that she can hold it together during the holidays. Hits me at random times as well. One day at a time, one step at a time. It is good to know we're not alone and to have the support of those who have been there and slain the dragon.

Sincere, thank you!

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Dec 17, 2018 07:40PM oxygen18 wrote:

Jay, It is not ok for her to hit you. Period, end of sentence. You do not owe it to anyone to put up with abuse.

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Dec 17, 2018 08:00PM LeesaD wrote:

Oxygen- I don’t think that’s what he meant at all. I think he was saying the emotions of the situation hit him and his wife at times. It was more figuratively...not being hit literally.
Oncotype Score 3, 2/4 Sentinal Nodes micromestasis so pushed for ALND for 'peace of Mind' and surprise found 2/14 positive axillary nodes Dx 2/3/2017, IDC, Right, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 4/18 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 3/27/2017 Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 4/17/2017 Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary Chemotherapy 5/9/2017 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 8/2/2017 Hormonal Therapy 9/7/2017 Arimidex (anastrozole), Zoladex (goserelin) Surgery 11/17/2017 Prophylactic ovary removal Surgery 1/30/2018 Reconstruction (left): Fat grafting, Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting, Silicone implant
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Dec 17, 2018 08:07PM oxygen18 wrote:

LeesaD, THANK YOU, I sure hope that's how it was meant.

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Dec 18, 2018 08:08AM edwards750 wrote:

I thought the same thing Lessa. I reread what he wrote and I never thought it was a physical hit.


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