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Topic: Holiday planning stress begins

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: Jul 24, 2019 06:31AM

MountainMia wrote:

Here it is, not yet the end of July, and planning has already begun for holidays. My family probably isn't much different from others. People have expectations about what should happen, either because of history/tradition or assumptions, and then when told that won't work, chaos ensues! My husband, children, and I are already in conflict about how to spend Christmas.

I could go into personal details, but this is probably a pretty universal issue. What are your thoughts about holiday planning? What problems have you had while dealing with holidays and your cancer diagnosis? What problems do you anticipate for this year? What strategies will you use to deal with issues? What successes have you had in dealing with planning problems?

The rain comes and the rain goes, but the mountain remains. I am the mountain. 2/2019 diagnosis; 4/2019 left lumpectomy, 1.5cm IDC, 0/3 nodes, ER-/PR-/HER2-; 5/2019 chemo ACx4; 8/2019 radiation
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Jul 24, 2019 11:57AM Moderators wrote:

This is a very good topic. Thanks for starting it!

To send a Private Message to the Mods: community.breastcancer.org/mem...
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Jul 24, 2019 12:17PM Ingerp wrote:

We've taken the easy way out and taken a trip over the holidays since my kids were pretty small. Really cuts down on the present shopping too--the trip *is* the present!

Dx 3/11/2016, DCIS, Left, 6cm+, Stage 0, Grade 3, ER-/PR- Surgery 3/22/2016 Lumpectomy Surgery 4/19/2016 Lumpectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 5/17/2016 Whole-breast: Breast Dx 3/2/2018, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH) Surgery 3/12/2018 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Targeted Therapy 5/17/2018 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 5/17/2018 Taxol (paclitaxel) Radiation Therapy 8/19/2018 Whole-breast: Breast
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Jul 24, 2019 12:22PM MountainMia wrote:

Ingerp, it's good to have a successful tradition already in place!

The rain comes and the rain goes, but the mountain remains. I am the mountain. 2/2019 diagnosis; 4/2019 left lumpectomy, 1.5cm IDC, 0/3 nodes, ER-/PR-/HER2-; 5/2019 chemo ACx4; 8/2019 radiation
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Jul 24, 2019 12:33PM Ingerp wrote:

That it is. I also realized it was stupid (and kind of a fire hazard!) to put up a tree/decorate too much if we weren't going to be home. And quite a few years ago my "big family" (sibs/mother) decided that for the adults, we'd draw names and only buy for one person each year. Most of my shopping is for my nieces/nephews, and I know people don't like to hear it, but I usually wrap that up in October. Other than writing my stupid annual Christmas letter, the holidays are pretty easy-peasy for me!

And lest I sound too laissez-faire about all of this, I do get that there are additional challenges/stressors with a BC diagnosis or treatment. Many years we give a mid-December holiday party and I skipped it the last couple of years. I can't say I didn't have the energy, but I just wasn't in the mood. For heavens sake be gentle to yourself and don't over-do. And make that clear *now*. Decide what you want to do and especially what you don't want to do, and then STICK TO IT. In my friend group we talk about playing the cancer card, and we are *all* entitled to that.

Dx 3/11/2016, DCIS, Left, 6cm+, Stage 0, Grade 3, ER-/PR- Surgery 3/22/2016 Lumpectomy Surgery 4/19/2016 Lumpectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 5/17/2016 Whole-breast: Breast Dx 3/2/2018, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH) Surgery 3/12/2018 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Targeted Therapy 5/17/2018 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 5/17/2018 Taxol (paclitaxel) Radiation Therapy 8/19/2018 Whole-breast: Breast
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Jul 24, 2019 12:44PM kber wrote:

We got some serious static this year when I told folks I didn't want to host Passover like we usually do, as I would be 4 months into chemo at the time. Long story short, I got the usual promises that others would "do everything" and all we had to do was open our home. I made a list of what "everything" entailed. Come to my house two days early and clean up. Go grocery shopping, Move the furniture around to accommodate everyone. Cook. Clean, Lead the service. Move the furniture back. I explained that my husband had already picked up 99% of the household chores, child care chores, and was still working full time, so the holiday could NOT create any extra work for him on top of what he was already doing.

I also warned folks that the day Passover fell this year was on my worst post chemo day, so I'd probably excuse myself halfway through the celebration and go to bed.

I got assurances that everyone understood and still wanted to come, so that's what happened. I didn't lift a finger. I couldn't if I wanted too. In a weird way, it was a good thing. Although everyone worked much harder than they thought they would, I think they finally got it through their heads that I was indeed quite sick, that I wasn't faking anything, and that their Pollyanna assumptions about my state were wrong.

The downside, after being a bit shocked at my appearance and general weakness, my poor husband had to field a ton of "Is she dying???" questions!

Not sure what we will do this coming year, but I believe we will have a lot more flexibility and understanding than previously!

Dx 11/2018, IDC, Left, 5cm, Stage IIB, ER-/PR-, HER2- Chemotherapy 12/6/2018 Adriamycin (doxorubicin), Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxol (paclitaxel) Surgery 5/27/2019 Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right Radiation Therapy 7/16/2019 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall
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Jul 24, 2019 12:57PM Spookiesmom wrote:

The first time around, my bmx was 10 days before Christmas and I still had drains. I told DD I couldn’t/wouldn’t do it, so we did it at her house. Just us, and SILs mom & stepdad.

DHs family won’t come here, I refuse to go there. So there’s that. 1000 mile either way

I honestly don’t care anymore about decorating and big dinners. I don’t have the stamina for it. If it wasn’t for the grands, I wouldn’t even do a tree.

So I order some party trays from Publix, make a chocolate cheesecake for the grands, DD brings veggie tray. Merry Christmas.

Reoccurrence 3-19. Dx IDC, Stage IIIA, Grade 3
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Jul 24, 2019 01:44PM - edited Jul 24, 2019 01:45PM by AliceBastable

I just realized I have absolutely no idea what I did for Christmas last year. We went to my brother-in-law's in mid-December, which is their family tradition and lots of fun. I think my family was supposed to have a get-together at my niece's house before Christmas, but it got cancelled due to her partner being sick. It never got rescheduled. I suggested picking a date during a nice time of year for us to all get together, but after some initial enthusiasm, that didn't happen either. It's just me, Hubby, grown son, my sister, her two adult kids and their partners, and the nephew's kids including a stepson. Very small family, all in the same city, but for some reason we don't see each other.

I remember we went to a local park the day before Christmas. It has all kinds of farm animals, so that was fun. And we went to my son's church at night. But Christmas day is a blank - we must have kept it low-key to the point of invisibility. This year, my family will probably pretend to plan something, then cancel as the date approaches. And my sister will blame all of us for everything, and insult everybody, whether we get together or not. It's what she does. Who says we don't have a family tradition? 😁

Endometrial cancer 2010, basal cell multiples, breast cancer 2018, kidney cancer 2018. Cancer's a bitch, but I'm a bigger one with more practice. Dx 5/2018, ILC/IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 1/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 7/10/2018 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Surgery 8/7/2018 Radiation Therapy 10/28/2018 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes
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Jul 24, 2019 04:07PM edwards750 wrote:

My family typically celebrates Thanksgiving together but not Christmas because there are so many in-laws now who live in different states

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Jul 24, 2019 04:14PM edwards750 wrote:

Let me add this year it will be a very difficult time for our family. My sister’s BC has metastasized to her stomach and she is currently undergoing chemo. It’s heartbreaking. She has 2 more treatments to go. She and my BIL typically come for Thanksgiving but we just don’t know what will happen at this point.

My husband’s family and mine both have Thanksgiving dinners at different times of the day and my husband’s family has a big Christmas celebration after Christmas to accommodate his large family too.

All that is on hold though. My sister is our top priority.

Diane

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Aug 8, 2019 08:39AM ctmbsikia wrote:

Best wishes to your sister Diane.

Holidays are different for our family now. My parents are gone ( Dad 2014 & Mom 2015) and that just changed the whole family dynamic as their home was the center of the family. My DH used to get angry that we spent every holiday with my family. His is a broken family full of dysfunction. One year (around 2004) he invited all of them for a holiday breakfast and that tradition went on for several years. I even blended the families together at times. As you can imagine, my holidays began at the crack of dawn and went on the entire day whether the dinner was at our house or we went out to a siblings. This all came to a halt after my parents died and then my mother in-law became delusional and we eventually had her placed in a facility after her 2nd husband passed away just last year. And of course, getting cancer in December 2017 didn't help things either.

So now, I don't have to plan anything. Last year was first time in many years that I had nothing, no one at my house. My brother usually has Thanksgiving. It's nice to finally be able to sleep in. My niece is always inviting us to her home around Christmas, and she has a little one so yeah, time to let the younger ones take over. I am more than happy to give it up although I was sad when it happened. We are trying to keep 1 breakfast going around New Years-or a brunch or lunch in January should my football team make the playoffs. That's always a holiday! They won the super bowl right after my surgery! My 1st day back to work I had to ask for the following day as vacation to attend the parade!

Dx 12/14/2017, DCIS/IDC, Left, 4cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 1/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 1/16/2018, LCIS, Right Surgery 1/30/2018 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 4/10/2018 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy 6/25/2018 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Aug 13, 2019 06:48PM edwards750 wrote:

Thank you. As of now she’s holding her own. Don’t know how long that will be. She’s such a soldier rarely complains and always asks how everyone else is doing. Sorry about your family situation. We have our share of dysfunctional members.

Diane

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