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Topic: Need feedback on how to navigate holiday social events

Forum: All things COVID-19 or coronavirus —

A place to discuss the impact of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) on you and the ones you love.

Posted on: Aug 28, 2020 10:26AM

Moderators wrote:

Hey All,

Can you tell us how you are you feeling about the upcoming holiday season considering the persisting limitations posted by COVID-19? Are you struggling with whether or not you should be visiting with family during the holidays?

Our editorial team is developing an article about what's on our community members' minds as the holidays approach.

We'd love to hear your thoughts and insights!

Thank you!

The Mods

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Aug 28, 2020 10:40AM moth wrote:

As an immumocompromised person I'm continuing to avoid indoor gatherings with anyone not in my quarantine bubble. Two guests visiting outdoors on a spacious deck with 2m+ distancing is what we have done to date and that's the plan for any holidays, esp as the actice case numbers have risen a bit since phase 2 opening. I am particularly concerned about asymptomatic carriers.

I expect the cooler weather and school opening to further drive case numbers up. Canadian thanksgiving comes early so our American friends can see how it goes for all of us here
Seriously???? “Sometimes the future changes quickly and completely and we’re left with only the choice of what to do next." nevertellmetheodds2017.tumblr.... Dx 12/2017, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 12/12/2017 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Chemotherapy 2/13/2018 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy 8/13/2018 Whole-breast: Breast Dx 2/2020, IDC, Stage IV, metastasized to liver/lungs, Grade 3, ER-/PR-, HER2- Chemotherapy 3/18/2020 Taxol (paclitaxel) Immunotherapy 3/18/2020 Tecentriq (atezolizumab)
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Aug 28, 2020 11:07AM ctmbsikia wrote:

I'm already dreading the holidays, and yes covid restrictions just piles it on top. I think many traditions will be broken this year. Should my younger brother decide to have Thanksgiving as he always does, I may go. But, if it's going to be a house full, I may not. He's all over the covid though. My sister in law is food service director for a retirement home for nuns so they have been practically living in a bubble. I haven't seen them in months. I'm not sure at this time what they will decide to do.

I'm leaving town the day after Christmas, rented a beach house and staying the week with my kids, maybe a few guests but no more than 4. It will be like I'm moving. Part of the regulations in that state say I need to bring all my own linens, pillows, blankets, or for an extra fee there's a service in town that would do it.

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 28, 2020 12:59PM Betrayal wrote:

As much as I would like to celebrate Thanksgiving with my children and grandchildren, it probably will not happen this year. My DS usually sponsors Thanksgiving for the entire family with everyone bringing an assigned dish or two and we have designated Christmas days (between his in-laws and us) which most likely won't happen either. I am at higher risk due to age, AI I am taking, plus RA meds which lower my immunity. My grandchildren are in the age groups where they are considered to be possible asymptomatic carriers. So I see them from a distance but miss their hugs and kisses tremendously.

The year I was diagnosed was the last year I could bring myself to go all out with decorating for Christmas which had been my favorite holiday. Now I find December to be anxiety producing due to BC and the death of my Dad years before (from which I had recovered). The BC diagnosis was several days before Christmas, cruelly delivered and I am unable to not relive the traumas I suffered then. Yes, I did seek professional help and it was not helpful. So the best I can do is try to avoid the triggers and I was enjoying the decorations at others homes. We do luminarias in the neighborhood so I do enjoy doing that and taking a ride to see all the participating neighbors homes.

It's sad because I do not know how many years I have left and that is the worm niggling in my brain.

Surgery 2/1/2016 Lumpectomy: Left Surgery 2/1/2016 Lymph node removal: Sentinel Surgery 3/4/2016 Lumpectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 3/31/2016 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy 6/25/2016 Arimidex (anastrozole) Hormonal Therapy 5/19/2017 Femara (letrozole) Hormonal Therapy 6/16/2020 Aromasin (exemestane)
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Aug 28, 2020 04:01PM MountainMia wrote:

I'm not struggling as honestly I haven't thought about it at all. I was diagnosed and treated in 2019. The holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas) were super important to me then, but were a pretty mixed bag as to how they actually turned out. Ultimately they brought far more grief than happiness, though there was some of that, too. This year I have even fewer expectations than I usually do about them, other than I expect if we see anyone in person at all, it might be our nearby daughter and maybe her 2 kids.


The rain comes and the rain goes, but the mountain remains. I am the mountain.
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Aug 28, 2020 05:52PM nopink2019 wrote:

  • Grew up in small family and never had kids so holidays were mostly at someone else's house. I just brought food and gifts and showed up. Holidays have always been afterthought or pain in the butt to me anyway. Don't plan on leaving my bubble until COVID is under control. There are so many things that I used to do and can't now due to extreme fatigue and/or COVID (ski, hike, camp, travel, lift weights, host parties for 20). Holiday celebrations are WAY down on my list of things I'm not doing.
Dx 2008, IDC, Stage IA, Grade 3, ER+/PR-, HER2- Dx 2019, Stage IV, metastasized to bone/liver/lungs, ER+/PR-, HER2- Hormonal Therapy Faslodex (fulvestrant) Targeted Therapy Kisqali
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Aug 29, 2020 03:46PM bcincolorado wrote:

We used to have a huge get together with family (about 14 of us) but since husband is a transplant patient this year imagine we'll be home and see no one like always it seems. Depressing since we only get see some of them once or twice a year anyway.

Dx 8/2009, IDC, Left, 5cm, Stage IIA, Grade 1, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 1/7/2010 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Left Hormonal Therapy 1/15/2010 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Hormonal Therapy 1/30/2016 Femara (letrozole)
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Aug 29, 2020 04:27PM - edited Aug 29, 2020 11:09PM by MinusTwo

I will not leave my "bubble" either. The one BFF that I always celebrated with died 15 years ago. And the one SIL I used to celebrate with is also gone - so no big Christmas gatherings in quite some time. My son always works over the holidays and they live several states away so we rarely get together at holidays. Not to mention that they are vegetarians so no turkeys in sight.

They don't have children and they recently bought a house, so I'll send them gift cards to places that will be useful - like Home Depot & Costco & Total Wine. I agreed with my three nieces and nephews a couple of years ago - no presents. I only send small presents for the kids to open. We all have too much stuff anyway. Otherwise each family gets one edible gift - like oranges or pears or sourdough bread or pecan nuts. I've been spending holidays alone for a long time and that's OK with me. People call that I haven't visited with in awhile & I can dive into a book I've held back. I'm not at all lonely, although I miss the plethora of different foods that large gatherings provide.

Interesting note - one of my best birthdays was when no one could join me. (maybe 40??) I cooked a pork roast (when they used to have fat on them) and had a wonderful time eating right off the entire roast on my plate.

Are any of our lives like we all supposed it would turn out when we were little & dreaming of the future? No, who ever suspected breast cancer?? But life's been rich many different ways.

2/15/11 BMX-DCIS 2SNB clear-TEs; 9/15/11-410gummies; 3/20/13 recurrance-5.5cm,mets to lymphs, Stage IIIB IDC ER/PRneg,HER2+; TCH/Perjeta/Neulasta x6; ALND 9/24/13 1/18 nodes 4.5cm; AC chemo 10/30/13 x3; herceptin again; Rads Feb2014
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Aug 30, 2020 02:50AM Super66 wrote:

2020 holiday season is a wonderful time for all of us immunocompromised lovelies to celebrate in our home bubble and with our family virtually. Unfortunately with cancer and all the fun it is and all that it’s done plus I also have lupus so I’m a bonus I’m not going anywhere. It is hopefully one year and being cautious and protective of our beautiful selves during this time in our world of strife will protect and keep us around for future holidays!! What are we fighting for if not a future

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Aug 30, 2020 05:22PM Simsarama22 wrote:

I’m definitely concerned about the holidays. For some family Lowe have a system where everyone gets tested, then quarantines and then gathers so we minimize possible COVID-19 risk of infection. For any travel, I check my blood work and message my doctors (both oncology and palliative care) to see if I’m ok to see others. Lately my white blood count is fine, just RDW is a little high and platelets are low so they don’t see an issue. They say it’s fine if I can maintain distance.

This brings up my other family members, who aren’t taking the virus seriously and claim they are being careful when I ask so we will visit, but I find out they aren’t wearing masks, distancing, or really believe the health officials about the risks. While I feel bad my children can’t have the holiday celebrations full of tons of family that I had, I can’t take that kind of risk so as long as there’s no vaccine, we will be staying away from them.

While I can be honest with the family that is honest with me and willing to take all precautions, for the others, I just don’t bring up holidays or change the subject. When it gets closer, as with birthdays over the summer, I’ll just tell them I can’t take the risk with my health and offer to set up a video call.

Acceptance is key in all this. In the past, this would have really upset me, especially when it involved my mom (who is part of the second family group I mentioned). Now, I’ve learned to accept them all for who they are, love them anyway, but prioritize myself and my children no matter what. I’m reading this book, Untamed, and she says that it’s more important to make sure you aren’t disappointing yourself than avoid disappointing others at your expense. After 43 years, I’ve finally gotten there (or at least have started to...the holidays will be a great test of putting myself first)

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Aug 30, 2020 09:22PM illimae wrote:

It’s just DH and me and we aren’t big on holidays but when we do have a gathering it’s usually limited to a few couples. This year we may celebrate with one or two couples but only if they’ve been living cautiously themselves.

Diagnosed at 41 Stage IV De Novo Dx 11/16/2016, IDC, Left, 5cm, Stage IV, metastasized to bone, Grade 3, 3/13 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2+ (IHC) Targeted Therapy 1/1/2017 Perjeta (pertuzumab) Chemotherapy 1/2/2017 Abraxane (albumin-bound or nab-paclitaxel) Targeted Therapy 1/2/2017 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Surgery 6/26/2017 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary Radiation Therapy 8/10/2017 Breast, Lymph nodes Dx 10/5/2017, IDC, Left, 5cm, Stage IV, metastasized to brain, Grade 3, 3/13 nodes, ER+, HER2+ (IHC) Radiation Therapy 10/19/2017 External: Brain Radiation Therapy 4/18/2018 External: Brain Radiation Therapy 5/23/2019 External: Brain Surgery 1/22/2020 Radiation Therapy 2/16/2020 External: Brain Radiation Therapy 7/20/2020 External: Bone Targeted Therapy Tukysa (tucatinib) Chemotherapy Xeloda (capecitabine) Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Aug 31, 2020 12:43AM - edited Aug 31, 2020 12:44AM by AliceBastable

My husband's huge family has had their big annual get-together on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend, usually a fish fry, occasionally a barbeque if no-one has gone fishing. It's always a lot of fun, and this will be our first year of not having one in decades. We used to do Thanksgiving at different houses each year, but the family got too large for an indoor-only event. Hubby's siblings & partners have an early Christmas each year, but it probably won't happen this year. It's a shame since we're all getting older, about half in our 70s now.

My family consists of me, Hubby, our grown son, my sister, her two grown kids and their partners and the children of one of them. Eight adults and two or three kids, depending on custody arrangements. Somehow, we haven't been able to get together anytime between Thanksgiving and New Years, although we all live within about ten miles of each other. Apparently it's just too HAAAARRD for them. I haven't seen my sister in two years and the others in about two and a half. The last two years, Hubby, son, and I did a picnic on Thanksgiving, and had a nice, quiet, low-key Christmas at home. We've made our own new traditions.

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 10/29/2018 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes
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Sep 1, 2020 05:58PM - edited Sep 1, 2020 06:03PM by Seilien

i have a social obligation to be at all holidays as i am the only reason my family and my in laws choose to get together. I've been sick for the last few years so I am sure the same joke that all major holidays is supposed to be pass to the eldest sons family (my husband) will be made and someone will make a off handed joke about why we can't. I will say because I don't want that responsibility and my brotherinlaw will say it is due to the cancer. I honestly dread the holidays, my family and my in laws are just the worst and they can't read the room( racial difference). I will probably lock myself in a room until its time to eat and go home. People constantly come and see me right now because I'm sick so i don't think I'll mind in a few months. Everyone wears masks everywhere here

Dx 7/30/2018, Right, Stage IV, metastasized to brain, ER+/PR-, HER2+ Radiation Therapy 6/1/2019 Whole-breast: Breast, Brain Surgery 11/22/2019 Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 7/28/2020 Xeloda (capecitabine) Surgery 8/28/2020 Reconstruction (left)
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Sep 13, 2020 08:23PM 2019whatayear wrote:

It will just be me, the hubs and our 3 kids. I'm already planning how to do my shopping and baking so we can do contactless drop offs for local family and friends and mailing of packages to far away family. I have always loved the holiday season and this year I'm going to savor it and enjoy it even though it can't be what I imagined for my first post cancer treatment fall/winter.

IDC 2 cm micromets 1 node 8 more removed. BMX 6/24, A/C then Taxol 7/25, 25 rads 1/6/2020 No reconstruction BRCA2 - BSO 2/19 all clear/ starting AI on 3/1/2020
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Sep 15, 2020 08:33PM Cloudygarden wrote:

I am looking forward to the holidays. I plan to spend them with our small family group in our social distancing bubble, our son, daughter-in-law, and two year old granddaughter. We will spend time at our house & their house, cooking turkey & holiday recipes, watching fun cheerful movies, and taking long walks. We plan to drop off food donations to our local food bank and homeless shelter. We miss our extended family & church but will continue to stay safe. We will Face Time & talk to family on the phone. I am pen pals with my sisters & grandkids which is fun! I also plan to count my many blessings including being a breast cancer survivor since 1999, including two relapses. Take care, stay safe! Hugs & regards to all my BC sisters.

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Sep 17, 2020 09:59AM JTRN wrote:

I have stage 4 breast cancer metastasized to the bones, it's a terminal diagnosis. As a registered nurse I fully understand the risks associated with COVID, I know statistically if I get infected I'm likely to not survive. However, I have a 2 yr old and a 5yr old and I want them to have as normal a life as possible, and it's especially important to me that we make as many happy memories as possible while I'm here with them. We will likely not travel to visit our family but instead just have my parents stay with us and visit the few friends we have kept within our social circle. We will be sure to participate in outdoor activities, like parades and, if not cancelled, our outdoor Christmas village. It won't be the same as a big family holiday celebration down south but it will be fun, and most importantly it will be safer for us. And thankfully we will be able to video chat with family and friends far away.

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Sep 17, 2020 11:00AM moth wrote:

Hi JTRN, since it's your 1st post just wanted to quickly welcome you to the boards. Sorry to hear about your st4 dx. Come visit with us on the stage 4 subforums. There's an active bone mets thread.

Your holiday plans sound great

Seriously???? “Sometimes the future changes quickly and completely and we’re left with only the choice of what to do next." nevertellmetheodds2017.tumblr.... Dx 12/2017, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 12/12/2017 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Chemotherapy 2/13/2018 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy 8/13/2018 Whole-breast: Breast Dx 2/2020, IDC, Stage IV, metastasized to liver/lungs, Grade 3, ER-/PR-, HER2- Chemotherapy 3/18/2020 Taxol (paclitaxel) Immunotherapy 3/18/2020 Tecentriq (atezolizumab)
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Sep 19, 2020 09:03AM SarahSmilesatMe wrote:

I think I have a Thanksgiving plan. There are 7 of us... daughter and son-in-law are in public service jobs so they are constantly exposed to COVID. Grandkids are 6 and 13. We’re going to plan a “first Thanksgiving” outdoor lunch. Since it will be weather dependent, it may not actually be on Thanksgiving Day, but, oh well. (We normally have Thanksgiving dinner, but since it’ll be outside, temps will be warmer at lunch time). I’m thinking large, outdoor, portable tables decorated with pilgrim hats, corn, and maybe hand warmers (we’re in VA, so it may be warm or cold!). Turkey already sliced and any hot vegetables in a thermos or two. (I’ll figure something out). Plan B is Thanksgiving in the garage with the garage door open, chairs spaced appropriately, a portable heater, and balancing your plate on your lap.

Christmas is harder. DH and I will skip the daughter’s large, combined family Christmas Eve party. We usually go to their house on Christmas morning to see what Santa left and to have breakfast. I love that but will probably miss it. Christmas dinner (usually at our house) may be a garage event also with the door open. May be the first time ever I “decorate” the garage a bit. I just don’t know...

Dx 6/2019, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/6 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- (FISH)
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Sep 19, 2020 11:52AM Nsbrown54 wrote:

Thanksgiving is the big get together for our immediate and extended family. Unfortunately, with cancer, chemo and covid, my husband and I will just do a simple holiday alone. I’ll order a cooked turkey and fixings from our local grocery. We’ll probably video chat with family. It won’t be the same but it’s best to be safe.

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Sep 19, 2020 12:21PM Moderators wrote:

How difficult these times are for so many. Fabulous that we have technology to help keep us together.

To send a Private Message to the Mods: community.breastcancer.org/mem...
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Sep 19, 2020 03:39PM flashlight wrote:

We are going to celebrate the holidays, the same as last year, with just our immediate family. We hope to have some sense of normality especially for my grandson. I always host and look forward to having a simple celebration with my family.

Dx 11/15/2018, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- Dx DCIS, Left, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Radiation Therapy Surgery Lumpectomy: Left

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