Enjoy! … the PinkWellChick holiday survival guide (read early and often!)

21 Nov

Pink Ink…

I’m back…

Celebrate

It seems like it was just yesterday that I was finishing up 31 days of pink!  But here we are, prepping for Thanksgiving!  For so many, it ‘s a time for family and friends to gather, give thanks, and reflect on the past year.  But what happens if you are dealing with cancer or recovering from a stroke, heart attack, or frankly, a “life issue”?  The holidays can seem overwhelming.  This I know is true, as last year, I was right in the middle of chemo.  That meant I was nauseous.  That meant that the SMELLS from Thanksgiving food made me even more nauseous.  That meant I couldn’t hug people, due to my compromised immune system.  That meant I was tired. Yet, I had family who wanted to visit.  Frankly, we needed the help.  What I learned from that experience was the “patient” can do a few things to make it a more pleasant experience.  There is no reason not to partake in Holiday Happiness.

Tips for surviving the Holidays:

  • Set Boundaries:  Don’t let any one else determine what you can and cannot do.  If you feel tired…REST.  If you can’t wait until dinner to eat…DON’T wait! EAT!  If you need people to get a flu shot before they come visit, INSIST they get one. There are always Walgreens, CVS, and Duane Reade stores open!
  • Delegate: When going through treatment or recovering from treatment, you are not at your best.  While it may seem natural to want to “be in control”, especially if people are visiting, it is imperative to healing that you give up some tasks.  Don’t be afraid to hand off cooking the turkey or running to the store at 10pm on Christmas for some more butter!  I’ve found that people always want something to do.   Try making a list before your guests arrive.  This will cut down on some confusion.
  • Embrace your situation:  Don’t apologize for “inconveniencing” people. Most likely, they are just thrilled to be with you.  If they aren’t, kick them out! Ha!  Last year I spent Christmas in the hospital.  My daughter made me a video of her singing Christmas carols and opening gifts.  I videoed a message back to her.  If you are bald, and don’t want a holiday picture with a bad wig, have your family decorate Christmas hats, and all wear them in the shot! It is tough not to mourn old traditions.  Try to create new traditions. Or bring humor to the situation.   Trust me. It works.  Last year, as everyone went around the table very seriously expressing thanks for finding my cancer early, I said that I was thankful for…ZOPHRAN!  That’s the drug that helps with nausea.  My family paused…then cracked up. After that we laughed until I had to go lie down.
  • Shop from home:  These days, almost anything can show up at your front door.  Order your groceries, Thanksgiving or Holiday meals, gifts, and flowers all from your computer.  This is the perfect way to avoid crowds, and protect your immune system.
  • Give Differently:  I read this piece of advice in a few magazines at the hospital. Having medical bills can make the Holiday gift-giving season tough.  Don’t feel guilty about not being able to be a crazy consumer!  Set a gift-giving limit. Or play the white elephant game where everyone brings a gift of equal value to put in a pile.  Everyone gets a chance to either pull a new gift or take someone else’s.  Another idea?  Give the gift of words!  So often we don’t honor people while they are living!  Have everyone …even the kids…write a letter expressing what they love about their family!

When you are sick or a family member is sick, it can be a challenge to embrace the holidays.  Take the time to figure out what is important to YOU!  Let others follow YOUR lead!

Whatever you do…ENJOY!

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