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While the holiday season is a time for us all to celebrate life and its many blessings, it can also be stressful. After decorating, baking and shopping, take time out to enjoy the season with your friends and family. I thought I'd share a few thoughts to keep in mind during the busy holiday season.
Simplify the holidays
Live in the moment
Share the hope
Celebrate the little things in life, including each day you are blessed with and the people who support and love you. Feel free to share how you are celebrating life during the holidays.
Sheryl M. Ness, R.N.
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I was diagnosed in April 2011 with stage 1 breast cancer. I had a lumpectomy and was treated with radiation. I was fine for almost 5 years. In January 2016, I was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. The lymph nodes on the chest wall were affected. I was told it was not curable,but it was treatable. I was treated with chemo capsules and due to fluid in my left lung, I was switched to infused chemo treatments in May and would be on chemo forever. I was living in fear not knowing what laid ahead.
I am a woman of faith and a couple of months ago I decided to put my full trust and faith in our Lord and let Him take the reigns in this fight. Why put myself through the stress of worrying, which was only making matters worse. I truly believe that God will take care of it all. I am in remission. Thank God! I have been in good spirits and I'm so grateful to be enjoying the holiday season with my family.
Great suggestions. I wish this had been posted several weeks ago to help with the stress that sometimes comes with the holidays.
Thank you for the post! I am an 11 year cancer survivor thanks to the Mayo Clinic! I wish all staff at your clinic a happy holiday! Thank you!
Very meaningful and encouraging words. Trying hard to live in the moment. Thanks.
CELEBRATE THE BIRTH OF CHRIST JESUS THAT'S WHAT IT IS ABOUT.
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL YOU SURVIVORS.(7 1/2 YEARS)
So very true
So true. It is hard to find joy when you are over-stressed. So take the time to do things that are meaningful to you and that make you happy. May all you survivors and your family and friends have a wonderful Christmas.
I've never commented before but this piece is beautifully written, and so true!
Merry Christmas to my fellow survivors and the Mayo Clinic.
Jeanette and all other members
Find your own way to find the peace with cancer. I also have struggled with the fear of recurrence. Don't let anyone tell you not to feel what you do, it is normal. This support group helped me so much, to hear other's voices express my worries and concerns and fear. Find what works for you to not let CANCER "win" by consuming your life even though it feels like that. Lots of good suggestions, I have used most of them as the journey has progressed.
I love all of Cheryl's suggestions, especially if you are the Mom and have always run the ship, it helps to step back and really decide what things are important and what do you do because you always have, it is freeing to let it go. My husband, who was my support rock, loved to say "pull that cancer card out and use it, nobody will argue with you" and he was right. I have not gone back to a lot of things I use to feel I had to do for holidays or other aspects of life. One of the blessings of this journey.
Latest data shows exercise help reduce the initial occurrence as well as the recurrence of cancer. Data shows it is healthy to exercise or walk even during treatment.
Dr. Susan Love spoke at the IBCPC Festival in Sarasota along with Dr. Donald McKenzie about exercise. I suggest you see if there is a Dragon Boat Team in your area and join the team. Their are Breast Cancer Survivor (BCS) teams and they are a wonderful supportive resource. I first read about them in a Mayo Clinic news letter in October 2 years ago. Since 2 of my best friend were diagnosed the same week 3 years ago - I formed the 1st team in Michigan. It is amazing to see the other BCS teams at Dragon Boat Festivals around the world. Give it a try - it is great exercise for your core (it is not upper body). More info at: http://www.ibcpc.com and they have 80 and 90 year old BCS paddling - they interviewed them in a news letter with photos ~ 1 year ago.
Check it you all the teams are listed if they registered with IBCPC (International Breast Cancer Paddlers Commission).
I'm not a survivor; however the benefits in range of motion, strength, and endurance are key to "get one's life back" and that is why I did it after meeting a BCS team in Canada I decided we had to have one!
I do not personally celebrate Christmas but found many of the comments very inspiring and "on point". They are applicable all the time - not just during the holidays. Thanks for sharing.
Jeanette: I feel for you! I had very similar treatments--took most of one whole year to get through it and then I was "cancer-free"...I was also told that there would come a day when I wouldn't think about cancer every day--true!! Three years later, the cancer came back and now it's a priority in my life again! You need to find a "rest" with it, though so it doesn't consume you! Yes, God will help you more than anything because He cares for you and what happens to you. Tell Him your fears and worries and then try to leave them with Him! It helps a lot! Accept your life as it is and be happy and live well each day, thanking God for what He has done for you. NOBODY knows what their future is beyond this moment! NOBODY knows when or how they're going to die! God only asks us to live for Him and do our best while we have life.....praying for you!
Jeannette: As you may have guessed, there is no easy answer to your question for most of us. When I completed treatment 4.5 years ago, a friend told me that I would eventually think less often of cancer, and its return, as time passed. She was right. The 5-year survival for my group was approximately 39%. I appear to be disease-free. A few of my coping strategies were psychological therapy,quilting,(i.e., an engaging hobby), volunteer work, (i.e.,helping others is helpful to us), writing in a journal to express my wishes, fears, etc. without always burdening others, and exercise. Exercise allows me to focus all my attention on the muscle set being used. Walking the dog everyday maintains my cardio-vascular system,and gets me out chatting about the weather, etc. Being grateful for the good things in our lives is uplifting too. Nevertheless, cancer has a place in our lives. I know of no way to deny it. I trust you will find your path. Take care of yourself; be kind to yourself in word and deed. All good things in the New Year.
Jeannette, trust in God, he is the only one who knows what's in store for us. I often wonder if he gets tired of hearing my voice, asking him to help me through another day, No he doesn't. Remember "if he brings it to us, he will help us get through it".I am so thankful for each day and for all my blessings. God is a wonderful friend, and he know our future. Talk to him about the fear, and he will get you through it. All of you are in my daily prayers. May GOD BLESS each and every one of you.
Sheryl, I am struggling with believing that I am cancer free. I just went through a right breast mastectomy, 7 chemo treatments 33 radiation treatments and then a CT scan showed a nodule in my right lung. The biopsy said no evidence of cancer. I also have fluid around my lung but an xray today showed it was getting better. I just feel like cancer is lurking in my body and is waiting to attack me at anytime. How do I manage this fear? What can I do to accept that I am cancer free at this point and go on with a happy feeling inside instead of fear?
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