How I Handle Holidays After Breast Cancer
By Jamelle Singleton
The holiday season is among us again! This time of year is filled with food, fun and family. But for young breast cancer survivors and co-survivors, the holidays can be quite different ,especially during a pandemic!
I can’t help but to reflect on this time last year.
I spent the whole holiday season going through treatment.
On Thanksgiving, I was recovering from my double mastectomy. Then I spent Christmas and New Years in daily radiation. Going through active treatment during the holidays was hard, especially as a mom, because the stress and fatigue of treatment always seems to get the best of you. It was upsetting that I wasn’t able to be around and participate with my family like old times.
This is why It is so important to practice self care and not push yourself too hard during the holidays.
Ordering presents online and asking for help preparing food and wrapping presents are just a few ways that helped make things a little bit easier during this busy time of year. There are also some organizations that help with Christmas presents for those in active treatment, which was extremely helpful for my family.
I also want to acknowledge that the holiday season can be a sad time for those of us who have lost loved ones.
After losing my mom a few years ago, I found that carrying on family traditions, representation on the Christmas tree and cooking favorite recipes are some great ways of remembering and honoring those who are no longer with us, while also creating new memories and cherishing our loved ones that are still here.
Last year I was so disappointed that I didn’t get to enjoy the holidays. Life still has its challenges but this year I am looking back at how far I’ve come!
This year feels different. I have so much more to be thankful for. I feel like I have a second chance at life. Looking back, I realize that I had to go through everything that I did so that I can still be here today. Living life on my terms, surviving and thriving and ready to celebrate the holidays with my loved ones the way that I want to!
Wherever you are in your survivorship journey, I hope that reading this has reminded you that you are not alone. As a young breast cancer survivor this time of year can be hard for many reasons but please remember to use your resources, take some time for yourself and know that hard times don’t always last. Time is a healer, you never know where you will be at a year from now! Wishing you all a happy and healthy holiday season!