The holidays are a time to celebrate, but they can also be a time of stress as we try to create that perfect celebration. Bringing together family and friends, decorating, shopping, cooking, hosting—the list goes on!
After a lung cancer diagnosis, it’s easy to feel like you can’t keep up and that your holidays will never be the same. They can be special; just remember to take care of yourself first before taking care of the holidays.
We talked with two individuals with different relationships to lung cancer about the holidays and managing a lung cancer diagnosis. May is a lung cancer survivor, and Sylvie a lung cancer caregiver to a loved one.
Have the “Cancer Conversation” with Friends and Family
May (Patient/Survivor) - “When I was going through my journey, I found that the word ‘cancer’ had so much power. So I reclaimed the power by talking about it. The more I spoke about my diagnosis, fears, and anxiety, the less power cancer had and the more positivity and strength I found. I spoke to anyone and everyone who would listen.”
Sylvie (Caregiver) - “As a caregiver, realize that you and the person you’re caring for are walking two parallel journeys (not the same one) and they both need to be acknowledged and respected. They are complementary and each contributes to the other more than you know.”
Focus on the Present
May (Patient/Survivor) - “Throughout my journey, I have tried to only live in the present. Regardless of my diagnosis, I knew that today, the present, was the only thing guaranteed. I’m now 6 months post-diagnosis and cancer free. The future still scares me, so I choose to focus only on what is right in front of my nose.
"I have a young daughter who will be 2 in January. I hope I will be there for all her major milestones, but I will not rush to reach them with her. Instead, I will slow down each minute I have with her and my husband and live as long as I can in the present.”
To Those Feeling Isolated This Holiday Season
Sylvie (Caregiver) - “Reach out and discover there are 10-year, 20-year survivors out there, who no doctor ever talks about. They are hope incarnate and knowing them will lift you up.”
It’s the Season of Reflection as Well
May (Patient/Survivor) - “What cancer has taught me is that I am resilient. That I can endure far more than what cancer has put us through.”