a woman sitting amongst presents under a Christmas tree

A Cancer-Free Christmas Celebration

Christmas was a huge deal the year we found out that Crystal was done with chemo and was most likely cancer-free. She had come home that May after she was diagnosed and it had been a rough six months. There were doctor visits, blood work, emergency scares, and lots of worrying. There were many times she couldn’t eat or even get out of bed. It had been a nightmare, but now all of that had finally paid off. Chemo was done and Crystal was cancer-free! She still had to go back in 3 months for tests to be sure, but we were all feeling optimistic. This was going to be a wonderful Christmas! We had a lot to celebrate!!

Let the celebrations begin!

To plan for the big day, I started shopping, and shopping, and continued shopping. I spent way more than I should have on food and presents, but we had so much to be happy about and I wanted this Christmas to be special. My husband and I had our whole family with us, all three of our daughters, son, and grandchildren - and Crystal was done with treatments! Although she was still a little bit tired, she was feeling well and was starting to regain her strength. We knew she would be leaving soon to go back home and back to her job and life, but she was still here now and that was a gift all in itself. We wanted to make this holiday a very special one for her. Although she was now a cancer survivor, she was a cancer survivor. We wanted to celebrate.

Bringing back family traditions

When my children were young, we had a tradition. They were allowed to open one present on Christmas Eve. It was always pajamas, but they got excited every year anyway. The new pajamas allowed me to take nice pictures in the morning and get them in bed quickly for the arrival of Santa. This year, all my daughters stayed over and we again opened pajamas for Christmas Eve. That night and Christmas morning, we were able to get some great shots.

Having my family with me and having them all in good health was such a blessing and definitely the best reason to celebrate - and celebrate we did! We were surrounded by gifts, good food, and most importantly our family. It was a wonderful day! I know not everyone gets to experience this and I didn’t take it for granted. It was one of our best holidays and we were all very grateful to be together.

Gifts are nice but family is better

What I learned that year is, gifts are nice, but having family around is the best feeling ever. I think it helped Crystal too. When she was 18, she joined the Airforce and most of her Christmases since then were spent by herself. But this year, she got to have a Christmas surrounded by all the people that love her. We were all happy to celebrate and share her newfound health. All the presents from that year have been forgotten, but having family around and sharing in the best news ever will always be remembered!

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