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Looking Back on a Happy Christmas... Even with Cancer

I can find Christmas a bit challenging, and I know I’m not the only one to feel that way. The last few Christmases have been hindered and made very difficult for me because of my inability to fully join in. I have often been completely exhausted at the end of the year. I've been in pain because I’m so exhausted. My legs used to hurt and I would be woken up by then in the night, so my sleep was broken, which was making me even more exhausted and going to sleep was hard because they hurt. And I would get frequent shooting pains down my skull. I would also have to go to bed early and miss out on fun family stuff or just simply not be able to fully join in even when I was awake because I didn’t have the energy.  Sitting quietly on the sofa whilst everyone around you is laughing and having fun can be a very miserable place to be.

The last Christmas Before Cancer

Feeling like this started a bit during the "last Christmas before cancer." I wasn’t right that Christmas.  I felt off, I couldn't really focus on everything and just didn't feel present.  I didn't have pain or anything like that at that point.  I was off my food, which was rather strange!  That Christmas is just a bit of a blur in my memory.  I remember needing to leave the table to go and lie down on the sofa because of not feeling 100%.  Less than a month later I was diagnosed with CML. So since then, Christmas has always been a bit bittersweet. But, this year it’s been very different!

Finally pulling my weight

I have been able to fully join in 100% of the time and even managed to do all the post-Christmas dinner washing up on Christmas Day! My bother charmingly commented on how it was a first for me to help.... I pointed out with a smile on my face that it’s the first time in a very long time that I’ve been able to. And it hasn’t been because I didn’t want to that I haven’t pulled my weight in the past.

This year, there were also two babies and a 4-year old that I was able to help out with along with everything else, which was so wonderful!

It’s been a very full on Christmas with 6 days of family, some of the family does not speak much English because they are Mexican, and for the first time, on the 28th December it was lunchtime and I was not yet dressed! Normally, this is how my Christmas holiday always is. Normally, because I haven’t been up for long and everything took so much effort. This year, I’ve had around 9 to 9 and a half hours sleep each night, and yes, I’m a bit tired. But, I’ve managed!! And I haven’t cried as much as normal either!!  In fact, I've only slightly cried twice which I think is a new record for the least tears at Christmas for me in around 11 years!

For the last decade, I have struggled a lot with Christmas. Because I haven’t been how I have wanted to be. And I’ve seen the impact that has had on my family. But this year was truly a wonderful Christmas. And I hope this is how my life is now going to be.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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