My mother lives with lymphoma and my mother-in-law lives with multiple sclerosis. My son considers them his heroes, for they are strong women who do not let their illnesses defeat them. I, too, find them courageous and greatly respect them.
Here is content from the Lymphoma Research Foundation‘s page on Coping with Lymphoma During the Holidays. Much of the advice applies to those living with any chronic or life-threatening illness over the holidays.
Coping with Lymphoma During the Holidays
Time with friends and family, dinner parties, rushing through the store for last minute gifts and reflecting on the past year all represent activities characteristic of the holiday season. Whether you were recently diagnosed or are a long-term survivor, lymphoma can change these seemingly “normal” activities forever. The stress that sometimes surrounds the holiday season can put added pressure on people. The act of of trying tofeel and display joy can be overwhelming.
When the Holidays Do Not Feel So Happy
Some may experience changes in relationships, life perspective and physical ability. Regardless of whether we perceive change to be positive or negative, it still takes time and effort to integrate the “new normal” into our lives. If you were diagnosed shortly before the holiday season began, you may feel angry that this disease came into your life now. If you are a long-term survivor, you may be balancing a feeling of gratitude that you are able to celebrate the holidays with that looming fear of relapse or secondary cancers that many survivors say never really goes away.
If the added pressure of feeling happy is stressful for you, it might be an opportunity for you to reflect on what feels most chaotic, sad or disappointing, or angry to you about your lymphoma diagnosis. Your perception is more important to understand than the reality. That is to say that everyone’s experience is unique and your response to a diagnosis, recurrence or dealing with illness during the holidays is influenced by your own coping style and previous life experiences.
LRF offers a wide range of support services, educational programs and free publications for those impacted by a lymphoma diagnosis to stay educated and informed. Whether you are newly diagnosed, want detailed information about your lymphoma subtype, are looking for ongoing support, or seeking help with survivorship, LRF is here to help. Please contact the LRF Helpline toll free at (800) 500-9976 for more information.
Helping Your Loved One Through the Holidays
When someone you love has lymphoma, your life changes, too. Pause a moment and make sure you are taking care of yourself. It is important to gauge your emotions during the holiday season and ask yourself what affects you, either positively or negatively, about their lymphoma diagnosis. Even if you are not able to change anything, acknowledging your emotions may begin to help you feel less burdened.
Here are some ways you might be able to help:
- Let your loved one know that you are always there for them as a way to provide extra support, even if they do not feel like talking now
- Offer to run errands or go to doctor appointments
- Make phone calls or research information on their behalf
Our tendency as humans is to want to “make it all better.” In the case of lymphoma, we do not possess the ability to cure the disease or wipe away the pain for our loved one. Instead of responding with overused comments of “it’ll all be okay” or “at least it’s not . . .” or “my Aunt Betty had that and she’s fine now . . .”, try responding with an open-minded question, such as “Wow, it sounds like you’re having a tough time. What feels the toughest to you at the moment?” Asking questions allows the person to more freely share their emotions and it tells them you are comfortable listening to the reality of what they might be feeling, as opposed to what they feel they are supposed to say.
Remember that everyone’s experience is unique and that while you cannot make everything all better, your presence and willingness to truly listen can help your loved one feel cared for and stimulate future discussions- a gift not everyone receives this time of year.
For more information from LRF about additional programs and services for the lymphoma community please click here.
[…] My mother and I share personality characteristics. As a mother, as a mother struggling with a chronic illness, I feel compassion. When I was a teen and a young adult, I was brutal in my disdain for her. […]
I cannot take the credit. He is his own young man. Thank you, nonetheless.
This is a wonderful post and it could apply to anyone with any serious illness but is great for anyone with Lymphoma. You always find such educational information. And how wonderful that you have raised your son to see these two relatives as heroes. Those are your good values instilled in him. Kudos to you, Kitt!
Not that I am aware of. She sees a neurologist who would be aware of the effects of supplements.
From my own experience, I do know that fish oil causes bleeding, as I am a “bleeder” now. Fish oil without a doubt thins the blood and interferes with coagulation.
Does she take fish oil supplements? Those can cause lesions.
Thank you for such an uplifting response. You are truly learned how to enjoy the best and let go of the rest.
My mother-in-law and I eat do not eat much processed food. Our illnesses were not caused by what we eat. Still, I take fish oil supplements and have reduced high FODMAP carbohydrates from my diet.
Great information here Kitt! Be strong and you have raised your son very well that he considers and respects his grandmothers as his hero! Hugs & kudos..
you always post such great advice.
I used to have such a hard time during the holidays.
not being able to do like I used to. not being able to handle the parties and everything.
now, I try to remember to enjoy the holiday through my friends and loved ones. I’m so happy for them as they get together. I do not fee left out, I feel the warmth and love they are feeling. So happy they can do this. yes, this takes practice, and sometimes it does get to me…but most of the time, I am happy, with just me and my hubby and my furry babies. When I can get my husband to join in festivities without me I am so very happy. I can feel happiness that he is able to do these things….and feel love that he is loved. I know I am not forgotten. I know I am loved. I’m grateful that I am able to love and feel happiness. (now some I do feel have forgotten me, that makes me sad….but that is also ok…a time for a new season in life.)
Could you and your mother-in-law read my blog? It outlines the cause of sclerosis which is lysolecithin and is in our processed foods and products. Have you tried eliminating all processed foods and products to stop your bipolar disorder? The toxins in the foods clearly affect the brain. http://jesusdiedandlives.wordpress.com Praying she has no more relapses from now on out!
Thank you, Marie! God bless you.
Thank you. Well put. Love your writing.
Yes. He’s very perceptive and loves and respects his grandparents.
You are welcome, Robert. Thank you.
This is why l so appreciate my e-family, you are not alone. Reading, liking or commenting on posts like these equally reflect listening. Thx for sharing and all the best!
Hugs for you, strength for your mothers, respect for your son.
As much as you feel grateful as a healthy person, things like this out everything in perspective… Thanks for sharing!
It is wonderful that your son recognizes the hero’s in his life!
This is solid advice for so many problems. Thank you for posting it.