Christmas Holidays and the Breast Cancer Patient

12/02/2017 05:47 am ET

Now that the Thanksgiving holiday is over, for many of us, our thoughts turn toward Christmas and making a list of what we would like to get as gifts for our loved ones. As someone who was diagnosed with breast cancer for a second time during the holidays, I know how such a situation can become confusing for those who will spend their holidays with a loved one who is also dealing with cancer at this time of the year. Therefore, I really want to share with you a bit of insight that comes not only from my own experiences but also from those that I have known who were in a similar position.

Most importantly, we wanted to enjoy the holidays just as we have every other year. For me, that includes watching all of the holiday movies, singing along with all of the special music and enjoying the tree and all of the other decorations that fill my home. This is a very special time of the year and the last thing that most of us want is to focus on anything other than all of the traditions that we share with our family and friends over the years. So what do we want for presents? The exact same things that we always wanted any other year! Yes, that is right; this holiday is no different than any other and maybe for many it is just a bit more special than others from the past.

Women are women deep down inside. We want to spend the time with our families and friends. We want to enjoy meals together to talk and laugh and share the spirit of the holidays with those who are closest to us. We want to enjoy cooking and baking all the special things that are allocated only to the holidays. We want to get some new pajamas and slippers or maybe some of our favorite fragrances or candles or homemade goodies that were prepared by loving hearts and hands. We want anything that someone took the time to pick out just for us and is so carefully wrapped up in pretty paper and tied with ribbons and bows. But most of all, we want the love and caring and sharing that we have always enjoyed not only at this time of the year but whenever we are together.

If you find that your family member or friend is not physically able to do all the things that she normally does for the holidays, you might want to give her the biggest present of all by doing the decorating or baking her favorite Christmas cookies. Maybe she is not able to go out shopping so perhaps you can find out what she wants for her children and partner or other friends and do the shopping for her. Maybe she is undergoing chemotherapy so some special books loaded on to a reading device would be a great idea so that she can easily take them with her wherever she goes. Perhaps the Christmas meal that she usually prepares could be assembled and delivered to her home this year so that she and her family can enjoy it together.

There are so many things that you can do to make the holidays so memorable if you just think about what you would like. Christmas is never about the money but rather a time when we can give of ourselves in ways that are not available to us at other time of the year. You might want to wrap up an “I owe you” for trips to doctors’ appointments or other treatments or for some babysitting duties or grocery shopping. Perhaps you might be able to take your friend’s children to soccer practice or dance lessons. Or maybe you just might curl up next to her on a chilly afternoon and watch a movie together.

Whatever you choose to do or give to someone at the holidays will be absolutely perfect if it is given with your love. Your family member or friend will know that she was important enough and loved enough for you to find ways in which to make her holidays the best that they can be. She will know the time and the effort and energy that you have devoted to her in trying to give her a wonderful holiday season. And bottom line, these are the best Christmas presents that anyone could possibly receive, no matter the circumstances.

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