Different Kind of Christmas

HOLIDAYS!!!

Christmas and New Years are the most magical holidays of the year.  Each of us wake up on memories.  Some are filled with happiness as our childhood memories.  Our memories with our family and our close friends and others are filled with punishment as the memory of an absent person with a fight lost against the disease.

While the enjoyment is omnipresent on every face which surrounds us during this period.  It is very difficult to associate the idea of a joyful holiday with the bitterness of the lack of a loved one.

When I see all these happy people around me, I do not know where I have to put myself?   I feel very different.  I can’t feel that Joy.

Yes it’s Christmas and the only feeling I have is the painful sensation!!  The lack is present more than ever.

To those who are having a different Christmas, let’s work on the next one.

 

Heavy Burden

 

Imagine the feeling of sitting on an active bomb knowing that it can go off any minute! Yes, that is the feeling you get when your loved one is on their death bed.

Of course,

  • We want  to help but we don’t even know where to start;
  • We feel hopeless since there is nothing that can save them not even magical cures
  • We are Powerless and full of questions without answers!!  What; When; Why is it going to happen?

Witnessing  cancer taking somebody’s life  is the heaviest burden .

To all the strongest people out there, we may not prevent them from dying but hey! We sure will always help them live!

 

EVERY MONTH IS “CANCER AWARENESS MONTH”

There is no January for cervical,  March for kidney cancer,  April for testicular cancer, May for skin and brain cancer, September for childhood and gynecological cancer, October for breast cancer, etc… because I know that every day of each month there is at least one person:

  • Helping those who are going through any type of cancer, learning something about any type of cancer; or who’s encouraging them to be the fighter they really are.
  •  Admiring those who never lost hope, who kept faith that they would get better ,  and who know that even in darkness they were survivors
  •  Giving hope to those who are going through similar experience and honoring our loved taken

There is always someone who is aware that there is terrible disease out there.  That for abnormal bleeding it could be cancer, for any malignant tumor there is at least one person among doctors who think of cancer.   YES, every day of each month we are all aware that we don’t have to give up.

For that, I’m declaring that every month is CANCER AWARENESS MONTH

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Not Dead Yet 10th Anniversary.

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September 26 is going to be a successful and beautiful day for Cancer Community Center’s fight back festival.  This festival provides important funds for the Cancer Community Center and it’s takes 250 volunteers to make it happen.  If you’re interested to volunteer, feel free to sign up online at  http://cancercommunitycenter.org/fight-back-festival-volunteer-form.   All kinds of skills or interests is needed.

Here is some sampling task:

  • event set up (for you early risers!)
  • registration
  • kids’ area activities
  • help in the food area
  • crossing guards and flaggers for the bike rides
  • parking assistance
  • cheer teams along the walk/run and bike routes
  • covering water stops
  • event breakdown (for you not-so-early risers!)
  • and much, much more

Let’s support and honor those who are or were hanging on to hope through that serious illness and live the fun.

WHAT WE NEED MOST

When we take on the role of caregiver, another person’s needs become a priority.  We may begin to neglect our own emotional well-being while we are so focused on the well-being of another person.  Taking care of someone else doesn’t mean neglecting ourselves.  We won’t be helping them!  Let’s think about how we can rebuild our own emotional health to keep our loved ones in positive vibes:
  • We can begin our mornings by making the decision to maintain our happiness. Throughout the day, we can try to identify small things that we can do to bring us closer to that decision (making our happiness). I am 200% positive that reflecting happiness will be more productive for us and our loved ones.  Let’s provide ourselves with a positive reward when we have done something hard or when we reach a goal.  Instead of focusing only on our challenges or shortcomings, celebrate our successes.
  • We can start a gratefulness journal.  Each day write down something different that you feel grateful for.  It may be as simple as reading an interesting book at the chemotherapy session; or just seeing a beautiful sunrise through the window. Let’s just provide ourselves with a positive reward when we have done something hard or when you reach a goal.  Instead of focusing only on challenges, call it a celebration of our successes.
  • We can make a list of our strengths and accomplishments in life.  We can really add to the list lessons that we have learned through challenges.  Overcoming all the obstacles of getting anxious, hopeless, impatient etc…Trust me being a full time care giver can make you go from 0 to a 100 real quick 🙂
  • Identify activities that we enjoy and make them a part of our regular routine. Practice mindfulness while we are participating in those activities, focusing on just experiencing the moment. Giving ourselves permission to enjoy will surely delight our mind.

                                  Let’s just use our time in a way that will make us feel connected and good about ourselves. weebird1

GRIEF

Losing those we love is never easy,  particularly when that person plays such an important part in your life.  We start isolating ourselves and thinking that there is nothing joyful in this world; or even wanting to be just left behind.  There is no right way to grieve, and no set time for when we should be done grieving.   However, by identifying and accepting our feelings; and not being afraid to ask for help, the process can start.   Let’s try  some tips that can help all of us who are going through the process of grief:

Sharing our grieves with those we trust can help us heal.  Talking with our loved ones can help us move on.  It’s not easy to open our hearts while we don’t even know which chapter of our life we are living; but at least we can try writing for ourselves somewhere and sometimes .

In this case, we can  write in a journal.  This can be an excellent run away for your emotions because a journal is private.  You can express your feelings honestly without worrying about  other’s opinions.  I have a feeling that this way we can set our mind free more easily.

We can remember the person we have lost.  Let’s  think of ways to keep their memory alive.  There is many  ways of keeping their memories.  Making a scrapbook with pictures and stories have their values defined by us so people will remember them through you.  Some of us prefer to volunteer somewhere in memories of our  beloved etc… Anyone has his/her own way to remember.

           Let’s learn to how to adjust and live with that broken heart.

                                   

Don’t Let Tomorrow Use up Too Much of Today

Having to deal with cancer can bring up the greatest fears.  Hope is certainly not the first option the patient would like to try.  I had the chance to live with someone who had an incredible faith.  She had been able to overcome several obstacles even if being optimistic wasn’t easy.  I have come to realize that most of the patients have learned how to enrich their lives during those dark days.

And then as care-givers, we should always begin to help them live in the present rather than concentrate on what life will offer in the future.  Life would be easier focusing on making a better everyday life.  Recently, I talked to a patient who was spending every second of her life doing research on other people’s experiences and we all know that from many sources we can receive several different messages, positive or negative (bad ending) experiences are found on the internet.

“Well, this is the last thing they would like to hear and to imagine”.

So we decided to try to care about what will kindly be less heavy for her.  As she spent all her days at her computer she reacted by researching how the science of cancer work.  How each daily gesture plays a big role and she realized how much reading messages on  the internet (side effects of chemo ,metastasis, fear, anxiety, etc..) was affecting her system without her realizing it.  Cancer is different from one person to another.

I finally conclude that we don’t need to worry about the future or at least we should worry less about it.  When we have cancer or when we are assisting someone with cancer, we just need to make our today’s better.  This way we will realize that our dark days have now an open delighted window.

TOMORROW  IS WHAT WE HAVE NOW

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The Frustration that comes with the Wait

Living with cancer can be very frustrating.  It can bring many challenges.  Fear, pain, worry and stress.  I went through this situation myself for at least 3 years when I was a patient-care and I have realized that all we do is wait.  Waiting for a treatment, for a surgery, for the next plan or even waiting in the waiting room without knowing the next step.  However, we can make the experience more tolerable by looking for more information about it.

I realized that the more we know about the disease the less fear we will have which will eventually help us plan our life around the illness.  I had advice from people who had gone through this particular illness.  Doctors provided information and resources that might have made the wait understandable.

I promise, you don’t know what will happen next; but whatever happens will involve a lot of waiting.  Days will be uncertain and anxious; but being more familiar with other people in the same situation or who went through the same thing will make you grow closer to those you love.  You will even make the waiting more productive.

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