My Emotional Christmas Day with Cancer

Whether you are awaiting diagnosis, newly diagnosed or are going through treatment, the holiday season seems to emphasize our vulnerability even more. For everyone else everything appears to be perfect, perfect families, perfect homes, perfect tree, perfect meal. But the truth is, as we all know, in reality life is rarely like what we see on the TV.

Last Christmas I was awaiting a Radical Cystectomy, scheduled for the 31st January. I was hoping that all the planning and preparation for the holiday season would keep my mind busy for what lay ahead.

Preparing for Christmas day

As usual the Christmas lunch was to be held at our home. Luckily I had the help of my Husband and son. Both of whom are great cooks. I ordered most of my shopping online, so at least I was in control of that.

All the gifts had been purchased earlier in the year and instead of wrapping them individually, I bought fancy gift bags and matching tissue paper to stuff the bags. The younger members of the family got "cash," they always like that. They enjoy going to the sales and choosing what they want.

I wanted everything to bigger, bolder and brighter than ever before. The tree, the decorations, the garden. I wanted it to be memorable for everyone! Giant crackers, huge table decoration, the tree and our home was decorated like never before.

The big day arrived

Christmas day arrived, I had been so eagerly awaiting this day, all the family together. But when I awoke that morning it was like a black cloud was over me. I could hear my Husband and son working away, preparing the dinner, laughing, music playing. All appeared normal, but it wasn't, not for me. I had CANCER! It hit me like a brick on my head that morning. I was suddenly terrified, angry, I felt physically sick and my head began to "whizz". I actually thought for a second I was going to pass out!

The realization

I sat back down on the bed and cried and cried. I hadn't cried like this before, ever, even when I was diagnosed with a high grade aggressive bladder tumor. But today it had finally hit me, I had cancer! What if this was to be the last Christmas I got to spend with my family. I sobbed and sobbed but then I eventually stopped and started to think.

As sure as "eggs are eggs", no one lives forever, FACT, we are all going to die one day. We just don't know how or when. Having cancer just makes you so much more vividly aware of your own mortality. And on a day like today, when all the family gathers around it's like you become hypersensitive and never want it to end.

Truth is cancer makes you very much aware that life is for living. So now every single day I count my blessings. So instead I now say thank you cancer, for making me appreciate and live my life to the full!

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