Holidays are traditionally viewed as a time to celebrate, but when you are dealing with cancer, treatment, and side effects of that treatment, you may not have the energy or the “heart” to celebrate the season. Your focus may be finding the balance of taking care of yourself and connecting with family and friends. Holiday traditions may be a priority, but try to be creative to get the most out of your personal and emotional energy. Have someone else host that important meal, or make it a potluck. Writing notes can be cathartic and part of your typical tradition, but phone calls, video calls, or texts may be a different route to consider. Sharing your thoughts and feelings through that call or text can be your best gift this year!
Every invitation does not have to be accepted; pace yourself to enjoy the moments that are most significant to you. You do have the power to talk to your healthcare team if flexibility is needed to accommodate travel or a special event. Do not hesitate to ask!
Most importantly, as a new year arrives, celebrate the strengths you have discovered over the past year, reflect on the new knowledge or life lessons gained, and step into the new year embracing the opportunities that will provide support to go forward.
Best wishes for a peaceful 2024 and the confidence to face the new day called tomorrow.
Sharon S. Gentry, MSN, RN, HON-ONN-CG, AOCN, CBCN, is an oncology healthcare provider with over 40 years of oncology care experience, the Program Director of the Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators (AONN+), and a champion of people living with cancer.