Merry Christmas and happy holidays from Mesothelioma Guide! There are many wonderful reasons to look forward to winter holidays, such as giving and receiving gifts, spending time with family, and eating delicious meals. However, mesothelioma patients and their families have to overcome unique challenges while they celebrate.
Some people get a break from school or work for the holiday season, but mesothelioma patients don’t get a break from having cancer. Symptoms, treatments, and side effects are all obstacles that can be overcome with help from loved ones.
5 Tips for Celebrating the Holidays with Mesothelioma
Cancer can seem like a Grinch during the holiday season. If your family is celebrating with the Grinch, you may need to adjust some traditions to fully enjoy the holidays. Here are some tips for dealing with mesothelioma during the festivities:
Create New Traditions
Holidays are different with cancer. Instead of worrying about which traditions will be difficult to participate in, create new traditions that can help cope with mesothelioma. Changing the location for the holiday festivities might help a lot. Have a get together at the patient’s house if they feel more comfortable there, or have someone else host it if the patient will be too stressed having guests.
Shopping can be the most strenuous part of holiday preparations. Some stores are huge and require a lot of walking and standing. Try shopping online if you don’t feel energetic enough to shop in stores. Almost any product that can be found in a store can now be found online, often for a cheaper price. Some online retailers will even wrap your presents and ship them to your loved ones with a message from you.
Visit Family Virtually
One of the most important parts of any holiday is getting to spend time with the people we love the most. With mesothelioma, traveling can be difficult. Consider staying home and contacting your family in other ways. If your family is getting together, call them and have them pass the phone around. If possible, try video calling. A video call allows people to hear and see each other. Many services, such as Skype, can be used for free and are easy to operate.
Ask for Help
If you have mesothelioma or are a caregiver, don’t forget to ask family and friends for help when you need it. Mesothelioma can drain a patient’s energy. Ask loved ones for help with cooking, decorating, or shopping. Spread holiday responsibilities to other family members to relieve some of the burden from yourself. Consider having a potluck dinner so that no one person does all of the cooking.
Indulge in your favorite holiday foods in a way that works for you. Mesothelioma treatments may cause changes in your eating habits. Some treatments cause side effects such as poor appetite, nausea, or taste changes. You may also be avoiding certain foods to improve your health. If you are worried that you won’t enjoy some of the holiday meal, consider bringing or requesting at least one dish that you know you will be able to eat.
Reach out for Support This Holiday Season
These tips were designed to help mesothelioma patients and their families enjoy their holidays to the fullest. You may need additional support this time of year. Holidays can be emotional, especially for cancer patients. Reach out to family and friends for support if you need it.
Last year our patient advocates were surprised by the increase in calls during the holidays. Being around family and thinking about the new year causes some mesothelioma patients to think more about their condition.
Our patient advocates will be occupied by family on Christmas day but are more than willing to help you any other day of the holiday season. Call them at 1-888-385-2024.
- Coping With Cancer During the Holidays. CancerCare. Retrieved from: http://www.cancercare.org/publications/55-coping_with_cancer_during_the_holidays. Accessed: 12/20/16.
- Healthy eating over the holidays. Cancer Treatment Centers of America. Retrieved from: http://www.cancercenter.com/community/nutritional-support/healthy-eating-over-the-holidays/. Accessed: 12/20/16.
- Managing Nutrition-Related Side Effects During the Holidays. Live Your Best Life: A Colon Cancer Alliance Blog. Retrieved from: http://ccalliance.org/blog/managing-nutrition-related-side-effects-during-the-holidays/. Accessed: 12/20/16.
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