I think I had my hopes too high when it came to Christmas this year. I knew it had to be better than last year. Last year was the worst. Actually, Christmas day wasn’t bad, it was a couple days after Christmas which made it the worst ever in my life. I knew if it was in my power to have a better Christmas this year, I would do it, but then it came down to doing it. I feel like I flopped miserably.
First, let me explain, the reason I think I held my hopes, expectations too high. The past year and half has been to say the least, the most stressful and jammed pack full of change, more than any other time in my life and I wanted this Christmas to be something special.
I went from denying I had a health problem, to finally admitting the possibility, to being diagnosed with breast cancer, to having a mastectomy, to more lymph nodes being removed to taking chemo, having a bad reaction to chemo just a couple days after Christmas, to canceling chemo and saying ‘no’ to radiation treatments, to putting a stop to breast reconstruction and having the expander removed, returning to full time work, then house hunting and finally buying our first house then moving in and going through some minor and not so minor maintenance issues. All of this while trying to help my daughter find a way to live with her hormonal and severe cramping and nausea each month, missing school because of it and dealing with one teacher who seems nice but has poor teacher organization and student assignment tracking skills when dealing with students who are absent. If this was a problem with my daughter, I would see problems with all her teachers but that isn’t the case.
Now, here I am Christmas day, feeling a failure in some ways because gift giving was very unorthodox this year. Nothing was a surprise and believe it or not, we didn’t have any gifts to unwrap. Christmas shopping was the two of us just going around and picking out things we wanted and then sitting down online to buy a few things as well. Consequently, we had no wrapped presents under the tree. It felt odd but in some ways nice because we focused on spending time with each other instead of giving gifts, having mounds of stuff which we wrap the night before to only tear off the wrapping the next day and throw it in the garbage. So in some ways, I feel like we have done our part for mother earth by reducing the amount of trash we used to produce on Christmas Day.
I did end up with a really super great meal. Not the traditional Turkey or Ham or whatever. I tried a new recipe. We had pork chops with potatoes and carrots and onion all cooked in a broth which came out the best I’ve ever made and my daughter loved it too. We have lots left over and I know it will taste just as good.
I will admit, our first Christmas in our new home was nothing like I had expected. It wasn’t our traditional Christmas either. We didn’t buy anything new for decorating the house. I had a set of lights I bought last year and never used, so those were new in the aspect of our first time decorating outside. Usually, we buy at least one new ornament each year but we didn’t even do that. We did however find a nice spot in our new house to put the tree. And so far our dog and cat haven’t tried to play with any of the dangling ornaments. All of this has given me ideas for next year and in fact at least one of those ideas may include making a few ornaments by hand.
I’m not completely disappointed. I am thankful I have gone one year without cancer and that we have our own home, and that we may have found what my daughter needs to ease her god awful female monthly experiences to where she may not miss any more school.
My energy levels still fluctuate irregularly without warning, which holiday stress or maybe it has just been this year and half of stress which made it worse now here at Christmas. I can try and plan for activities but then I can have that schedule thrown completely out the door due to sudden drops in my energy levels. I can feel depressed without any given reason, which is something I often had to deal with around the major holidays but to be honest it happens at other times too. I sometimes have to fight the onslaught of anxiety over normal things I deal with every day which give me no anxiety on a normal day. Most times this signals my progesterone levels are getting too low. I still find myself afraid and know that fear will be with me for the rest of my life just because it is what it is after being diagnosed with cancer and being a single mother of a daughter who has no family other than me. Let me clarify that. No family living close enough for her to rely on if she ever needed them.
Don’t get me wrong. We have a good life. Just this past year and half has been so full of change it boggles my mind and sometimes I wonder how I ever made it through it all. This year will soon be over. I don’t look forward to the new year like I used to. My perspective on life has changed. When the new year arrives, I’m glad to still be alive and grateful I am still able to take care of my daughter. That is all I want in this world. Whatever it takes for me to be able to care for her. I have no desire for anything else.