A Field Guide for navigating Christmas

My heart is grateful.  Yes, I have cancer.  And I’m getting chemo.  But Christmas is still awesome.  Santa is still coming.  šŸ™‚  Still, Jesus was born.  And God is on His throne in heaven.  He is worthy of our trust despite these challenging bumps in the road.  He makes us strong when we are weak.  He provides just what is needed.  Even when that isn’t what it seems like. 

So, when the dog bites, the bee stings, the Scotch tape gets all stuck together, the piece of wrapping paper you cut is too small, your kids are being jagoffs and don’t appreciate anything, the phone will not quit ringing, you burn the turkey, someone else gives your kid the gift you couldn’t wait to give him (oh, no she did NOT!) you forgot the asparagus (that’s a real thing I did) Aunt Martha says something rude about your daughter’s hair, Uncle John has had too much egg nog.  You spill wine on your white shirt, that stupid inflatable snowman will NOT cooperate, someone points out you’ve put on a few pounds.  You’ve run out of money, you’ve run out of breadcrumbs, gas and baby wipes and you’re about to run out of patience…we’ve all been there.  
Breathe.  Acknowledge the frustration.  Notice if you can improve the situation or if it’s outside your control. Fix it if you can.  If not, let it go, move on.  Now stop.  Look around the room until you begin to see the good: your kids enjoying each other and sharing toys.  A hard working hostess flawlessly serving her guests, a gift given out of love and generosity.  New love.  Old love.  Delicious cookies. A teenager helping his grandmother.  Warm glow from the fireplace.  Togetherness despite our differences.   
So, quit your bitchin’.  Look for the good.  It’s right in front of you, Silly.  God is on His throne.  You are blessed.  And you are loved.  

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Getting things done around the holidays when you’re healthy is enough of a challenge.  This is my 35th Christmas season and things are a little different.  I bring you…Christmas splendor: the chemo version.

Sleigh bells ring…are you kidding me?!  I don’t know who is making that racket but Mommy is trying to sleep because she was up three times last night maybe almost but not quite having to barf.  So. Shhhh!  Shush!  Everyone just please knock it off with the sleigh bells.
In the lane, snow is glistening…crap.  Snow means cold.  And cold means crazy neuropathy hands!  If I have to walk more then a block in the cold during the bad chemo week…it’s kind of horrible.  My hands and feet go numb and my bronchial tubes spasm.  It’s a carousel of delights, for sure.  
In the meadow we can build a snowman…are you nuts!? I can’t touch snow.  My hands will fall off. 
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…so far, Christmas looks like me hurrying through the mall sweating profusely because I have so many freaking layers on to protect me from the cold. Sweating, vaguely nauseous, seething with rage at the woman ahead of me with seven different Macy’s coupons. It’s real cute.
Bring us some figgy pudding…or anything about egg nog…good heavens.  Stop.  I will puke directly on you.  I’ll do it.  
Here comes Santa Claus…nope.  He’d better not be on his way yet.  You just wait right there, Sir.  I am So not ready.  It takes me twice as long to do everything!!  Sometimes my fingers are paralyzed.  So wrapping gifts is like an immunity challenge on Survivor.
I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus…damned right.  Because “Santa” is basically doing everything.  Like baking the cookies while I sit on the couch with this:
…so it’s not ALL bad.  šŸ™‚

Chemo weekend #3

Well I figured out that last time things were so rough because I was dehydrated.  Well, duh, just drink more water, Fool.  Yes.  But.  

See, when I drink anything cooler than lukewarm, my throat feels like I’m swallowing a porcupine.  So it has to be warm.  You try and drink a bunch of warm crap all day when you already feel like puking.  One can only drink so much tea!!!  I have about 7 different kinds and I’m sick of them all.  

Don’t get me wrong.  They are lovely.  I’m just tired of them.  I want a frosty glass of ice cold seltzer water with a juicy wedge of lime!  Or maybe a margarita, honestly.  But that’s not happening this weekend, that’s for sure.  
The upside to feeling rather crappy is that I do stuff I never do.  Like sit in front of the Christmas tree and stare at it.  
I mean, look at that thing.  It’s glorious!
I’m also reading more, although I don’t always have the necessary concentration.  And I’m sleeping when I’m tired instead of the normal routine of chugging coffee and pushing through.  I reward my body with rest instead of telling it to “suck it up.”  And I take a hot bath with this yummy stuff whenever it strikes my fancy.
Oh man.  You haven’t lived until you’ve treated yourself to this stuff.  It’s like taking a nap on a giant vanilla bean.  (Don’t nap in the bath, though – obviously.)  
So, I’m covered on the bubble bath front, I’m in the market for new warm beverages, and looking forward to the energy surge that will arrive in the next couple of days.  I’m about a 4 on the 1-10 scale today but I’m confident that I’m on the way up.  
You wanna know what’s fantastic, though?  I’m done with chemo until 2014!  So I’m free to enjoy Christmas and New Years like a normal person.  I just need to kick a little ass the next two days or so and then…hand me a Santa hat* and turn up the Holiday jams!  It’s the most…wonderful time…of the year!
*not really – I look absurd in hats!