12/22/18  By Sharon Anderson MSW

Holidays create stress for everyone, but for a cancer patient, it can be a very difficult time. Here’s a few suggestions of how to lower the expectations and demands on you so you have more time relax.


Buy only one gift per family. Skip the malls and order gifts on Amazon who deliver it to your doorstep within a few days. And if you register Leiomyosarcoma Support & Direct Research Foundation as your charity on Amazon Smile, they will donate a small portion of each sale. Use it year-round!

If you must cook, use simple recipes that use on a few ingredients. I found a pot pie recipe that suggested buying the already cooked rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. It costs the same as an uncooked chicken and saved me a lot of steps. My family expects my traditional gumbo every Christmas eve. I found a box of gumbo mix, complete with rice. I threw in the seafood and some chicken and no one knew the difference until I revealed my secret. If you must bring a dish to the meal, volunteer for dessert and make it store bought. Or pick up a side salad dish from the deli.

Ask others to have the event at their house instead of yours. Hosting can be draining. You can skip all the pre and post cleaning and decorating. If you need to leave earlier that everyone else… can head out instead of waiting for your guests to leave.

Take a cancer break. You can have a few days where you don’t have to think or talk about cancer. If someone asks how you are doing… just state “fine.” And change the subject.

And while you are on break… put aside your emotions. That’s right. Tell yourself you can come back to your fears or sadness after the holidays. Alcoholics Anonymous have a saying, “fake it till you feel it.” It’s actually a relief to give yourself permission to let it go for a few days.

Here’s a few more tips:

Cure Today– 10 Tips for Surviving the Holidays  

Fred Hutch News – How to Survive the Holidays with Cancer