This year I decided it would be great idea to try and make the most of Christmas. After the year we’ve had, with the discovery of a new tumour, complex surgery, complications and an eventual 7 week hospital stay, I want to take every opportunity to have fun with the girls. We can’t take anything for granted with my health, so every bit of quality time with we have as a family is very important.
We’ve had a tough year, but I feel very lucky, because my health is still reasonably good and I’m mostly pain free. I might not be as fit as I was a year ago, but I can still walk for miles and go to the gym. There are fellow cancer patient friends of ours who don’t have that luxury and others, many my age with young children like ours we’ve lost to cancer.
Over the years friends of mine have had to celebrate Christmas early, because their health has deteriorated. One spent Christmas in a local hospice. Even though he was away from his family Max still did his very best to make the most of his time and have the best Christmas he could. Max wrote a lovely blog about his experiences. If I have to spend Christmas in a hospital or hospice in the years to come I hope I have the same dignity and grace as Max.
When the end comes it always seems to come very quickly. The suddenness with which my friends have deteriorated and were taken from us is shocking. It reminds me, after having good health the last couple of years, that a cancer patient with disease as advanced as mine can never know when they’re celebrating their last Christmas. It makes me feel that it might be prudent to enjoy this one as much as I can.
Not that I need much encouragement. I’ve always been a huge huge fan of Christmas. I was always a big kid like that. Years ago when I was well enough to work my colleagues used to give me a Christmas countdown throughout the year. When the time came I’d bounce around the libraries I worked in with sheer joy and spread Christmas cheer with every enquiry or book issued. Having children of my own just added to my enthusiasm and becoming a Christian a few years ago deepened my love of Christmas and understanding of the reason for the season.
Becoming a parent is the best and most rewarding thing that’s ever happened to me. When my children were born my life changed forever. Like any parent I’m devoted to them. Their welfare and happiness is most important to me. I naturally want to protect them from anything that might make them sad, but it’s tough when you’re the very thing that makes them vulnerable. That worries me. I can’t lie to my children or hide anything, after all they see what’s going on and every fortnight I have ‘special medicine’ and spend days in bed. Just like any other parent all I can do is my best. A lyric from a favourite song of mine goes ‘the most that you can spend on any child is time’ and that’s just what I’m going to do this year. I’ve no plans to go anywhere just yet, but I might not be around for my girls in future years. Right now I’m here and for the first Christmas in five I won’t be having chemo or a scan, so we are gonna rock this Christmas and make some fab memories. We won’t achieve that by getting stressed in the shops, just so we can spoil the girls rotten on Christmas Day. Family, faith, fun and food are what’s most important to me this year!
It was touch and go whether we’d manage to organise the race again this year. I’ve struggled a little since getting out of hospital and resuming treatment, so I’m really excited we are doing it again.
To sign up online: https://cheekysantadash2016.eventbrite.co.uk/
For more details and regular updates: https://www.facebook.com/cheekysantadash