A couples' shadow falls over a Christmas tree

Community Shares: How to Survive the Holidays with a Terminal Illness

Recently we asked you to share your tips for surviving the holidays with a terminal diagnosis. You had some wonderful insights to share! Here are some of the things you mentioned as being important for helping you through this time of year.

Live in the moment and enjoy what you can!

Many of you shared the importance you place on continuing to embrace your life and enjoy as many moments and experiences as you can.

  • “Go forward and enjoy and appreciate everything!”
  • “Be present!”
  • “Enjoy yourself.”
  • “Forget your prognosis and live each day as it comes.”

Have someone in your corner

Several of you shared the importance of having one or two people who understand you and who you can be real with, if and when the reality of being terminal creeps into the holidays, be it in physical ways like needing a prescription refilled or for emotional support when you need to cry or rage.

“Enjoy the small wins and examples of love. Most importantly, have one person who knows you well and can help you escape to check the mail, run to the pharmacy, fold a load of laundry — whatever you need to do to escape for a few minutes for deep breathing, potential tears or cussing.”

“Have a safe haven planned out. I plan to go to my daughter’s if it all becomes too much.”

Make memories

A common theme was the assertion that being terminal does not mean there is not still time and space to create new memories!

  • “Don’t waste time thinking about cancer, enjoy and embrace every second and make beautiful memories.”
  • “Grab your CURRENT life, smile, and live.”
  • “Don’t dwell on it. You will miss too much. Live for each and every moment.”
  • “We’re dedicated to making every holiday special. I’m spending what time I have left living, not waiting to die.”
  • “I’m enjoying my son and filling up on his Christmas energy!”

Faith practice

Finding strength and comfort in a faith practice and higher power was also important to many of you as you live with this diagnosis.

  • “Live your life. Only God knows when our time is up.”
  • “Prayer.”
  • “Put it in God’s hands as we cannot control it.”

It is always an honor to read your comments and be privileged to listen and walk with you on this journey of Advanced Breast Cancer. We learn so much from each other and there is such value to knowing no one is in this alone. Remember we are here if ever you need support during this time. Wishing you each a beautiful holiday season.

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