Resource Roundup: Navigating Cancer and Family Time During the Holidays Because #Awkward
“Hey, honey! Good to see you finally got out of bed. How’s your cancer? You know, I heard a spoonful of fairy dust with an eye of a newt helps cure hair loss during chemo. Oh! And you really shouldn’t be eating that pie. Ya know, SUGAR.”
Shut up, Aunt Barb. 😣
It’s no secret to anyone dealing with a serious illness like cancer that family time during the holidays can be awkward, triggering, or downright toxic. We’ve got tons of content on the topic of navigating these relationships, so we wanted to compile them in one post for easy access all season long.
See a few of our favorite posts on topics from creating boundaries to guides for your family in this resource roundup.
On tension, boundaries, and self-care around family:
You may be surprised after a diagnosis at who comes rushing to your side and who doesn’t. When you’re in a strained relationship during a stressful season, it makes coping even harder. This article discusses why some family and friends may not understand what you’re going through, and how to reconnect with them.
Boundaries that protect your space, time, and privacy are crucial to the cancer experience. Have trusted people in your corner to help you keep and maintain these boundaries, too (aka assign someone else to be “the bad guy”). It may look like opting out of certain activities, saying, “I’m not comfortable sharing that right now” when confronted with probing questions, or simply walking away when you’re not up for a conversation.
The most haunting topic – cancer ghosting. Friends or family may peace out with no explanation anytime after your diagnosis. It totally sucks. Like our bud Bianca, you may have experienced this phenomenon: “Throughout my experience with cancer, I’ve lost a bunch of friends because they don’t understand what I’m going through or how to handle it.” Read more about why some people may bounce suddenly and how to cope with it.
For dealing with all those *feelings*:
In the end, your family and friends do care about you, even if they show it in odd ways. Though they won’t be perfect, there are ways to make the most of their good intentions. Check out these resources to help navigate the optimistic side of your community.
Social support is important for your overall health and well-being. Feeling seen, validated, and cared for by others – even if it’s with complete silence – is invaluable. Learn how to find your no-stress squad, open up, and make the most of a listening ear (your dog’s doesn’t count).
A cancer diagnosis is a free ticket to the struggle bus. You don’t have to ride it alone, though. Even if your supporters IRL are not the best at their role, online communities (like buddhi) exist to create safe and validating spaces for this bumpy ride. Learn about a few of our faves, and how community is always better than isolation.
Resources to share with your family (or have someone else do it):
Every cancer thriver has unspoken wishes for how their supporters can be helpful. This post gets the message across without the need for any extra weird conversations. Supporters can read our quick tips on respecting boundaries, gifting appropriately, communicating well, and providing encouragement.
Some people just don’t get it – YOUR cancer is not about THEM. Our “rules of engagement” post for supporters provides tips and considerations for being a good supporter (or not) during this time, including a litmus test for if/when to reach out to someone newly diagnosed with cancer.
Can we start a petition to ban the phrase “It all happens for a reason” – please?! This roundup of common not-so-pleasantries gives supporters alternative go-to comments that are actually encouraging for cancer thrivers.