The Christmas season has many meanings; for some it’s the celebration of the birth of Jesus; others enjoy the hustle and bustle of shopping for that perfect gift and going to the holiday “office” party. Christmas was never a huge deal for me; I like celebrating birthdays more. Most of my adult life was spent working on Christmas Eve as a waitress. I always volunteered to work so someone else could go home to see their relatives. For many, Christmas is the only time they see loved ones, although when my son was young, I did stay home so we could eat Christmas dinner with relatives and open presents.
Now, Christmas has a new meaning for me. For the past four years I think about the events that led up to my cancer diagnosis. I was working on a small boat dealing Black Jack for a Christmas party December 24th. I remember the exact moment I felt bad, although at the time I couldn’t explain my physical symptoms. All I knew was I felt bad. Real bad. I couldn’t wait to get off the boat and go home. Two days later I was admitted to the hospital and my journey back to wellness began.
For years I suffered bouts of constipation and diarrhea. Every year it was worse and the year before I was diagnosed, I stopped going to public places, like flea markets (my favorite place to go) or walking my dogs in the park. If it didn’t have a public bathroom I could reach within two minutes, I stayed home. Work was a whole other problem. I got up two hours earlier than necessary in hopes that my morning bowel movements were completely done before my morning commute. Freeways were off-limits, so I took surface streets instead, in case I had the urge to go. Fear of having an accident in my pants was always on my mind because it already happened several times before.
Today I have a colostomy bag. It makes my life better. Some people say they would rather die than have to wear one, but maybe if they were given the choices I had, they would change their minds. It doesn’t matter. We all have our own ideas of what “quality of life” means to us. As the years go by I am more and more grateful to not only be alive, but healthy as well. I have everything I need to live a comfortable life. There isn’t one single thing I would ask Santa for… except… to help those going through cancer treatments to experience peace, love and faith so they too will find healing.
I hope you are spending this day doing exactly what you want. After I’m done with this post, I will walk my dogs, eat a healthy meal and curl up with a good book. Hubby has to work but will be home soon.
Merry Christmas! Happy Chanukah! Happy Holidays!