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Finding gratitude amidst challenges: navigating Thanksgiving with mBC

happy mature woman sitting at a festive holiday table with her family

The Thanksgiving holiday is a time for gratitude, reflection, and connection with loved ones. For metastatic breast cancer (mBC) patients, though, navigating the festivities can bring unique challenges and emotions. In the midst of treatments, appointments, and uncertainties, finding a balance between self-care and celebration becomes essential. Here are some tips to help you navigate this Thanksgiving with resilience and a spirit of gratitude.

Communicate your needs:

  • Recognize your limitations and communicate them to your loved ones. Whether it’s because of mood changes, energy levels, or treatment side effects, it’s important to acknowledge how you’re feeling and draw boundaries accordingly. 
  • Delegating responsibilities can be helpful too. Holidays are a busy time for everyone, but you can’t do it alone. Consider asking your loved ones to help out with things like cleaning, shopping, and cooking so you have time for rest and self-care.
  • Open and honest communication is key. Let your friends and family know how they can best support you during the holiday season.

Embrace flexibility:

  • Understand that plans may need to change, and that’s okay. Flexibility is key when managing a chronic illness, so be open to adjusting your plans based upon how you feel that day.
  • You may also want to modify your holiday traditions to accommodate changes to your energy levels and how you’re feeling. This may involve simplifying meals, adjusting the timing of celebrations, or limiting travel.
  • If you’re hosting a holiday celebration, consider having a more intimate gathering with close friends and family who understand what you’re facing. 

Build your support system:

  • The holidays are always a good time to connect with your loved ones. Surrounding yourself with close, supportive family and friends is important..
  • You can also find community and seek support from other resources like local support groups, non-profit organizations, and the Outcomes4Me online patient Community

Take time to reflect:

  • Despite the challenges, take a moment to reflect on the aspects of your life that bring you joy and gratitude. Whether it’s the support of loved ones, moments of peace, or the strength to face each day, acknowledging these positives can bring a sense of fulfillment. Consider keeping a gratitude journal to capture moments of joy and progress, providing a tangible reminder of the positive aspects in your life. 
  • You may also find yourself reflecting on your personal journey, acknowledging the strength and resilience you’ve demonstrated throughout your cancer experience. The Outcomes4Me app has a built-in Journaling feature where you can record any thoughts, feelings, or milestones as you navigate mBC. 

Thanksgiving can be a time of reflection, gratitude, and connection. By prioritizing self-care and personal connection, communicating openly with loved ones, and adapting traditions, you can navigate the holidays with resilience and find moments of joy this season.

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