Monthly Archives: September 2020

How to Keep The Holiday Spirit When You Have Cancer

The most wonderful time of the year is not so wonderful when you and your family are struggling with hardship. A cancer diagnosis or cancer treatment during the holidays can make it especially difficult to find joy in celebration, but that does not mean it is impossible. There are steps you can take to, not forget about your cancer, but work with it so that you can find ways to enjoy the season, even if you may not be able to participate in the same events you used to, at least in the same way.

Coping With Cancer During The Holidays

Everyone deserves to have a joyful holiday season, especially when it has been difficult to find things to be joyful about. These tips can help you and your family keep the holiday spirit alive while still preserving your physical and emotional wellbeing.

  • Shopping can be tiresome and frustrating. Do as much online shopping as possible and get creative. A shirt may not mean as much as a memory from childhood.
    It’s perfectly fine to say “No” and you should. People will understand if you can’t do certain activities.
  • Do things you enjoy, such as reading, playing board games with family, or even taking a nap, to lift your spirits when you’re not feeling at your best.
  • Enlist support for organizing holiday gatherings, meal preparation, and cleanup. Don’t try to do everything yourself.
  • Express your feelings and embrace the support of the important people in your life. Give yourself permission to feel and express your feelings. Let yourself laugh or cry.
  • Don’t overindulge in alcohol. Because alcohol is a depressant, it can “bring out” or heighten bad feelings.
  • Maintain healthy habits: Eat balanced meals, drink in moderation, get plenty of sleep, and try to make time for some physical activity, which is a good way to relieve stress.
  • It’s all about preparation. Plan how you want to spend your time, with whom, and for how long. Create a list of the usual traditions and events and decide if you want to continue certain traditions or create new ones.
  • Trying to celebrate alone can be very difficult. Make plans to get together with friends, family or co-workers over the holidays to balance the time you’ll spend alone.

It may seem like there isn’t much to celebrate, but there is always something to be grateful for and that is worth celebrating. You and your loved ones have developed new strengths with the day-to-day challenges of cancer. You have discovered a greater capacity for courage and love and that is worth embracing and building on during the holidays.

12 Simple Ways to Support a Grieving Friend This Holiday Season

The holidays are upon us and it seems that many people have decided to simplify their holiday traditions this year. Instead of spending hours shopping and getting frustrated at the mall, they have decided to spend quality time with friends and family.

In the spirit of simplicity and kindness, we have compiled a list of 12 simple and memorable ways to support a grieving loved one this holiday season. This list comes from the suggestions submitted by our online community. So take a minute to check your holiday To Do List and be sure you have added your grieving loved ones to the list.

1. Don’t be afraid to acknowledge the loss. One of the most important things you can do for a friend that is grieving is to understand that special occasions and holidays may be filled with both sorrow and joy. A message as simple as “I know the holidays may be difficult for you. I want you to know that I am thinking about you.” will let them know you care.

2. Listen and allow the tears to flow. Allow your friend the opportunity to feel all the feelings he or she is experiencing this time of year.

3. Allow the person to set the pace. Grief is a little like a roller coaster with many ups and downs. Your friend may want to cry one minute, talk about fun memories the next and then the next may want to have some time alone. Respect their needs and understand that their change in mood is not about you.

4. Encourage your friend to talk about the person that has passed away. If you knew the person, share your fond memories too.

5. Invite your friend to join your holiday gathering. As family members pass away, traditions change and a loved one may not be able to spend the holidays with their family. Including them in your family festivities will help ease the loneliness they may be feeling this time of year.

6. Send a card and be sure to acknowledge the loss. Don’t be afraid to mention the person’s name or to include your own personal memories of the person that has passed away.

7. Visit the cemetery with your friend or leave flowers with a note for the family at the gravesite.

8. Prepare your friend’s favorite holiday treat or a favorite food of the person that has passed away. Each year I prepare my mother’s holiday cookies to remember her love for the holidays.

9. Create a scrapbook of memories. Ask friends and family to write down their memories of the loved one that has passed away and put together a scrapbook of pictures and stories to give to your grieving friend.

10. Make a donation to their favorite charity in memory of the person that has passed away.

11. Encourage them to take care of themselves. Self care is very important to the healing process. Give a gift of pampering at a spa or prepare a care package that includes a relaxation CD, bath salts, and an aromatherapy candle. If going to a spa is not their way of relaxing, find an activity that brings them joy and relaxation.

12. Don’t run for the hills. Many people are afraid to be around a person that is grieving. They often treat the grieving person as though they have a contagious disease. A true friend is the one that stands by their friend and allows them the space to feel all the feelings they are going through…the good and the bad.

Offering your support, understanding and companionship during the holidays will be a cherished gift. Be sure to listen to your friend’s wishes and do not force him or her to participate in activities that may be overwhelming. Be sure to only offer your support if you know you can truly follow through. And remember, it is the simple acts of kindness that are delivered with an open heart that are remembered year after year.

Heartburn Diet for the Holiday Season

The holiday season is upon us, joyous festivities surrounded by family and an abundance of good food. Unfortunately, for those of us that suffer from chronic heartburn, acid reflux, or GERD, it is a time of potential discomfort and pain. Fear not! A heartburn diet for the holiday season need not be overly restrictive. You may be surprised at the foods you can enjoy in this festive season.

I love the holidays. The colors of autumn signal the abundance of the harvested fields. We all partake of the bountiful summer harvest and fill our bellies with its many delicacies. It is as if we must fill our bodies with sustenance in anticipation of the cold blue wintry winds that strip the land of its life.

Fats and Cholesterol

Those of us that suffer from indigestion and acid reflux know all to well the consequences of our feasting. But, there are holiday foods that we can safely ingest that are beneficial to our condition and that reduce our suffering.

We all know that lowering our cholesterol levels is good for reducing the risk of heart disease, heart attacks, and diabetes, but it also helps curb gastroesophageal reflux causes as well. Do not confuse cholesterol with fat. It is not a fat. Cholesterol is vital to producing some of the body’s hormones and cells.

Many of the foods we consume during the holidays are high in fats and some are high in cholesterol. Fried foods and foods high in fat content tend to slow digestion and increase the potential for acid reflux and heartburn.

Yet, we must consume some fats, if only to protect us from those long cold winter months ahead. Our bodies require the intake of fats. Fats are essential for some vitamins to dissolve in and for building cells in the body.

Saturated and Unsaturated

Fats are a combination of carbon and hydrogen atoms. If all the carbon atoms are linked to hydrogen atoms the fats are said to be “saturated”. If some of the carbon atoms are not linked to hydrogen atoms the fats are known as “unsaturated”. Not surprisingly, most foods contain both kinds of fat, saturated and unsaturated.

So, which fats are good and which are bad?

Generally, foods with unsaturated fats are more helpful for your body. Many processed foods and oils contain “hydrogenated” fats. These are unsaturated fats that have been artificially forced into a saturated state or into a state with more hydrogen atoms than normal (partial hydrogenation).

Partial hydrogenation results in “trans” fats that are not healthy at all. Avoid synthetically created trans fat foods like margarine, potato chips, and other processed foods.

The Mayo Clinic recommends that your total consumption of dietary fats be limited to no more than 20-35% of your total calorie intake based on a recommended intake of 2000 calories per day.

Foods To Eat

Foods with saturated fats also contain cholesterol. It is best to limit your intake of these fats to no more than 10% of your daily calorie intake.

Saturated fats are found in foods like butter, cheese, lard, bacon, ham, and tropical oils.

The remainder of your daily consumption of dietary fats should be from unsaturated fats.

Foods that contain unsaturated fats include almonds, walnuts, and turkey (a Thanksgiving Day staple).

All fruits and vegetables contain some fat, but the fat content is of such negligible amounts that the benefits of the nutritional value of fruits and vegetables far outweigh any concerns about fat content.

Check the labels of store bought food. Hydrogenated oils (bad fat) used to produce these items must be listed in the ingredients.

Any heartburn diet for the holidays should consider the fat content. It is more a matter of common sense. You can enjoy the holidays, be festive and enjoy good food, just be mindful of your indigestion and acid reflux condition. It all comes down to moderation.

One of the many temptations during the holiday season is the abundance of leftovers and that tempting late night snack. Not a good idea for a reflux diet! Eating late night snacks is a major contributor of acid reflux. If you don’t want to wake up in the middle of the night with that burning in the middle of your chest, don’t be tempted by that fridge full of delectable goodies.

Celebrate the 4th of July Holiday With Meaning

Independence Day better known in modern times as the 4th of July is a grand and great holiday in the United States of America and is often a favorite of young people who especially enjoy the exciting colorful and noisy traditional fireworks. The fireworks, however, are but a symbol of the meaning behind the 4th of July celebration of independence. The meaning behind the 4th of July Independence Day holiday came about as the result of the valiant efforts and strong commitment of our American forefathers not so very long ago.

Amazing changes and events have happened since July 4, 1776, however, very important changes and dramatic events also occurred prior to July 4, 1776. Brave and restless people had uprooted their lives, left everything behind, and crossed the Atlantic Ocean to come to this land where they sought freedoms and rights not available to them in their homeland. They formed settlements here and organized into various groups of towns and colonies with their own local laws and rules, while still under the authority of the King of England. The country was being born and the ideals of just how and what those freedoms would entail were ironed out through controversy and cooperative efforts of the differing opinions of the day.

The vote for the United States to become independent of Great Britain actually occurred on July 2, 1776 by the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Congress formally approved the document, the “Declaration of Independence” on July 4, 1776. This declaration was the final break with Great Britain and expressed the united view of all of the colonies to become independent. This act was a culmination of dramatic events in which the early Americans faced a great deal of unrest that was accompanied by heartfelt and explosive rebellious incidents in their efforts to be free from tyranny. They were not deterred as they sought to identify, solidify, and maintain the profound and precious freedoms and justices they had so yearned for that they were willing to commit their entire lives to the values that they embraced.

This was, however, just a beginning point of establishing freedom in this great land, as at that time in our history, the Revolutionary War to complete the severing of our dependence from Great Britain was yet to take place, plus the horrific practice of slavery still existed, women were not privileged to enjoy most of these independent rights, and, sadly, Native Americans were being displaced and uprooted as they lost their native homelands to the onward movement of the American settlers. Since the momentous Declaration of Independence was signed and approved, our struggles to truly bring equality and equal rights to everyone has triumphed with many victories, while movements and progress continue to this day.

Even though it seems like such a long time ago, if you put it into the perspective that using a moderate lifetime of only 60 years, those 232 years since 1776 are less than 4 lifespans away from our present 2008. As we approach another 4th of July holiday celebration it comes to mind that our American peoples from all heritages and ethnic backgrounds can truly celebrate the enormous progress that has been made over the span of these minute and short 4 lifespans of time. Our values and ideals are far too precious to become lost through the fears and struggles we are experiencing today.

Our American forefathers successfully worked through strife, fears, and the bullies of their time to prevail in establishing this great country. We, as recipients and inheritors of their magnificent efforts, must hold our heads up high as we express our thanks and jubilation on the 4th of July Independence Day holiday celebrations that we live in such a great country, and we should be encouraged to work together, hand in hand, to resolve our problems and differences in order to maintain the integrity and values that the great and famous document, the Declaration of Independence was founded upon.

A significant point of evidence to remind us that all these differences can be overcome is the cooperative and friendly relationship and camaraderie that the United States and Great Britain have been enjoying for many many years. Those differences were very important to early Americans and Great Britain in 1776 that many risked and lost their lives over those matters at that time in history. Today it seems strangely remote and unusual that the United States and Great Britain would be enveloped in such a great controversy, and yet it happened. There is an important lesson here that we, too, can resolve all of our differences, and as we enjoy celebrating the 4th of July Independence Day holiday with the magnificent fireworks, tasty barbecues, traditional hot dogs, fun parades and other symbolic events that mark the freedom and birth of our great country, we share a common goal and belief that all people are created equal and that this country is founded on the belief of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all.