WARNING – This blog contains the word ‘Christmas’ many, many times over. I want no Scrooge’s here please.
Ho! Ho! HO! It is Christmas.
At EJB Headquarters, we are fans of this festive period. It has always been the case, except that EJB did not exist before this Christmas. My Myeloma is about to have its first Christmas and if I were Santa Claus, I would be giving it a nice dirty lump of coal. I am not Santa, I am female, so I am going to try and spend the rest of the month trying not to acknowledge My Myeloma’s presence. The chances of success are 50/50.
Christmas for me should be a romanticised Dickensian dream with the added features of the motion picture, buying on credit and the satsuma. I expect giving and receiving, roasted food products, carols, indulgence, The Muppets and Capraesque revelations of love and redemption. I know that Christmas is a religious celebration, but I put my hands up right now and say that that is not for me, I have tried, truly I have, but yep, no. I like My Christmas.
In my Christmas Past, My Christmas has involved organised fun. I like to force people to come together in a controlled environment and make them enjoy themselves. This may include board games, theatre trips, films and it will definitely include alcohol. I usually want to infect people with my festive cheer. Friends and family have all had to endure my attempts and desire to maintain, or lets me honest, establish, tradition. I am one of those people.
My Christmas Present is strange. There are clearly things that I cannot do because of My Myeloma. Out are my ticketed trips and Christmas drinks, which last year might have been a little excessive. In, is overspending and baking in a desperate attempt to show my gratitude to others. I am overcompensating. Every aspect of my life is touched by My Myeloma, and Christmas is no different. Myeloma is a Grinch-type beast. Periodically the thought pops into my head that this may be my last Christmas. It comes in and I quickly throw it away and I then go and make something for somebody or put a considerable amount of effort into making my flat look like it has been decorated by a toddler. The thought is there, so I am trying all I can to make sure that I do not dwell on it and that I have as traditional an EJ Christmas as possible. I have calculated that if I can keep things normal, then I will not over think the injustice of having an active cancer in my body on 25 December or the knowledge that My Myeloma will be present for all my Christmases to come. I hate the idea of my brain stopping myself in the middle of my Christmas fun, to remind me that I have cancer. At one point over the next twenty days it is bound to happen. Let’s be honest, I probably need it to prevent further fractures.
I just really, really want to hold on to my Christmas Past.
My counsellor said that my coping mechanisms for overcoming the above are practical and are based in my life pre myeloma. I think she is correct. I have planned and partially executed Christmas based activities, with the hope that it keeps me occupied, is enjoyed by others and maintains some sort of stability in the life that is mine. I only really need to say ‘handicrafts’ and you will get the gist of what I have been doing. My goal on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week was to decorate the flat with homemade items, including my edible Christmas tree. The edible Christmas tree is fake, you cannot eat that, but you can eat 75% of the decorations. I personally threaded popcorn for five hours, stabbing myself with a needle at least three times. If you look carefully, you can see my blood on a few of the kernels. Eat that. Next week is all about the Christmas baking before I endure my next round of chemotherapy. I have planned to do too much. Crucially, I have realised, that I would have done this before, and this pleases me. I may not have spent five hours with a needle and thread, but I would have told somebody that I was going to bake x amount, put myself under pressure to do it, ended up doing more than I said I would, and enjoyed the whole thing. Apparently, this is ‘healthy’ behaviour.
Going back to my flat though, it really does look like Christmas vomited in there along with the farmhouse kitchen, albeit tastefully. Decorating whilst listening to some banging Christmas tunes was just the tonic after my weekend of fatigue. I do not need your compliments, I know it looks good.
Who knows what my Christmas Future holds? Not me, but then I do not know yours either. Perhaps if I do not have faith in God, I should have faith that I will see many more Christmases. You need a leap of faith sometimes, ‘Miracle on 34th Street’ told me so.
Oh and remember, ‘the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.’ Profound.