Celebrating the holidays after a cancer diagnosis: A survivor’s guide | Dee Sparacio
Celebrating the holidays after a diagnosis of cancer can be a challenge. We survivors expect to do things just as we had in the past even though we may be recovering from surgery or going through difficult chemotherapy or radiation treatments.
In 2005 I was in chemotherapy treatment but I still wanted to make those five different types of Christmas cookies, to make ornaments, to decorate the tree, to put up the outside lights, to attend all the holiday parties and to host Christmas dinner. I didn’t want to disappoint my family and I certainly didn’t want cancer to ruin our holiday. But I was so tired I wasn’t sure I could do all I had planned. I was stressing out.
Every cancer patient has a story to tell | Dee Sparacio
On July 29, 2005, I woke up to hear my gynecologic oncologist say, “You have stage three ovarian cancer.” Hearing those words was difficult and ushered in my life as a cancer survivor.
A few months earlier I had seen my gynecologist about a dull pain I was having on the left side of my abdomen. Since my sister had been diagnosed with breast cancer, I was vigilant about getting an annual physical and mammogram. After two ultrasounds, an MRI and a visit to the emergency room I was referred to the gynecologic oncologists at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey in New Brunswick. I underwent a hysterectomy, oophorectomy and had my oomentum removed during debulking surgery.