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Hi everyone,
Following information from UK Government and the publication of NICE guidelines, we have updated our advice on the coronavirus for people who have received or are waiting to receive a stem cell transplant to treat their blood cancer or blood disorder. Read our coronavirus guidance here: www.anthonynolan.org/coronavirus

Christmas 2020

Hi Everyone,

How is everyone doing?

I just wanted to start a thread to ask what everyone's plans were for Christmas this year and what you have thought of this year as a whole?

For me, this year has definitely been a weird one with leaving school and deciding to take a gap year and not continue education with the rest of my friends. I'm glad I have in the end as it has shown me how much little time I did have free due to constantly working on school work.

I had to shield at the start of lockdown and didn't have any contact with anyone outside my family for a couple on months. I finally got off the list in June which was great as I saw friends again. How does the time scale compare to others? Did you get off earlier or later?

For Christmas this year, we are having quiet Christmas with just my close family. We normally meet up with the rest of the family at Christmas and have Christmas dinner together. It can normally get crazy to maybe a quiet Christmas wont be as bad. We are also getting Christmas decorations up this weekend as well. I would love to hear what everyone else is doing this year.

Hope everyone is well,

Cameron

Clare_AtAnthonyNolan

Comments

  • Hi Cameron,

    It’s certainly been a very strange year and one I’m sure we’ll all be glad to see the back of. I think despite the relaxations over Christmas there will be a lot of people in our positions that will be approaching the festive season with some trepidation and caution. I think a quiet Christmas is probably a wise choice for us and it’s certainly my plan.

    I’m fortunate that I haven’t needed to shield completely at any point during the year, being almost 8 years post transplant. Instead I’ve been very cautious whilst I’ve been out and about and at work and for much of the year I’ve been lucky to have been able to work from home. Despite a number of positive tests among my workmates and my normal social circle the precautions I’ve taken have kept me safe.

    Like most people, I haven’t seen my parents or my daughter this year as they live some distance from us. I’d normally catch up with them over Christmas, but as my parents are getting on in years now I think the best course of action is to preserve all our safety and not take any chances. Hopefully the new year will bring some light at the end of the tunnel and opportunities to see our families again.

    Like you, we’ve been putting the Christmas decorations up this weekend and the place is starting to feel more festive. I’m looking forward to some time off work and have two weeks off over Christmas. I intend to make the most of it and have a relaxing break at home with my wife and sons, and will catch up remotely with my daughter, parents and other members of the family.

    I wish you all a healthy Christmas and hopefully a much better new year.

    Steve

    Clare_AtAnthonyNolanchelle_16FalloutOnTour
  • Hello Cameron and Steve

    It is interesting to hear how people have navigated shielding based on their position in their transplant journey. Ofcourse it varies for everyone as we will all face slightly different challenges i.e. medications. That has been the case for me during the lockdown. I have shielded since March. I relaxed a little in July and August to do essential food shops as i sadly enjoy that part of my independenve but being on Cyclosprin 2 years post SCT has made me far far more cautious to join the outside world.

    I take every precaution if i decide to go shopping but have to weigh up the balance between emotional well being and physical risks. So like many others I choose to shop at the very quietest times normally late evening before closing. If i didn't do this my emotional health would have taken a bigger hit.

    But saying that I'm well and I utelised my time at home fundraising and despite everything it has been a productive year for me.

    In regards to christmas having only my Grandmother who is in her 80's it will just be me and her. I have spent the last 4 christmas' in hospital with treatment and transplants so this year, wether i was home alone or with my Grandmother it would be more enjoyable. Or at least more relaxing. Hehe.

    I formed a support bubble with my Gran which has been beneficial for me in many ways. I will be doing my best to just make the best of the time I have with her over christmas. We are fortunate in a way that it is just me and her as we can keep the risks at the very minimum and feel relatively safe.

    I have done less of the decorating and more of the production of christmas decorations which has been a fun distraction.

    Happy and healthy christmas to everyone

    All the very best,

    Michelle

    Dieseldrinker62Clare_AtAnthonyNolanFalloutOnTour
  • Hi Steve and Michelle,

    How are you?

    I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one having a quiet Christmas this year. As you both said, its definitely the safest way to spend Christmas this year.

    Its been good to hear how yourselves have gone about the shielding list. When I went for my transplant check up in June, the doctors were trying to gather a list of patients who should not have really on the list in the first place which I fell into that category. (being 3.5 years out from transplant at the time). I think I was initially put on it so I could be in the loop for quick regulation changes in regards to lockdown.

    We got our Christmas tree and decorations up over weekend and the place is more cosy and festive now so we are getting into Christmas mode.

    One positive from this year is being able to have my family home at all times since my parents are still working from home. That's one thing I'm going to miss once the vaccine is rolled out to everyone.

    Glad to hear from you,

    Cameron

    chelle_16
  • Hi everyone

    This has been a very strange year. I am very pleased to be at home this Christmas. Last Christmas I was away from home just finishing cart t treatment made it out just before Christmas Eve.Very kindly a friend lent us her flat while she was on holiday so we made the best of it with a Cook Christmas meal. I would really like to see my family on Christmas Day, I’m bit worried about my immune system just going over 100 day mark I think it might be safer to have a video call with family. Is anyone early in their recovery doing the same?

    Wish you all a very merry Christmas

    X

  • Hi Laulau1

    Great to hear from you and Congratulations on 100+ days

    I'm close to 2 years post but will still be deciding to greatly limit seeing the family. I will be seeing my Gran as she lives alone and the catch up with others on video chat. Whennit comes to extended family there would be too many of us in one room and i think alot of them are working in offices, schools and commuting.

    Everyone's decision will vary based on a whole range of circumstances.

    Video chat might be the safest however i think it is important to be kind to yourself also. If being with some family at christmas provides you with some normality and can be done safely then it should be fine. But i do recognosie at 100 day+ it can be a hard decision to make.

    I hope you manage to figure out an option that feels comfortable and safe.

    Wishing you a happy and healthy christmas

    X

  • Hi Laulau,

    Congratulations on reaching the 100 day milestone. Personally I would still be very cautious about mixing, particularly with everything that is going on at the moment. I think the 100 day milestone means you’ve reached the point when the risk of complications from your transplant are reduced, but your immune system will by no means be fully recovered yet. You will still be more vulnerable to infections at this stage and it will take a long time to recover fully. At some point you’ll need to have your childhood vaccinations again to help restore those parts of your immune system.

    If necessary speak to your medical team and get their thoughts but I think your suggestion of a video call might be a good option for the time being. If you do see any family members over Christmas, the usual precautions apply of avoiding contact with anyone who has a cough or cold which are common at this time of year, but also be mindful of anyone that might have been exposed to COVID. All being well we can all plan to see our loved ones over the next year when things will hopefully be more normal.

    Whichever you decide I hope you have a peaceful Christmas and can continue your recovery smoothly.

    All the best,

    Steve

  • Hi Laulau,

    Congrats on 100 days!!!

    I think doing a family zoom is a great idea on Christmas and might steal it :D.

    As everyone has said, day 100 is a significant day in everyone's transplant journey but your immune system is still not fully recovered yet.

    I would still speak to your medical team and consultants and seek advice from them about what you should do if you do want to meet up with your family at Christmas.

    Hope you are doing well,

    Cameron

  • Hello all

    I just wanted to reach out and offer a space to talk after the latest governement announcement and with it being christmas season.

    It is hard enough going through any treatment and transplant journey let alone with these forever changing rules and regulations/expectations.

    How are you all feeling/coping?

    All the best,

    Michelle

    Tom_AnthonyNolan
  • Hi Michelle

    I'm feeling I super anxious was going back and forth to hospital for most of the lockdown and now am waiting on further result after the allo which probably get after Christmas. 🤣

  • Hello Laulau1

    Your feelings are completely understandable given the mile stone you have reached the results pending are important to you.

    I had my Allo in 2019. I recall being very anxious after. I struggled with the regular trips back to London where I had all my treatment.

    For me my anxieties came out in wanting to know every result. There wasn't one I missed. That in time settled and now I don't worry so much being almost 2 years post I'm able to tune into my system better.

    Travelling to hospital during lockdown must have been difficult. I was able to have most of my reviews by phone.

    I used to find great comfort in consistency. But consistency does feel like it exsists at the moment.

    I'm in a Tier 4 area. How about yourself? Have you got support? I'm now spending christmas alone as I'm shielding. But that gives me an excuse to hog the chocolate box. 🤣

    Anxiety is normal given all you have been through and the current times we are in. But hopefully by enjoying some treats/good food and generally being kind to yourself it won't feel overwhelming.

    All the best,

    Michelle

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