Hi, this one truly hits home for me. Have you ever known someone who was diagnosed with cancer? Did you ever wonder how you could offer help but just didn’t know what to do? Chances are at some point in your life, you will know someone- a loved one, family member, a friend, co-worker or even yourself who will be diagnosed with that “C” word. June 2003 I was told I had cancer.
Let me tell you, this was a very difficult time in my life for me and my family. What was normal, was normal no more. So many emotions are running through my mind as I am typing. Family, friends and the community were asking how they could help. At the beginning I had no answers. Now looking back I have many suggestions from the kindness I received. Here are just five things one can do that will mean a great deal.
When I say send cards, I mean the old fashioned way- via USPS, snail mail. Oh how I loved these. Spiritual, funny, just a note to say hi- anything at all would brighten my day. There were times during my chemo cycle I literally had zero energy. It was nice reading and rereading these cards and notes. It also allowed me to cry in private when you gave me words of encouragement. Yes, cards- these were cherished greatly.
Yes, frozen dinners. When neighbors brought meals to the house I was so thankful. My children were still in school and active. This just helped tremendously. Keep in mind Chemo destroys bad cells and good cells. When your body has limited white blood cells, food not heated to the right temperature causes food poising. A nuisance for the healthy but deadly for a cancer patient with a weakened autoimmune system. I was not allowed to eat leftovers during certain days in my chemo cycle. Frozen foods could be popped into the oven and monitored for the correct temperature and cooking length. I highly recommend this one!
Prepaid Phone Card
Okay, this idea was more specific to me during my treatments. I would have a treatment every three weeks. One treatment consisted of two days. Each day lasting approx 8-12 hours each. Cell phones were not allowed. Anyone I would need to call was long distance. I had mentioned this to a friend and the next treatment she gave me a prepaid phone card. Wow- this made me do the happy cry. I appreciated this a lot.
This is a rather wide suggestion. A helping hand can be a simple as picking up a gallon of milk from the grocery store. Does the cancer patient have children that need a ride to or from school? My goal was to try keeping daily routine as normal as I possibly could. For example, I had to do two loads of laundry a day just to maintain. I always use the clothesline weather permitting. Well carrying the basket out to the line was heavy and drained the little energy I had. I still did the laundry, but had my son carry the basket to the line where I hung the clothes. I was not sleeping 8 hours. It was more like small naps throughout the night and day. One friend worked in a bakery, which bakers go in really really early in the morning. Many time I called her just to talk. With that said, anything that may seem small to you, would be very helpful to the cancer patient.
Power of Prayer
I have posted this one at the end for a reason. In my opinion this is the most important of the five. It is not my intention to push my faith onto someone. However, after going through my cancer treatments and witnessing the daily miracles just confirmed my faith even more so. Say a prayer for the cancer patient and their family to be strong for the daily challenges they each will face. Prayer is very powerful- Amen!
Do you have any suggestions you would like to add of helpful things you have done for a person with cancer? Or if you experienced cancer, what did your family and friends do to help that you most appreciated?