It’s been a little while since I last posted – but I am happy to report that I have been doing well and getting stronger each and every day. My energy level is improving each day. I’m ready to feel like my old self again.
CC was diagnosed with the Flu B on Sunday, so I was immediately put on Tamiflu in an effort to keep me well.
Yesterday I had someone share with me that a friend of theirs had recently been diagnosed with colon cancer…….and she asked me what were some of my favorite things that folks did for me. We messaged back and forth with ideas, etc and she recommended that I do a blog post featuring my favorite things……she said “people want to help, but don’t always know how”. Well here goes……..and these are in no particular order.
- Meal Train – having friends arrange an on-line meal train was wonderful. It allowed us to pick days we did or didn’t want meal deliveries. On days when I felt like crap and didn’t feel like eating – at least there were meals here for CC and Hunter. It was a true blessing. https://www.mealtrain.com
- Silk Pillowcase – a dear friend sent me a pink silk pillowcase and after I lost my hair from chemo. Even though my hair is growing back now – I haven’t been able to give up my pillowcase! https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=pink+silk+pillowcase
- Chemo Bag – I bought a Scout Bag with several pockets and used that for my chemo bag. Inside I packed the following: blanket, phone charger, hand sanitizer, orange tic tacs (to help with the taste of saline when they flushed my port), snacks, lip balm, Cusomething to read, hand wipes, ACT lozenges for dry mouth, https://www.scoutbags.com/dippin-dots-pocket-rocket-pocket-tote-bag?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&adpos=1o6&UTM_campaign=general&scid=scplp16150&sc_intid=16150&gclid=Cj0KCQiAzrTUBRCnARIsAL0mqcwPnVAYXPwFymRa8-Apo-ruBdzfMIqe4dS4HNLe1Jd945nrydWFu-kaAjQQEALw_wcB
- Transportation – having friends and family arrange to transport me to doctors appointments, chemotherapy sessions and radiation treatments was such a blessing.
- Journal & great pens – having a journal to record visits, calls, thoughts, etc was very therapeutic.
- Gift cards – during chemo when I was battling with mouth sores, soups were about the only thing I could eat. We have a deli in town that has a variety of soups. I was gifted several rounds of gift cards there and they were such a blessing. But gift cards in general are great – that would allow the family the ability to grab dinner on the go at times.
- Books – hands down this was my favorite read. https://www.amazon.com/Fight-Back-Joy-Celebrate-Greatest/dp/1617950890
- Milkshakes – on days when eating just wasn’t in the cards……and nothing sounded good – a banana milk shake was my go-to. I had folks call or text at random times to say “I’m in town, can I bring you a milkshake”?. YESSSSS please!
- Adult Coloring Books & Pencils – these offer a great escape when you’re sitting and waiting in the hospital.
- Cute Caps – these are definitely a MUST – even if they lose their hair in the summer time, your head still gets cold. Do you knit or crochet? Even better! Make them some super cute caps!
- Lip balm – chemo really really dried out my lips – so I kept lip balm on my nightstand, in the car, on the end table, in my coat pocket……..you get the picture.
- Cleaning – whether you go and do a few loads of laundry or clean out the refrigerator – those are truly great gifts. Or maybe you prefer to pay a cleaning service to come in and clean – that works too!
- Port shirt – these are fantastic for chemo. The zippers allow for super easy access to the port. They come in several different colors and long and short sleeves! http://www.survivorroom.com/chemo-port-accessible-womens-pink-long-sleeve-shirt-by-comfy-chemo/?utm_medium=googleshopping&utm_source=bc
- Cards of Encouragement – I have received an enormous amount of cards since my diagnosis. Some days I got a bunch and then some days just a few – but I treasured each one. If you are a card sender – DO NOT underestimate the value of sending cards. They are truly treasured!
- Goody baskets – Gosh, I got my very first taste of Shari’s Berries last summer. Can you say DELICIOUS??? Goodness these things were awesome. https://www.berries.com I also received a wonderful gift basket with lots of yummy goodness from NC. NC Country ham, pancake mix, grits, and homemade preserves. Yummy! These were gifts the entire family was able to enjoy!
- Schedule some time to just hang out – we really get sick of ONLY talking about cancer……I promise. I remember one day a friend came by and had lunch with me and was sharing about a work issue. She apologized for venting to me saying something like “you have cancer and here I am going on about this small issue”. NO!!! I WELCOMED the distraction. Cancer patients are still normal human beings. We want to talk about kids, school, church, what’s going on in the world around us, vacation plans, etc. Just schedule an hour or so to just come by, hang out and catch up. Normal feels good.
- Therapy lunches or getaways – i tried as much as possible to still have our weekly therapy lunches with my girls. It didn’t always happen – but when I felt like it, we always tried to work something out. Again – keep doing what you’ve always done. And if the patient is well enough to sneak away for a few days – a girl or guys weekend away can do wonders.
- Shop for a wig – losing my hair wasn’t such a big deal for me – but the idea of shopping for a wig was a little scary. I was fortunate to have a wonderful friend from church who offered to take me to Raleigh to the Gallery of Wigs. A trip I truly dreaded turned into SO – MUCH – FUN! If you’re a great encourager – offer to take them shopping for wigs! https://www.galleryofwigs.com
- Make life normal for the kids – this one was HUGE for me. my son was 14 when I was diagnosed with cancer. Fourteen is difficult enough on a good day – but factor in a mom battling cancer, and that just gets even more complicated. Having folks offer to take my child places, do things with him, invite him to movies, games, etc – anything to get him AWAY from the house and the constant reminder of cancer. That was a HUGE blessing to me. So if you can borrow the kid for a play date, a day at the lake, a trip to get ice cream, movies, dinner out – ANYTHING…….I promise you if you are keeping their kids engaged, that’s blessing the patient also!
I’m sure I will think of many more ideas – but these were just the ones that stood out. I will try to keep this page updated with ideas so the next time I’m asked, I can just send them a link to this post! I can promise you that no act of kindness – no matter how small or great – will go unnoticed. I was and continue to be thankful for everything that has been done for me and my family. My “tribe” and my community showed up in big and small ways – and I am forever grateful!
I hope this list helps those of you who were looking for ideas. And by all means – if any of you have great ideas you’d like to add, please send me a note and I’ll add your favorites also!
Luke 6:38 New International Version (NIV)
38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
Hebrews 13:2 New International Version (NIV)
2 Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.