Often times we don’t know what we will need or what will help while going through cancer treatment. Friends and family want to “do” something, but I found that I didn’t always know what to ask for or what I would need. In hindsight I certainly can think of what helped (and at times, what didn’t) the most, but I thought it would be good to compile a list for those newly diagnosed of items and ways in which others helped. That way they can have an answer to give when those who care for them ask “what can I do to help”.
Physically, I found ready made food very helpful, but make
sure to give some requests or you may end up with 12 lasagna’s
Cooling pack and fan were also helpful with those nasty hot flashes.
Emotionally, having a peer person, someone who had gone through the experience of cancer and chemo was the biggest help.
What did you find the most helpful during your treatment?
I found that even to get a text from a friend or relative that they were thinking about me helped. You are right, people don't always know what to do, but want to do something to help if they can.
Books!!! I have never read so many books in my life! My sleep patterns were severely disrupted and I would find myself wide awake for hours in the middle of the night. Books became my best friend in those dark hours.
Sometimes it's hard to concentrate for any length of time, so a variety of puzzle books - or puzzles and games on the iPad helped too. My son gave me an iPad before my surgery and it continues to be a good source or amusement and distraction.
Ginger Tea! I must have cornered the market in my area. I still drink to settle my recovering stomach.
I was lucky enough to have my mom’s cooking during my treatment and that could sometimes be very comforting. There was a point when my nausea became severe and I had terrible abdominal pain. After several visits to the emergency, they confirmed that I had complications and that I needed another surgery for a bowel blockage. I will always remember how terrified I was and that I was physically exhausted, but when I finally came home my mother’s freshly prepared meals helped me pull through.
Another thing that stands out in my mind is how my dentist supported me right after my diagnosis. She could understand pretty well where I was coming from because she’s a breast cancer survivor. She sent me a beautiful handwritten card just before my first chemotherapy treatment and I’ll never forget receiving her heartfelt words of encouragement when I needed them most.
@BrittMK that is such a sweet and thoughtful gift, great idea!
@Jackie I am so sorry to hear about all of the complications, that is awful. I'm glad you had your momma and her cooking to take of you though. ❤️
One of my mom's friends has a daughter who makes Chemo packages which contained, a funky water bottle, gum, fuzzy socks, healthy snacks, a puzzle book and a worry rock. Of all the items, the worry rock was my favorite as I would hold it when things were getting to me and would feel better afterwards. I still carry it in my wallet.
My family actually used caringbridge.org during the illness and recovery of a family member and it worked really well. We did not use the scheduling component. I will also post these in the Books, Resources and Websites discussion. Let me know if you find them helpful.