How can friends and family help during treatment?

edited September 1 in Just want to talk

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?





Comments

  • Good question! I'm fortunate enough to have a wonderful husband who went above and beyond the call to help me during treatment. He seemed to be able to anticipate what I would need and quite often reminded me that it was time for a nap - and darn it all - he was usually right!!  LOL

    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.
  • One thing that I saw done, so I did it for a friend, was to pick up one of those cheap little mp3 players and just pack it full of fun, uplifting music. 
  • JackieJackie
    edited September 3

    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.  

  • @kastoyles that is wonderful! I wasn't really able to read, found it too exhausting but I did listen to many audiobooks and podcasts. What was the best read?

    @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 the most remarkable things done for me after my diagnosis was a generous gift of Skip the Dishes credits, bought with donations collected by my work colleagues. I was able to use them to feed my two teenage boys on those days when I couldn't do a thing. I also benefited greatly from friends checking in often with me via texts. I found that friends felt the need to help in a concrete way. People brought food, did laundry, grocery shopping, drove me to/from chemo, yardwork, and even did a few runs to the dump!
  • @jemgirljeri - I'm a musician so the importance of music is always front and center on my mind... I know my own playlists have helped to get me through a lot of the more challenging or 'down' times 
  • @jemgirljeri What a great topic - thanks for posting!
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