Crystal, Mia, & the Importance of Distractions

Occasionally, we all need to have a distraction. Diverting our attention can be helpful in so many ways. Sometimes we need a break from our jobs, our friends or families, and sometimes just from our own thoughts. When going through cancer, taking our minds off our illness can be very therapeutic. Friends usually help with this, and having a good friend can be so important.

Searching for a distraction from cancer

When my daughter, Crystal, found out she had Hodgkin lymphoma, she had to come home. Since we, her parents, live in a different state, Crystal had to leave her friends. Luckily, she found a friend in her niece, Mia. Prior to cancer, on her visits home, Crystal always spent time with Mia. They seemed to have a special bond, but her visits were usually only about a week long. However, when Crystal was diagnosed with cancer, she came home for treatment and was here for over 6 months.

Crystal and Mia became extremely close. At the time, Mia was 3 going on 4 years old and she idolized her Aunt Crystal. I think that for Crystal, Mia was a fun distraction to everything else going on in her life. Crystal and Mia would listen to music and dance, make videos, try on makeup and hats, or play with her wigs. They both enjoyed each other’s company and it gave them both something to look forward to during Crystal’s good weeks. Spending time together was good for both of them.

How loved ones can help provide distractions

I think one of the best things you can do for someone going through cancer is to help them find other things for focus on besides their disease. Any kind of distraction would be helpful. Crystal was sick and she had to focus on taking medications, trying to find foods that didn’t make her sick, going to doctor’s visits, and getting treatments. This took up a lot of her life, but spending time with her niece, her dog Chloe, going for bike rides when she was up to it, and blogging were all helpful distractions for her.

If you can, help someone with cancer have something else to think about and enjoy - even if it’s for just a day. A night out for dinner, a movie, or just stopping in and sharing a cup of coffee or tea will help. Of course, if you have time, bring a dinner over to help. They will really appreciate having a night off from cooking. Helping them will help you feel good too!

Remembering to enjoy life when we can

Crystal hated thinking about all she was going through and tried every day to find things to do to take her mind off her illness. Having Mia to spend time with was very helpful to her. Mia was a happy, energetic little girl and she usually put a smile on Crystal’s face and helped to lift the depression she sometimes felt. I believe everyone needs some sort of distraction like that. Knowing we have cancer doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy our lives. If we are always focused on the cancer, it will be hard to enjoy all that the world has to offer. Try to find that thing or person that helps you to smile and enjoy life, because after all, we only live once.

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