A hand holding a bag of lotion, socks, lemons, lemonade, and candy

Lemons to Lemonade

Last updated: September 2019

Sometimes life hands you lemons, but you always have the ability to make lemonade out of them if you just add a little sweetness. My daughter, Crystal, was handed a lemon when she was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma at 25, but she figured out a way to add a little sugar and make everything a bit sweeter. Here is how she made lemonade from the lemon she was handed.

Being prepared makes the day easier

Anyone going through chemo knows how long the treatments can take. Crystal’s were usually at least two hours and that’s after we finally got into the chemo room. Many times, we had to wait in the waiting area for a room to open. After the first treatment, we learned to bring a bag of things to do with us so we wouldn’t be bored while waiting. Some of the things we took were computers and phones. (A no-brainer, right?! What we didn’t always remember were chargers for these items. Don’t forget the chargers!) Besides computers, we took a few comfort items. Crystal was usually cold, so we always needed a blanket. Also, we had coloring books and colored pencils, hard candy, lotion, and a hand sanitizer. Occasionally, we threw in other stuff, but we always made sure to have things to do and some type of hard candy to help Crystal fight off any nausea. Frequently, these items were sent to her by well-wishing friends, family, and sometimes even strangers.

Finding a way to make lemonade from Hodgkin lymphoma

Crystal was very fortunate and had a lot of support. She got lots of gifts and well wishes as she went through chemo, and this helped her so much on her healing journey. When she finished treatment and got a clean bill of health, she knew she wanted to pay the kindness she received forward. Remembering all the things we took with us on treatment day gave Crystal and idea to make chemo bags for others. It wasn’t easy and it was very expensive. She didn’t have much money, but she put in what she could and then she asked for donations. So many people wanted to help with this venture and she received bags, lotions, hats, nausea candy, coloring books, and colored pencils. She added blankets and socks to the bags as well. The best part of this was that someone would be surprised when they received one of the bags. Everyone loves to get a gift and it’s especially wonderful to get one when you are going through such a tough time.

Grateful for outpourings of support

Crystal is still trying to put bags together for others, but she doesn’t always have the time to pack the bags and get them out. A few organizations have offered to help and she has been so appreciative of this. She used to send the bags out using UPS, but that got too expensive. She now donates them to the local hospital’s oncology department and her local Veterans hospital. When I go to visit, I usually help her get some bags together so they are ready for delivery.

Sharing the kindness and paying it forward

Paying it forward has really made Crystal feel good. She loves helping others and doing this has always helped her to feel as though she’s making a difference. If you know someone going through a tough time, consider doing some sort of a kind gesture. It is a sure way to help you both!

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