woman about to eat a large stack of pancakes

Rituals, Pancakes, and the Ride

On treatment day, do you have a ritual? My daughter, Crystal did. When Crystal was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma when she was 25, we decided to go to Memorial Sloan Kettering for her care and treatments. We were told that she would have to go for chemo every two weeks. To help Crystal prepare herself for what was to come, she started a few rituals on treatment morning. Having pancakes and trying to enjoy the ride were two of them.

Preparing for treatment day

Like most everyone, Crystal hated treatment days. As they loomed closer, she would start to feel more anxious. The one thing she looked forward to was having chocolate chip pancakes every morning on treatment day. Crystal would whip up a batch of pancakes and throw some chocolate chips in the mix. When they were done, she would sit down, add some syrup, and have herself a bit of a feast. This always seemed to make her feel a little calmer and better able to face the day and what was ahead of her. She did this same thing for each of her treatments. It helped her to get mentally prepared for the day and what lay ahead.

The ride to chemo

When Crystal finished her pancakes, we started on our journey to the treatment center. We had at least an hour and a half trip each way. Crystal was usually sick on the way home, but on the way there we tried to do something fun. Sometimes Crystal would make a video for her Facebook friends or we just might make a funny video for laughs. Other times, we might stop to shop or check out a new place that was on the way. Occasionally, we would get a juice or something to snack on. This was usually for me, but Crystal liked the distraction. It helped her to take her mind off of the chemo treatment she was about to endure. She was usually nervous because the treatments would knock her out for a week, so she tried to do something to not think about the inevitable. Trying to make the trip fun helped a little.

Mentally preparing for chemo

Everyone is different, but sometimes having a ritual helps to mentally prepare for a situation. For Crystal, enjoying pancakes and the ride down to her treatments helped her to feel a little relaxed and take her mind off of the stress of knowing what she was going to go through. As her mom, I was glad for anything that helped her to feel a little better. I knew how hard the treatments were on her.

Since these few simple things helped Crystal I thought I would share. Maybe this will be an idea for others to use. One additional thing Crystal did was to do a countdown of her treatments. Each week, she had someone make her a poster which she posted to her Facebook page. As the countdown got closer to the end, she would start to feel relieved. Crystal also looked forward to checking her social media accounts. People were so kind in sending her positive thoughts and prayers. This also helped her to feel better about the day. Sometimes it’s just the little things. Sending well wishes to all of you.

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