Helpful Things To Do For a Cancer Patient
A while ago a friend asked what was the nicest thing that someone had done for me when I was diagnosed with cancer and undergoing chemotherapy. I immediately knew the answer. The extreme, incapacitating fatigue during chemotherapy, forced me to take a leave of absence from my teaching position. I soon found that looking forward to the mail was the highlight of my day. Each morning, my husband would bring me the mail and I enjoyed the beautiful cards and notes sent by friends and family.
The cards and notes brought such pleasure and happiness. In all fairness, I did not want to talk on the phone and found it difficult to talk about my illness. I would recommend that one person is designated to inform the family as to the status of the patient. Fortunately, my husband kept our family updated.
Suggestions to let someone know you care
I am old fashioned and still send notes and cards to family and friends. However, even frequent emails or texts can let the cancer patient know that they are not forgotten. Below are some suggestions that cancer patients have said are helpful during their experience.1 These types of acts helped me tremendously and some are simple ways to let a friend or loved one with cancer know that you care.
Stay in touch
As noted above, whether by cards, emails, texts, this lets the cancer patient know that you are thinking about him/her. Remember the patient may not have a great amount of energy but may enjoy a brief visit or lunch date. I appreciated updates from my coworkers which kept me in the loop and prepared to return when able.
Prepare meals or snacks
It is said that when one door is closed, another is opened. This was true in my life. A few months after my cancer diagnosis, my husband’s position was eliminated. While very upsetting, it turned out to be a tremendous help. My husband was available to cook and care for me during my chemotherapy treatments. Precooked meals, groceries or snacks delivered would be greatly appreciated by patients.
Join for doctor visits or treatments
I was fortunate to have my husband drive and accompany me for my treatments. It would be comforting to have a friend or relative available to help pass the time.
Run some errands
We all have things that need to be done. Asking a cancer patient if there are things that need to be done, would be a tremendous help.
Send or drop off little gift boxes
Everyone likes surprises. I can remember receiving a meditation tape that was most comforting. Think about the likes of your friend or family. A favorite book, sweets, goodies, any of these show that you care.
Help with chores
Fortunately, my son lives nearby and was able to help with chores. It would be most helpful if friends or neighbors could help with mowing the yard, raking leaves, shoveling snow and other tasks around the home that might typically be done by the cancer patient or their loved ones.
Participate in fundraising for their cause
My family and friends participated in Light the Night Walk for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in my name. This action provided personal support as well as efforts to research and manage blood cancers.
Having cancer is not easy. Often a cancer patient will not ask for help. Friends and family are in a perfect position to provide love, support and meaningful acts of kindness which can make a difference.
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