Friday, June 26, 2015

How can you help?

Yesterday was quite a day! After publishing my initial post and putting it on facebook, I was flooded with comments, texts, calls, and private messages. I loved and appreciated every single one. Thank you. Thank you. Your love and support means more to me than you know. Your kind words very much lifted my spirits and moved me. The survival stories gave me hope. Knowing I'm not alone is comforting. Amazing.

Many of you said if there's anything you can do, to ask. It's difficult for me to even accept help, let alone ask for it (I hate to impose!), so I'll put it here and if you want to do any of these things, just let me know. It's easier for me if you ding me and say, "When are you available for lunch this week?" than to leave an open invitation.

My physical needs are mostly covered at this point. I have plenty of food and since I'll be moving in with Michael and his family, I'll be taken care of in that way. It's more the emotional needs:

  • Tell me survival stories. This is what I need the very most right now. Please refrain from telling me about your friend/relative/etc. who died from cancer. I don't need to hear it.
  • Make me laugh. This is number two...humor is my coping mechanism. Tell me jokes (including irreverent ones about cancer), funny stories, tease me, Although I am taking the danger and treatment very seriously, I am making as light of the situation as I can. 
  • Give me useful, substantiated information, resources, etc. "Things they don't tell you" survival tips are awesome. Please refrain from telling me things you really can't substantiate or aren't qualified to give.
  • Keep me accountable. Don't allow me to wallow in self pity or dominate every conversation with my tales of woe and "cancer, cancer, cancer!" Feel free to threaten to call the Wah-mbulance.
  • Take me out to lunch, a movie, to play games, and other fun distractions. I may not always feel up to going out, so I might counter with hanging out at home with you. Weekdays are the most important because I'll have Michael in the evenings and on weekends (plus teaching some dance lessons), but I'll accept invitations then too. Especially if he can come.
  • If you live far away or don't have time/inclination/whatever to get together in person, we can chat on facebook. Just don't be offended if I don't have time to answer right away.
  • When I really need to go ahead and cry it out, let me, give me a tissue and a bucket if I need to hurl, but then help me pull out of it. Remind me this is temporary. 
  • I might need rides to chemo/radiation/etc. appointments, if you're available weekdays during the week. I don't know when this will start or any other details.
That's all I can think of at the moment. If you have any other ideas, let me know!

I was asked in a comment on the last post to write about how the diagnosis came about (how I discovered it, etc) and I will absolutely do so. I'll also probably do some to capture those "things they don't tell you," resources, etc, as well as just share my feelings and progress. 

No doc appointment yet so I've been told to call on monday if they don't call me today. 


  1. Humor will definitely help. My tips: Wear your own PJs if you are in the hospital. Makes you feel so much better than wearing their gowns. My big tip is to bring your own toilet paper. The side effects of treatment, at least for mine - though it may be different with breast cancer- have you running for the bathroom all day long some days. And hospital toilet paper is like sand paper.

    Bring your own pillow and blanket as well. If anything sounds good to eat or drink- try it. I found myself able to eat things I wouldn't normally eat.

    Force yourself to get up and shower every day. Aside from the importance of getting bacteria off your skin, it makes you get up and move which, while exhausting, will help you heal faster. (again, this was with my cancer, so might be different with yours)

    Wish I was closer and could take you out or visit you. But I am giving you lots of virtual love!

  2. I am in a water aerobics class with a number of other cancer survivors, so we're definitely here, happy, and active, on the other side of treatments! My cancer was thyroid, so I don't have a lot to offer on specifics for breast cancer treatment. One thing is that your appetite will be all over the place, but things like melon and fresh fruit may hit the spot--make sure you have it cut up and on hand, so that it's easy for you to eat when you can. And in the humor department, I went to see 50/50 during my second round of radiation--my husband was initially worried that it would be too dark, but it was absolutely hilarious and just what I needed at that stage. All the best with your journey.