- Call before you decide to drop in. Always. Sure you may have the best of intentions, but if you don't then the person you are visiting will not be able to enjoy your visit. They will sit there the entire time thinking about how bad they look or how messy their house is.
- Don't let the illness dominate the conversation. Sure, I don't mind talking about it, but there is more to me than cancer. I would much rather talk about my kids or a good sale I heard about than cancer.
- Keep in mind that things can change a lot from day to day. I may have had on a full face of makeup and had my house clean last time I saw you, but that was a good day. A really, really good day. It's not unusual for me to be sitting around in my Hello Kitty pj's all day because it wears me out too much to move.
- Put your money where your mouth is. Right after my diagnosis I had so many people tell me that if I needed anything, anything at all to let them know. Guess what? It's amazing how hard it is to find these very people when you need them. You know who has been my biggest helpers? My mom, dad, husband and children. My husband and I have a huge family, yet he, my parents and our three children have been the only ones to help out. My twelve year old cooks dinner pretty much every night. When my husband can't take me to a doctors appointment then my parents take me. If my parents aren't taking me then they are watching the kids for me. Sometimes this is extremely depressing to me, but then I realize that it's okay because I know these six people love me more than anything in the world and that is more than enough for me.
- Please do not think that I am a babysitter. Yes, you read that right. I cannot begin to tell you how many people want to drop their kids off at my house because they know the girls and I will be home. Seriously, it blows my mind that people think it's okay to go off shopping and leave their kids with me for hours on end.
- Offer to do something with the kids. I give kudos to one of the girls friends mothers. She has hosted many sleepovers for my baby and I love her for that. It gives my child a sense of normalcy and I will always be grateful to her for that.
- Please stop with all the cancer articles on facebook. If I have to read through another beautiful, moving story about a husband/wife/son/daughter/etc. that went through cancer only to get to the end of the article and find out the person died, well someone might get hurt. Believe it or not it's a little depressing reading about someone going through the same thing as you and not making it. Also, just because you have a cancer diagnosis does not mean you have a death sentence.
- Keep in mind that cancer is a very expensive thing. I have had to turn down a few invites to things because frankly, I can't afford them. Co-pays, these of course vary depending on your insurance, but even if you have fantastic insurance they still add up. You have to spend money on gas going back and forth to appointments. My hospital is not that far from my house, but when you have to go back and forth every day, the cost of gas starts to really add up. You miss work. In my case, I have not been able to work in months. By the way, if your place of employment offers disability insurance, get it. I'm only part time so I'm not able to get it through my job, but oh it would have been nice to have a supplemental insurance!
- Don't make assumptions based on someone else's experience. My mother in law has a really hard time understanding why I can't do a lot of things. Why? Because her brother in law had some skin cancer spots removed from his face and is just fine. What she fails to realize is that he didn't have to go through any kind of treatment such as radiation or chemotherapy.
- And last, but not least.. be patient with us. Not only do I move a lot slower these days, but sometimes I forget things. I find myself telling my family "I'll try my best, but I can't make any promises." It's not that I'm not a person of my word, but sometimes I am not able to do things or as mentioned before I forget. It's not that I don't care, it's just that some things are out of my control right now.
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Some suggestions for friends and family dealing with cancer
I am currently about half way through my cancer treatments and I thought I would throw together a little list of things to keep in mind if you have a friend of family going through the same thing. Most of these things are pretty much common sense, but some are things that you might not think of unless you or a family/friend have been through it.