My Point Person for all things THIS is Jenipher. She can answer any questions I haven’t addressed here.
1. Deliver a meal. Please ask in advance if I have any dietary restrictions or have any aversions to some ingredients. Stay for a visit, or just drop off the food if I’m not up for it (I can place a cooler outside the front door for this).
2. Deliver containers of several pre-made meals I can heat up as needed. Use storage containers you don’t need returned.
3. Bring groceries or some other needed item. There’s no point in being shy. If you need toilet paper, you need toilet paper (or lavender mentholatum!)
4. Send a housekeeper to clean up my place. Take care of the details so I just need to be there to open the door (or leave instructions for where the key is hidden). My parents have someone coming in once a month, but someone recently pointed out how nice it would be to come back from treatment days to a clean home. I can’t argue with logic like that!
5. Send a flower or edible bouquet delivery. However, make sure I’m not on neutropenic precautions first; fresh flowers and raw fruit can be an infection risk for cancer patients with weakened immune systems.
6. Order take-out and have it delivered.
7. Gift a magazine or newspaper subscription.
8. Gift some soft chunky yarn.
9. Take me out to a nice beauty treatment. Think: manicure/pedicure, facial, makeup application, etc. It’s likely the first time I’ve splurged on my appearance in a while…other than my hottie Scotty looking after my hairs 😉
10. Gift a hat, wig, or scarf.
11. Gift a super comfy blanket, stuffed animal, or pillow (good for couch lounging or trips to chemo).
12. Gift a gift card for groceries, restaurants, gas, etc. Vitamins and trips to Chapel Hill add up quick.
Gifts of Time
13. Send a quick email, text, or message saying you’re thinking of me. Seriously. You have no idea what that means to me.
14. Add “No need to respond” to the end of your message — I’ll appreciate hearing from you without feeling the need to do anything in return.
15. Add “Feel free to take me up on this offer whenever” when you offer help — I’ll know the offer will still be sincere whenever they need it (in a week, a month, a year).
16. Set a calendar alert reminding you to check in with a quick hello or offer of help.
17. Send a text the next time you’re near my pharmacy to see if I need any prescriptions picked up.
18. Offer to take me out for a coffee or lunch date.
19. Offer to visit. Check that I’m feeling up for it.
20. Offer to take me out to a movie. If I’m too tired, come by with a rental and stay to watch it with me.
21. Offer a ride to chemo and keep me company during the treatment. Please see here for details.
22. Drive me to _____________. Sometimes a girl just needs a little retail therapy or a car ride.
23. Let me know you’re “on call” for emergencies. Mean it.
24. Take me for a walk. Get me out of the house so we can enjoy the fresh air.
25. Pray for me. I’ll take all the help I can get.
26. Tell me you love and care about me. Even if I don’t have the energy to respond, your message means a lot.
27. Keep those cards coming. Make sure it’s legible — cancer eyes are tired eyes 🙂
28. Understand that a cancer patient is likely too overwhelmed to ask what they need; take the initiative by offering specifics, instead of saying, “Let me know if there’s anything I can do for you.”
29. Remember to still be there a few months after the diagnosis, when it’s not so new anymore. The fanfare will have died down, but I will still be struggling and needing logistical and emotional help.
30. Offer to be the “communication person” that updates others about my state of health; it can get difficult to have to share the details over and over. On that note, when you check in, don’t always ask for all the details about the current state of my health.
31. Say, “Give me a task.” Maybe it will be laundry, or an errand, or picking up groceries. Be in and out. No socializing needed.
32. Text or email a silly joke or photo.
33. Just listen. Don’t give advice, don’t try to be cheery — just listen and let me talk.
34. Ask what I need from you most right now… and then do it.
35. Cancer isn’t contagious — give me a hug to let me know you’re on #TeamPamda.
36. Offer to come by and take Fergus for a walk.
37. Help me with the laundry. Washing it, folding it. I’ll take what I can get! I’ve even got laundry baskets ready for pick up and delivery 😀
38. Help me with my trash and recycling… Out Monday evening and it darn well better be back in by 6:00 AM or else!
39. We don’t get much snow, but shoveling my walk if we do would be wonderful.