There is really nothing that can prepare you for a cancer diagnosis. It is a shocking and momentary devastation that is overwhelming on so many different levels for both the individual and their families. Prior and post to my own cancer diagnoses, I have been on the other side of this disease as I have witnessed so many loved ones go through their own journeys. I know how helpless it can feel and the automatic need to fix it or take away the flurry of overwhelming emotions. And simply respecting someone’s privacy is sometimes the best thing you can do. But for me, I found a few things that can be helpful, especially in those early days of diagnoses.
So below I have put together some of my top picks that can be helpful to anyone who is hearing “you have cancer” for the first time. This is a list both intended for individuals and for those wanting to do something to help that individual with practical gifts. Obviously this is skewed to my preferences, but you will get the idea. At the end of the day, the best support you can provide anyone is to simply let them know you are there for them in whatever way feels supportive. And prayers certainly don’t hurt either.
1. The Top 11 Tips For Cancer Patients
- This post from fellow thriver (also diagnosed on Valentine’s Day) and one of my favorite teachers Kris Carr is full of relevant and tangible resources. If you or someone you know has been newly diagnosed, these tips will be a game changer. Read them and share the love.
2. My Favorite Product Picks
- Contour Products Backmax Foam Bed Wedge System– this was key for my surgery recovery and for my bed ridden days.
- Barefoot Dreams – these are the coziest socks, robes and blankets ever and some of the best gifts I received from friends and family.
- Splendid – cute and cozy pajamas are now a staple for me.
3. My Favorite Book Picks
- One Bite at a Time, Revised: Nourishing Recipes for Cancer Survivors and Their Friends
- Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips
- Radical Remission: Surviving Cancer Against All Odds
4. Other Helpful Ideas
- Find a house cleaning service – This is a great way to provide support. Gather a group of friends and arrange for a cleaning service on a weekly basis or specifically around treatment periods. There is nothing better (well, that may be an exaggeration:-) than coming home from chemo to clean house.
- Offer to go to the grocery and/or purchase gift cards – Ask your loved one or friend to send you their list and do the grocery shopping for them. You can also purchase a gift card at their favorite natural food store like Whole Foods Market so they can stock up on nutrient and nourishing rich foods.
- Fresh Flowers – As I ‘ve shared before, my cousins all got together and arranged to have flowers delivered weekly throughout my treatment. It literally brightened my entire week!
- Self-Care – Find out if they have a favorite acupuncturist or place for reflexology or manicure/pedicure and purchase a gift certificate. You can offer to join them if they feel up for company!
- Kid-Care – Offering to help with carpool, play dates, and dinners for the kids so they can get some quite time and rest can be super helpful.