giveaway

Giveaway #17: Cancer Care Gift Tote from Choose Hope

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Karen Shreves of Choose Hope has donated this Cancer Care Gift Tote to one lucky winner.

Visit Choose Hope’s website:  www.choosehope.com

Visit Choose Hope on Facebook HERE.  Follow Choose Hope on Instagram HERE.

***ENTER TO WIN THE GIVEAWAY HERE***

Our Cancer Care Gift Tote is the perfect gift for anyone newly diagnosed or going through surgery, radiation, or even chemotherapy. Designed by our very own cancer survivors, this heavyweight tote includes everything necessary for medical appointments, treatments, hospital stays or just lounging at home. Screened with our inspirational trademarked phrase, “No One Fights Alone,” the tote has a secured zipper main compartment with a curved zippered front pocket. It allows for easy storage of cell phones, tablets, keys, appointment cards, notebooks, etc. Made of 600D polyester canvas, it measures 14″ x 18″ x 3.5″. It’s better than your ordinary gift basket and filled with the following very special items:

  • Soft Plush Blanket – Comfy and warm. Measures 50″ x 60″, 100% polyester, machine washable. Colors vary (please see photos).
  • No One Fights Alone® Ribbon Awareness Water Bottle – 28 oz. water bottle with colored ribbon.  Domed screw-on cap and buckle clasp keeps it germ-free.  Perfect for keeping your body hydrated.
  • Cozy Slipper Socks – Soft and comfy socks that are sure to warm those cold feet on any day! Complete with dot grips to prevent slipping. Colors will vary (please see photos).
  • What Cancer Cannot Do® Notebook – Screened with the popular poem, What Cancer Cannot Do, this 5′ x 7″ notebook is perfect for jotting down thoughts, questions and medical information. Comes complete with matching pen.
  • Hand Sanitizer – 2 ounce bottle with a push lid for easy opening and closing. Perfect for keeping those germs away!
  • Framed Magnetic What Cancer Cannot Do Poem – 4″ x 6″ magnetic frame that holds the popular poem What Cancer Cannot Do. Provides a great reminder that cancer has its limitations.
  • Dionis Lip Balm – Infused with nourishing goat’s milk and antioxidant Vitamin E. Free of parafin, phthalate and gluten (Vanilla Bean flavor).
  • Dionis Body Lotion – Specially blended formula full of goat’s milk, vitamins and proteins needed to replenish moisture. Fragrance free makes it perfect for cancer patients.

The Cancer Care Tote is truly one of the nicest things that you can do for someone who has just been diagnosed. All items are of the highest quality and have been carefully designed and manufactured to make the cancer journey a little more bearable. And with a variety of cancer colors to choose from, this is a a thoughtful and useful gift that is sure to be appreciated!

Please note the Pink Tote for Breast Cancer has our Pink Ribbon Socks.

giveaway

Giveaway #15: $45 Gift Certificate to Dress With Ease

Dress With Ease has donated THREE $45 Gift Certificates to their store.  Adaptive clothing from Dress With Ease will be helpful for anyone who has recently had a mastectomy, lumpectomy, or sentinel node removal, or even reconstructive surgeries that make raising the arms difficult.

Visit the Dress With Ease Etsy shop here: www.etsy.com/shop/dresswithease

***ENTER TO WIN HERE***

Our goal for DressWithEase is already in the name, to provide you or anyone you love with clothing that can be worn, well, easily. We want to be able to provide you with Adaptive Clothing that suits your needs, while also introducing different colors, patterns, and designs to keep things interesting. Please be sure to pop in our store every once in a while to check out what’s new! And if you have any ideas in mind for some Adaptive Clothing options we could possibly make for you that you feel would help you and many others like you make sure to let us know. Help us, help you.

Our Adaptive Clothing line is made special for ANYONE who struggles with anything from simply putting on a T-shirt to slipping on a dress. We have been making these clothes for two decades, and we have had the pleasure of aiding people who have either: had surgery, suffered from strokes, become bedridden, suffered from an injury, or just found putting on regular clothes by themselves to be too daunting of a task.

guest blogger

Every Day

By Sheryl De Witte

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I survived something that could have killed me.  I made it through with the prayers and help from my family, my friends, and my co-workers.

I was consumed by the emotions of fear and shock after receiving my diagnosis; everything moved quickly and was a blur. First were the chemo treatments, followed by a Bilateral Mastectomy and finally reconstruction.  That was it; I was done: I was told “there’s no evidence of disease”.  I was beyond excited and relieved, I had done it, and I had survived! It was time to get back to my life the way it was before breast cancer; everyone around me had already moved on, so why can’t I?

Every day I’m reminded that I had breast cancer. When I walk out of the shower in the morning, I can’t help but see the scars on my chest in the bathroom mirror.  Scars from the port surgeries are sometimes visible to others, but the large scars that haunt me are big and only seen by me and my husband.  They run from my sternum to under my arms and are intersected by another scar that goes up to where my nipples used to be.  There are more scars under my arms from where the lymph nodes were removed and the drains inserted.  I can’t help but remember when I first looked at myself a couple of days after surgery and how horrified I was at what I saw.  I looked like something out of a horror movie.  My breasts were gone and in their place I had large, angry looking incisions that had been sewn together.   I had horrible bruising, drainage tubes coming out of me, and I had no nipples.  Had I made the right choice?  This decision truly had been mine, and I thought I was prepared, but I wasn’t.

Every day I am frustrated by an increased anxiety which I do not understand and cannot seem to get under control.  It hits randomly and sometimes viciously.  I get apprehensive in groups of people, or when I’m waiting for something or someone.  It makes my stomach upset, so I never go anywhere without finding the nearest restroom and knowing my escape route. It limits me and makes me wish somedays that I never had to leave my house.

Every day I think about how I need to lose weight, how I should be eating only “healthy” foods and exercising.  But I’m tired, my energy hasn’t fully returned.  When I come home from work all I want to do is sit on the couch.  I try to not drink anything out of a plastic bottle, and I no longer use regular deodorant; instead I use the natural stuff because it’s supposed to be better for me.  I have no idea what caused my breast cancer; if I only knew then I would be certain to never eat or drink it again, or to never use that product anywhere.

Every day I get hot flashes.  My coworkers are all cold, and many have heaters on- not me, I’ve got my fan on, and I dress like it’s summer, even in the dead of a Minnesota winter.

Every day I try to get back to where I was before breast cancer, but I can’t.  You see my sister is dying from breast cancer.  Her cancer came back, even though she had done everything right.  She ate healthier, she exercised, and she had had Chemo, a Bilateral Mastectomy, Radiation and reconstruction.  Still, it came back with a vengeance.  She too had been told there was “no evidence of disease”.

I know I need to move on and not live with the fear of it coming back, but I don’t know how to do that.  I hope that over time my scars and anxiety will fade, and my confidence will come back just like my hair has.  In the meantime, I will do my best to carry myself like the warrior that I am.  I will strive to see the best in everyone and in every situation.  Most importantly, I will pray and rejoice that I have been given a second chance.  I will be thankful for every day that I have been given,  for every sunrise and sunset, for every bird I hear chirping, every flower I’m able to smell and for the time I spend with my family, my friends and my coworkers; because without them, I may not have made it this far.


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In Oct 2015, Sheryl was diagnosed with IDC.  Both of her sisters had previously had breast cancer, so it really shouldn’t have been a surprise to her, but it was.  She went through chemo followed by a bilateral mastectomy, and in July of 2016, she had reconstruction.  She did not need radiation as my cancer was Stage 1.

guest blogger

I knew it was different….

By Lauren Miscannon

I was diagnosed in Dec 2016 with Breast Cancer at the age of 44.  I knew for years that I had a high chance of getting the disease because my mother was diagnosed at 42.  I had very dense breast tissue so it was very difficult to feel anything unusual as everything felt like a lump to me.  My mom and I both had the BRAC1/2 performed in 2009, which was negative…. thank God!

Every year from that time though I needed extra testing, either addition Mammograms or biopsies because of my dense breast tissue.  However, this past year when they sent me for the MRI after having my first 3D Mammogram and then an ultra sound, I knew it was different.

Because of the holiday, I had to wait 4 weeks to have my Bi-lateral Mastectomy.  I opted to do that verses possibly having radiation.  I wasn’t upset about losing my breast as they have always been an issue for me as well as having sagged because of my losing a large amount of weight back in 2009.

My surgery was scheduled for Jan 11, 2017 for the mastectomy and reconstruction.  However, the most infuriating part of this which added to my stress was that my boss laid me off the day before my surgery!  Now I have to search for a job during my period of recuperating!  The worst part is trying to figure out the whole medical/Obama Care aspect of this.  As I had no income my health insurance premium went through the roof.  I wanted to keep it because with the surgery being in Jan, I met and exceeded my deductible.  So now everything is paid except that high premium!

After the surgery, I finally met with the oncologist and they told me that I had several other precancerous lumps in my other breast.  I am glad I went with the bilateral!  She told me that I had lobular carcinoma in situ stage 2A, Grade 2, ER/PR positive and HER2 Negative, but I had 3 out of 12 lymph nodes positive.  The oncologist wanted to do further testing on my lumps from the Mastectomy.  I had to go for a PET Scan and they sent my cells to a lab in California.  I had to wait 3 weeks for all the results.  The report said that if I take Tamoxifen I have only a 10% chance of cancer returning.  My only concern is that my gynecologist says that I am in menopause, but since removing my IUD, we’ve realized that is not the case.  Everything I have read says that I should have my ovaries removed because of the history and being ER+.  My oncologist says it doesn’t matter, but I am waiting to hear back from my gynecologist.  I beliemy dadve either way, I want them removed!

I have to say that the biggest supporter has been my dad.  I feel bad as he had to go through this with my mother, not only with her breast cancer but with two bouts of lung cancer! Regardless, he has gone with me to most of my appointments.  I don’t know what I would do without him!

I do have two high school children that have also helped when asked. But I am having more of an issue with my kids especially my daughter.  Back in 2009, I got a divorce, and we moved from PA to FL.  I believe she blames me for everything even IMG_4244.JPGthough, with the advice of her therapist, I told her the real reason why we divorced and moved. He cheated!  All she does is spend time in her room isolating herself.  It is making me depressed as she would not even go to a movie that she wanted to see!

Some other support I have found is on Facebook or other breast cancer websites.  I am just getting out there, so I don’t know too many other people yet.  I also just went this past week to a church support group which was very helpful.  My only concern originally going was that everyone was going to be in their 60s or older as I live in Gulf Coast, FL.  But that wasn’t the case.

After all the research and talking with others, I can’t believe how many different forms of Breast Cancer there are.  It is all very overwhelming.

I’m getting my last expander fill for my reconstruction this week March 22, 2017, so I hope to have my implant in around the end of May.  That would be a great birthday present!!

I haven’t had any side effect for the Tamoxifen.  I have been more interested in learning about Essential oils.  I am starting to check this out, so if anyone can provide some insight!

I have to say that I have been handling the cancer pretty well.  I am keeping a positive outlook and hoping that I find an enjoyable job!


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Lauren Miscannon is a single mother of 2 living in Venice, FL.  She is 44 years old and just diagnosed in Dec 2016.  She is currently only receiving tamoxifen and should have reconstruction surgery in 8 weeks or so.

 

giveaway

Giveaway #9: Post Mastectomy Underarm Pillow from Pink Pepper Co

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Pink Pepper Co. owner and fellow breast cancer survivor, Leslie Notarianni, has donated a Post Mastectomy Underarm Pillow.

Pink Pepper Co Website:  www.pinkpepperco.com

Like Pink Pepper Co on Facebook HERE.  Follow on Twitter HERE and on Instagram HERE.

***ENTER TO WIN HERE***

Pink Pepper Co. specializes in post op comfort products for breast cancer and mastectomy healing.   We feature Mastectomy Pillows, which provide comfort and protection after any type of breast surgery.  As a patient is healing, they need to apply soft pressure to the chest area, and offer protection against bumps, drops, and the occasional pet or child jump.  Our Mastectomy Pillow is the perfect solution. Equally important is our Mastectomy T Shirts, which are 100% cotton, have easy open snap fronts, and are specifically designed to discreetly hold drain tubes and provide comfort during healing.  These are worn 24 hours a day by patients for the first month of recovery, and are absolutely necessary when mobility and movement are limited.

Made by a Breast Cancer Survivor who understands, for other future Breast Cancer Survivors!
The owner of Pink Pepper Co is a Breast Cancer warrior, turned survivor! She now makes items to help others through their fight with breast cancer, and to help comfortably from a mastectomy or breast other breast surgery. Each item is handmade in the USA. Each item has been tested through use by Leslie as well during her own treatment. “I sincerely hope it can provide some help and comfort to others through their treatment as well.” You can also follow her journey on Instagram

 

guest blogger

I Cried, But Then I Laughed

By guest blogger Kelly Nemecek

In the weeks after my diagnosis of Stage 3 breast cancer, I found myself crying, out of fear and hopelessness, devastated at the thought that my 12 year old daughter might lose her mommy.  But as I got closer to my surgery date, a strange thing happened.  The hopelessness turned into determination and a sense of purpose, like a soldier preparing for battle.

I knew that I would be relying heavily on my faith in God, but what I didn’t know at the time was that my sense of humor would also be a huge factor in how I would cope with this new threat on my life.  I have always been very self-deprecating, and my husband and daughter can pretty much make any situation hilarious.  Case in point- after my surgery as I was slowly regaining consciousness and trying to get my bearings in the midst of my morphine fog, random thoughts popped into my head, like “I wonder where my boobs are now?”  Turns out I said it out loud because on my hospital room white board, under Your Questions/Comments, my husband wrote, “Where are my boobs?”

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I know he was attempting to lighten the mood.  And it worked!  As I was already so loopy, I couldn’t stop laughing (which unfortunately caused more pain).  I started texting it to all my friends, who were probably like “What the hell? Kelly’s on some good drugs.”  I knew at that moment if I could continue to find the humor in this ordeal, I would be able to fight.

Prior to surgery I was fairly certain I wanted to wear breast forms, but realistically, afterwards, I could not even wear a bra yet.  The nurse gave me a snug white tank top with pockets to supposedly hold the breast forms, only they came with weird miniature pillows that looked ridiculous and nothing like breasts.  I looked at her like “Really?  And they’re white?  You understand I have two surgical drains emptying blood and other bodily fluids, right?  I can’t stand up and it hurts to move, and you really think I care about putting those pillows in this tank top pillow sham thingy?”

My surgeon wouldn’t let me wear a bra until I healed anyway.  As it turns out, I was okay with that.  I was sore, tired, and emotionally drained so I didn’t give a crap about breast forms.  I was a happy flatty Patty.  I felt comfortable wearing just about everything in my closet from before “The Big Chop,” from fitted T-shirts to flowy blouses.  Unbeknownst to me at the time, going braless was a good thing as I would end up with bad radiation burns in the near future.

This change of heart about the breast forms turned out to be true with my hair as well.  Heading into chemotherapy, I was nervous about the side effects, like nausea and fatigue, and really just the unknown.   Originally, my first thought when I heard I was having chemotherapy was “God no! Not the hair!.”  I had long blonde flowing locks so I figured I’d better cut it into a pixie in preparation for “The Great Bald Experiment of 2015.”  After I lost my hair, I thought I might never leave the house.  I was going to get a wig.  I was kind of pretty chunky so I thought I won’t even be cute bald like Sinead O’Connor or Nebula from Guardians of the Galaxy.  Sure enough, two weeks after the first round of chemotherapy it was falling out.  I could gently tug on it, and it would pop right out.  I became obsessed with pulling on it a little at a time. After someone caught me doing it at work, I decided it was time to buzz it.  First, my husband, Tomas took it down to an eighth of an inch, and I looked like GI Jane minus the six pack abs.

wp-1489976753757.jpgAfter that I couldn’t handle all the tiny needle-like hairs everywhere and subsequent itching.  I gra
bbed the shaving cream and the razor and just did it.  It felt awesome and liberating.  I know hair can be a sensitive subject for many cancer warriors and not everyone can whip out the clippers and go to town, but I surprised myself and did just that.  I mostly wore these cute cadet style caps but sometimes went commando.  It was summer in Phoenix after all.

My family must have found every bald joke ever written, and I loved it.  They supported me and took care of me with love and patience.  They knew when I needed to not be treated like an invalid, and when I needed to laugh.  Don’t get me wrong.  There is nothing funny about breast cancer but sometimes laughter is the best medicine and cancer will not take that from me.

Recently, I saw a video that featured a woman dancing around the operating room prior to her mastectomy.  It went viral, and it seemed everyone had an opinion about it.  While some thought it was awesome, others, especially other breast cancer survivors, thought it was just cray cray.  Some were even super offended saying it gives the wrong impression of what it is to face a mastectomy like it’s somehow fun and games.  I honestly didn’t know what to think. I sure as hell did not feel like dancing at the time at the time of my surgery, but similarly, I had been making jokes and much like referring to my upcoming surgery as “The Big Chop.”  I get what this lady was doing now. She was coping.  I think as warriors and survivors we have to do whatever it takes to get us through this hell, whether it’s hiding, crying, laughing or screaming.  And yes, even dancing.


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Kelly lives in Arizona with her husband, daughter, three cats and a bearded dragon named Pascal.  She was diagnosed with Stage 3 Invasive Lobular Carcinoma in 2015.  She can be found blogging about her good, bad and ugly experiences battling breast cancer at Kelly’s Cancer Beat Down Blog

collaborative post, resources

Helping Your Favorite Breast Cancer Warrior

This post is a collaborative effort from the members of Breast Cancer Sisters compiled by Taylor Eames.

Once the breast cancer diagnosis is shared with friends and family, one of the most common things we hear is , “How can I help?”  or “What can I do for you?”  It’s difficult for many women to accept that they need help let alone to ask for it.  So I posed the question in our group asking what our warriors would have appreciated in care packages and what services their support system could do to take away some of the burden of a cancer diagnosis.

For Side Effects:

  • Hard Candies/Anti-Nausea Pops or Drops/Chewing Gum-Chemotherapy often causes nausea and can also leave a bad taste in the mouth.  Citrus, ginger, or mint are helpful for both of these side effects, but feel free to get something you know your fighter will like.
  • Head Coverings-Hair loss is imminent.  There’s really no getting around it with the types of chemo that are used to combat breast cancer. Talk with your warrior to find
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    “Jules” from ChemoBeanies.com
    out what kinds of head coverings they would want to wear.  Wigs are available for free through the American Cancer Society, but you can always offer to purchase a gift certificate to a wig store nearby so they can pick out something in their preferred color and style.  Bandanas, silk scarves, bucket hats, beanies, baseball caps, and other styles are all up to the wearer’s preference.  A popular option in the group is ChemoBeanies.com.  If you are planning to hand make hats, please remember that bald heads are quite sensitive.  You should use soft cotton, fleece, or silk.  Homespun yarn is a good choice for crochet or knit hats.
  • Lotion-Chemo and radiation both cause skin irritation.  Remember strong smells can make nausea worse, so we recommend sticking to unscented or sensitive lotions.  Eucerin and Aquaphor are fantastic options.  If you do go with something scented, lavender is soothing and peppermint helps with nausea.
  • Ointments-Radiation can leave burn marks on the skin.  Our members have suggested 100% Aloe Vera, Bepanthen, Aquaphor healing ointment, bees wax, Miaderm Radiation Cream, and Medline Skin Remedy.
  • Salt-This may seem weird but it’s going to show your fighter that you did some research!  Chemo patients often lose all sense of taste and/or they have a constant metallic taste in their mouth.  One of the things most often suggested to anyone complaining of not being able to taste food is salt.  Plain old table or sea salt!  From baked chicken to mashed potatoes to veggies, we cover it in salt and finally are able to taste something.
  • Plastic Utensils-This is another strange one, but believe me, it’s helpful.  Like I said above, chemo causes a horrible metallic taste.  Using regular metal forks and spoons makes it worse.
  • Biotene Mouthwash and Soft Tooth Brush-Another unpleasant side effect of chemo is sensitive gums and mouth sores.  The soft tooth brush will help massage the gums when they are sore without causing more issues.  Biotene is an excellent mouthwash that oncologists recommend to their patients who are experiencing mouth sores.
  • Baby Oil/Coconut Oil/Baby Shampoo-With hair loss, cancer patients’ heads get very sensitive.  We still wash our noggins even though we don’t have hair.  Using a gentle shampoo and then massaging oil into the scalp helps bring down the tenderness.
  • Sun Screen-Chemo causes a sun sensitivity.  I remember getting burnt after just being outside for ten minutes without any sunscreen on.
  • Claritin-Neulasta, a shot that is given to boost white blood cells, causes major bone pain.  For some reason, Claritin seems to help with that pain for a few people.  Everyone should at least try it before having to rely on heavy duty pain meds instead.
  • Imodium/Flushable Wipes-Here’s an embarrassing fact that you probably don’t care to know: chemo causes diarrhea.  Chemo nurses recommend Imodium.  And the flushable wipes help with the sensitive skin when frequent potty breaks are needed.
  • OTC Medications-Tylenol, Benadryl, Melatonin, Colace, all useful during chemo.
  • Fuzzy Socks-Neuropathy from chemo causes chilly tootsies.
  • Soft, Warm Blanket-Heat and cold tolerance is all sorts of messed up during treatment.  A nice cuddly blanky is a loving gesture too.
  • Hand Sanitizer-Germs are the enemy.  Chemo kills white blood cells.  Washing hands after touching grocery carts or money, after shaking hands, or when someone around you is sick, are essential parts of infection precaution.
  • Pill Case-Anti-nausea, steroids, pain meds, hormone blockers, etc.  Meds are taken all day every day.  So something to sort them out is helpful.
  • Calendar-Chemo often causes memory issues.  Chemo brain is a real thing.  With the many appointments that go along with treatment, a calendar all help keep them organized.

Post Op Items:

  • Button Up Jammies/Spacious Night Gowns/Robe-After a mastectomy, the arms cannot be raised for at least a week, and after that, it is often difficult and range of motion is limited.
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    Drain Tube Lanyard and Pocket Pouch from PostOpSolutions.com
  • Drain Tube Pouch/Apron-Your fighter will most likely come home with at least one drainage tube.  It’s best to allow gravity to work with these tubes, so keeping them in pockets at waist level is advised.
  • Drain Tube Lanyard-This is great to hold the drain tubes while showering
  • Heart Pillow/Small Pillow-Placing a pillow under the arm after surgery is essential.  The nerves are extremely sensitive under the arm.  It feels like a severe sunburn.  I kept a pillow under both arms for about three weeks.
  • Ice Packs-Along with the pillows under the arms, ice packs also help sooth the sensitive skin.
  • Seat Belt Pillow-The seat belt goes right over the incisions and can irritate sutures.  A seat belt pillow can just be a small pillow that sits between the seat belt and the chest or one that wraps around the seat belt to protect the chest.
  • Slip On Shoes or Slippers-Again, it’s difficult to move the arms after a mastectomy, and frankly, it’s hard to move all together.  So being able to step right into your shoes with out having to bend over to put them on is very helpful.

Services:

  • Freezer Dinners/Set up a Meal Train-If you know someone going through treatment or surgery, or someone just diagnosed or feeling overwhelmed with life and stress caused by the diagnosis, make a meal and bring it over to their house.  I cannot tell you how much that will mean to them.  You can also set up a meal train at mealtrain.com.  Basically, you set up a schedule for others to bring in meals to the family in need.  This is especially awesome for single moms!
  • Cleaning-Either go to your warrior’s home and clean their bathroom or kitchen, or hire a maid to do it for them.  Even if it’s something simple like cleaning a toilet or vacuuming the hallway, it’s extremely helpful.
  • Babysitting-Chemo, radiation, and surgery are all exhausting.  Invite your fighter’s kids over for an evening or to do something special.  It will give your patient time to rest without worrying about taking care of the children, and it will make the kids feel special.  Mom is going through something rough right now and is probably getting all the attention.  The kiddoes need to feel some love and normalcy during this hard time.
  •  Gift Cards-Restaurants, gas, iTunes, Red Box, Massage, Spa, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, etc.  Anything that will take you warrior’s mind off the fight is very helpful.

Fun Things:

  • Word Search Books
  • Crossword Puzzles
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    Adult Coloring Page from ValentinaDesigns.com
  • Books
  • Movies
  • Crocheting Hook or Knitting Needles and Yarn
  • A book about how to crochet or knit
  • Adult Coloring Books and Colored Pencils or Markers
  • A stuffed animal to be their mascot during treatments
  • Random Texts to Show you Care
  • Comic Books
  • Journal
  • Headphones
  • Audio Books
  • Sketch Pad
  • Send silly Snapchats
  • Go to their infusion and make fun videos together
  • Sudoku Books
  • Share a silly meme on their Facebook page just for the heck of it
  • Send a card.  Not a sympathy card.  A funny card.  Something that will make them smile.

The most common things requested are support and prayers.  Go do some research about their type of cancer and their treatment plan.  The more you know, the more you can be there for them as they go through this battle for their life.  If you ever feel awkward asking them what they need, ask a close friend or family member to give you a specific thing to do that will help them out.

Lastly, you should know that the battle does not end with “no evidence of disease.”  Some side effects can become long term.  Anxiety about future health issues and possible recurrence is often quite prevalent.  After spending a year or longer in treatment, suddenly being done being a professional patient feels strange and empty.  Your warrior is going to need you now as much as ever.  Check in often.  Make sure they are taking care of their mental health as well as their physical health.  Continue to give them the love and support they need to reenter a normal life.

Do you have anything to add to this list?  Feel free to comment with more suggestions!

 

photogrid_1489558558749.jpgTaylor Eames is a single mom of four living in Yuma, Arizona, who was diagnosed with triple negative invasive ductal carcinoma in January of 2016.  She openly chronicled her experience during treatment and continuing through the aftermath on TaylorTough on Facebook.  Taylor is one of the founders of Breast Cancer Sisters along with her dear friend, Kristy Irizarry.