8 Ways To Help A Cancer Patient
It is common for people to try and offer by saying, "Let me know if there is anything I can do." This has positive intentions but a lot of times, it can feel awkward to the cancer patient to ask for help. We don't know if you mean, you are willing to drive us to appointments, make meals, etc. And we don't want to put anyone out or ask for more than the person is able or willing to do. Here are some ideas for you, as the cancer patient supporter, to help with:
1. Be a cab driver
Ask where their appointments are. Being a cancer patient may mean going to many different appointments at different places, getting blood work, scans, picking up prescription medications/supplements, getting massages, acupuncture. Find out where they must go on a regular basis and offer to take them to their appointments.
2. Meal preparation
A cancer patient will most likely be on a specialized diet. If you are willing to juice for them, make meals, say so. You can prepare it at their home or at yours and bring it to them. You can also use MealTrain, an online calendar for you and other people to sign up for specific days and this can be shared on FaceBook.
If you are at the store, call your buddy and ask if there is anything you can pick up for them. If you want to keep on giving, they may like the idea of a monthly CSA box. This is a delivered box of in-season fruits and vegetables from your local farmer. You'd be supporting a local business and keeping it a hassle-free contribution.
4. Critter care
Having pets help people feel happy and pets give unconditional love. It also mean there's more to do for the cancer patient. Help them take care of their pet: walk their dog, give a bath, take it to the vet, pick up dog food.
5. Be present
Sometimes we need a ear to vent, to cry or not talk about cancer. Sometimes, we don't want to talk about it at all. Sometimes, we just want to veg out and watch a funny movie. Pay attention and follow your loved one's cue. If they are talking about non-cancer issues, don't change the subject to find out if the cancer is getting better. This may sound harsh, but that is more for your benefit to know and relieve the anxiety of not knowing.
You can also suggest for the patient (or someone else) to do online posts of their progress, so that they aren’t re-telling the latest update over and over. It’s been said that we realistically only have time for 11 core people in our lives.
Find some activities to keep the cancer patient relaxed. Books and movies, puzzles, are great ways to keep their mind off of side-effects and discomfort. Be sure to keep book material funny and uplifting. You can ask them to create a wish list on amazon or Ebay, then you can choose what to purchase, how much to spend and the list can be shared with others who can to help. Offer to take them to a comedy show. You don't need to spend much to show you care. Take them to a dollar theater and watch something silly. Revisit funny movies on Netflix. Find out what hobbies they like and provide the materials like knitting yarn, theater tickets, a juice cleanse, a museum pass.
7. Have the cancer patient post this on their FaceBook
You can email this article to people you know who want to help but don't know how.
8. Offer to start a fundraiser
ReachOutGiving--I just found this one where donors receive a tax-receipt and clients receive tax-free income. You can also start a blog for them and plug-in PayPal. One of my oldest friends, Marria, started a GiveForward page for me. At first, I was hesitant but I'm glad she suggested it, because having cancer is expensive.
Someone going through cancer will need help with maintenance on a routine basis. Check in when you have time. It makes life so much easier for us. Think of other ways that would be helpful, by putting yourself in their shoes; what would they like or need?
For example, we had a garage sale and my friend, Marria, who started the online fundraiser stopped by for a few hours. She hung out until the sale was over and offered to drop off the left overs to a donation site. It was perfect because it was one less thing for me to do, and I didn't even have to ask. It actually didn't even occur to me to ask. I didn't have to bring it all back in the house or pack up my car for delivery. Now that, is thoughtful.