Ways you can help

We are each of us angels with only one wing, and we can only fly by embracing one another.       

  Luziano De Cresceno

A list to answer, “What do I do now,” as a friend.

1. Snail mail Letters or cards make me feel so happy and loved.

2. Send comics/jokes/uplifting short thoughts to me so I can laugh or feel good inside.  I often bring them to treatments, or surgeries to cheer me up!

3. Read and keep up with my blog/ or start and keep my blog because that will help me not have to tell my story over and over again. That is so hard for me. (Look in archives)

4. Set up calendar care (read archive post) This will make life so much easier for me. (This handles meals, childcare, rides, etc.)

5. Make a cross off treatment chart. (look at my blog post for the example)

6. Small meaningful gifts: scarves for cold neck or head, nail polish, pajama bottoms, music, books on tape, magazines, treats, candy, food, mashed potatoes, etc. Serve how you feel most comfortable.  I will appreciate anything.

7.  Go wig/hat shopping together.

8. Bring over surprise comfort foods without too much seasoning. (Burns my mouth) I love bread, soup, mashed potatoes, bland things like rice, smoothies, ice cream.

9. Bring over simple lunch (like soup) and stay for a few minutes depending on how I feel.

10.  Hand or foot massage (with or without lotion)

11.  Don’t try to sell a product to me unless I ask.  I have heard about them all!

12. Look up information for me when I am too stressed to read about it all.

13.  Send or record a sweet…mantra I can say to myself at treatments. I use scriptures from the Bible. Jesus Christ is my master healer!

14. Bring things that can calm my nerves (color book and crayons–this has known calming effects for adults too)

15. Make a quilt, afghan, or pillow case I can take with me to treatments or surgery.

16. If you want to make something for me, I will so appreciate your time as well as the thoughtful gift.

17. Offer your gook-luck charm.  I promise I will give it back. I need your strength to get me through!

18. Flowers always are uplifting.  Be aware of the ones that need care.  I may not feel up to it.

19.  Help me around my home. I will hate to ask but I need help. I have no energy.

20.  Help with my kids schoolwork, extra items I am too tired to deal with.

21. Help fold laundry. Or do my wash.  I will love you forever!  It keeps on coming…

22. Just visit.  (But be sure to watch my signs.  I may be too weak to talk)

23. Go to chemo therapy treatments, doctors appointments, and radiation therapy with me.  I will say no.  DON’T drop me off.  Insist you come in.   I will appreciate having support right next to me even though I present myself as tough.

24. Help drive me to other places, like the grocery store.

25. Shop for me.

25. Stay with me.  Sometimes being alone is not fun.

26. Watch movies with me while I lie on the couch.

27. Plant some flowers in my entryway. I may be too tired to take care of them, but it would cheer me up as I enter my home.

28. Supply warmth.  I am cold.  Cancer makes you cold physically and emotionally.  Warm microwavable rice packs or water bottles would feel lovely.

29.  Go with me to my information appointments.  I may not be able to handle all of the information.  Please take notes for me.

30. Offer to organize my medical stuff.

31. Place a sign on my door that says; ‘Please do not enter if  you are feeling sick, stuffed, or have a cough’  I must keep my home germ free.

32. Offer to keep the supply of hand sanitizer up to date.

33. Make a surgery basket or box that would cheer me up.  I most likely will have scary surgery and I need an uplift. (magazines, candy, card, etc.) Check on me after too.

34. Use your talents that you feel most comfortable to help serve. Someone once came and read children’s stories to me.  I LOVE children’s stories.

35. Do something for a local cancer center that offers ideas to do, for example: Bake for breastcancer, locks of love, shave  your head for…, run or walk for…marathon or bike-a-thon- for…Tell me  you have done for cancer and I will be speechless.

36. Be aware that I may not be myself and may not be able to talk to you during certain times of my treatments. Not because I don’t want to but because I won’t have any energy.

37.  Most of the time my white count is very low, which makes me very susceptible to getting sick.  Please keep your little ones at home. They have more germs that grown ups and don’t know when to cover and cough.  If I get sick it could be fatal.

38. Share music you love that can uplift me.

39. Share thoughts, recordings or stories that can uplift me.

40. Draw with me or for me.

42. I may not be able to read at certain times, but offer a good story.

43. Be a check-er-inner. (look at past blog post)

44. Be a shoulder to cry on.  I need to cry a lot!  Come to stock tissues.

45.  Do not be judgmental.  I am battling more than what is on the outside. I am very sensitive, but cannot be bothered by worrying if I have hurt your feelings.  It is too much for me to deal with.

46. Please take my kids.  I feel so terrible they have to see me like this. Could you do something to help them forget for a little while…

47. Please feed my partner or my family when I am having surgery.  They are so weary!

48. Please don’t think that after all my treatments are done that I don’t need any friends anymore.  I will always have to worry about cancer.

49. Love my animals for me. Take them to the doggy park, or whatever…

50.  Please remember that I am not Cancer.  I am a human with tender feelings.  I feel anger, fear, frustrations, loss, and so many other feelings. I want to have a regular life like you. Let me talk of other things.

51. Send me a text message every week, during treatments, at the waiting room, etc.

52. Send me an e-mail.

53. KEEP REMINDING ME, I CAN DO THIS!  I will get better!

54.  PRAY FOR ME! I need you my friend.

Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. 1 John 4:11

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It’s coming…

Those three words give me a little thrill.

It feels like every single day more options become available to wait… less.

Instant info…

Instant speech…

Instant pictures…

Instant food…

Instant lights on…

Instant air freshener…

Instant communication…

Instant up and down tall buildings…

Instant parallel parking with no hands…

Instant shopping…

Instant entertainment…

Instant knowledge…

Instant intimacy…

We are training ourselves to become “instant fanatics.”

We are the I WANT IT NOW generation.

But, there is something about “the wait” that captures things inside our souls that we long for.

A simmering pot of chicken soup…

Lighting a candle menorah…

Warming up cold sheets with your feet…

Christmas Eve count down…

The first opening blossom of spring…

That first touch of a hand by new love…

A long ride to see loved ones far away…

We rush for convenience.

It’s a pain to wait!

But our senses miss

the process

of

waiting

and imagining

and thinking about

what

is

about

to

come.

There is so much

sensory filled happiness

in

anticipation.

Christopher Robin asks Pooh about his favorite things to do:

“Well,” said Pooh, “what I like best–,” and then he had to stop and think. Because although eating honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called.

(Part of Joyful anticipation by Ingrid Fetell Lee)

Lee, I. F. (2018). Joyful. New York,  NY: Little, Brown Spark.

 

Like a “bug”

We catch things from our parents like a “bug.” But unlike a cold, I believe those things we catch never go away. I know I caught claustrophobia from my mother. In my child recollection it was either in the stuck elevator going up to the top floor of my orthodontist or when they had to back up the submarine ride at Disneyland. Not sure which–maybe both.

Patient and calm is an understatement of my mom who was the second mother of 10 children (her sibs), a mother of six, and grandmother of 27. Feeling stuck and out of control made her a crazed animal. She was my rock, so I became one too. When we finally got air, we both were bonded with the “bug.”

Drapes or blinds closed, tight clothing, an escape route, locked doors, summer heat…  flying in a closed up tin can called an airplane, and of course elevators and submarines; these are just a few…

But, the good thing about claustrophobia is appreciating how nice it feels letting the sun shine on you as  you awake in the morning with those little dust sparkles floating in the beams; letting the cool earth air in through the window to freshen a room and make it feel alive; feel the gentle presence of the tree as it offers us shade and stability of the earth; comfortable clothing to make you feel exactly that–comfortable; sitting by “the door” gets you to the bathroom quicker, and who really likes planes, elevators, and submarines anyway! No one or you lie.

What we catch we endure.

But we do catch things…

Nonsense Summer Days

“A little nonsense now and then, is cherished by the wisest men.”  Roald Dahl

When I was a child my father would sing this little phrase before he would flip us on our beds. “One for the money, two for the  show, three to get ready and four to go…flip!

Stay-cations? Schedule  your days around a bit of nonsense:

“One for the money” Monday: Chores made fun, lemonade stands, car washes…Write down small tasks with the cash reward amount next to the task and fill up a jar. Be prepared to pay up when the job is completed. Allow a trip to the dollar store, candy store, tag sale where you can buy treasures cheap. Let them chose even if YOU don’t think it will be fun. They worked for it, let them learn about it.

“Two for the  Show” Tuesday: Today is movie day. Tell your child you want her to put on a show for you. (Children are masters at this without your help!) OR go allow your child to pick a free movie at the library. Have a movie time with friends. Watch shows that involve “cool” stories like Snow Dogs, Frozen, Happy Feet or Polar Express. Watch in the basement if you have one. Place pillows, blankets in the freezer for a few minutes of chill. BRRRR! AHHH!

“Three to get ready” Wednesday: Plan and Prep for a family outing for the next day. Have a family planning time where you decide a list of things you can do together for an outing. (Not expensive, just fun together) To have them guess tangle a room with string with  the final destination at the end. Have then untangle to discover.

“Four to GOOOOO,” Thursday: This is a family adventure day. Penny walks; Heads you go left, tails you go right. See where you end up. A scavenger hike on a bike, in a car, in a yard, in your house on a stormy summer afternoon. Use your imagination or look up what to do with kids, you your area where you live.

Other random day ideas:

Nick-Nack-Patty-Wack Monday: Learn something new today. A magic trick, a science experiment, a unique art project, a new sport, a new food. (Gak, Slime, or OOObleck are good choices in the recipes)

Tutty-Fruity Tuesday: Visit fruit stands, or go to the grocery store. Make up a new type of smoothie and drink in fun cups, or place in ice trays and make up some Popsicles. Have a family watermelon seed spitting contest. (BTW the record is 66 feet 11 inches to beat)

Whatcha-ma-call-it Wednesday: This is a silly day. Wear your clothes backwards, have a crazy dinner using different utensils, get squirted with the hose or make your own slip and slide, make it so if you say a certain word you have to do….be creative and have some fun with it…

Share this link of ideas to your friends so they can have some summer fun with summer days too…

 

Summer Fun in a Flash!

  • Monster Bubbles: 6 cups water, 2 cups Joy liquid dish washing soap, 3/4 cup light corn syrup. Mix in a large bucket and let sit for 4-6 hours. Use string threaded through 2 straws, hangers shaped, hands, plastic lids with holes cut out from the center, etc. The bubbles LOVE humidity but it is not necessary. Have a blast out side!
  • Shaving Cream Paint: Mix tempera paint or food coloring with squirts of shaving cream. Allow your child to paint on cookie sheets or plastic trays OR if it is a stormy summer day put them in the bathtub with no water and their swimming suits and let them paint there.
  • Finger Paint: 2 T. sugar, 1/3 corn starch. Place in saucepan and slowly add 2 cups cold water. Cook on low heat for 5 minutes until clear and smooth gel appears. Cool. Stir in 1/4 c. liquid dishwashing soap. Scoop in containers and add food coloring or tempera paints. Will stay in sealed containers for several weeks. Let them paint on foil, wax paper, regular paper, or cookie sheets. It is finger paint so let them use their fingers!!
  • GAK: 2 c. white glue, 2 c. warm water. Mix together in a container that is not used for food and can be cleaned or disposed of. Mix together 1 c. water and 1/2 c. Borax. Slowly add the 2 solutions together and mix them well until it coagulates together. This does not come out of clothing. You can draw on it with markers or bury toys in it. Very fun but messy. Store in zip lock bag.
  • Kool-aid play dough: 2 Kool-aid packeges matching flavors (without sugar), 2 1/2 c. flour, 1/2 c. salt, 3 T. oil, 2 c. water. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Bring the liquids to a boil in a saucepan and then add the hot liquid to the dry ingredients. Knead together. This smells so good and is a great time to play with when it is warm. Keep in tight container and store in refrigerator for several weeks.
  • Toe Paint: 3 parts flour to 1 part salt. Add water until gravy consistency. Stir in food coloring and paint with toes on paper–outside preferably but not necessarily.
  • Penny Cleaner: Mix salt and vinegar. T his makes hydrochloric acid. Drop pennies in the mixture then use swab to wipe them clean. Dry immediately.
  • Colored Pasta or Rice to play with like sand: 1 c. uncooked rice, 1/2 t. food coloring, 1 t. rubbing alchohol (optional). Place in plastic bag and mix together. Place the pasta or rice on a tray to dry. Pour in a plastic bin and add cups, spoons and toys.
  • Snow paint: 1 c. White King Natural Laundry Soap, 1/2 c. water, 1/3 c. liquid starch. Whisk or blend. It whips up like frothy snow. Store in covered container.
  • OOOBleck: 1/2 c. cornstarch, 1/4 c. water. This is the oddest stuff. You can make a solid ball and then it will melt in  your hand. Read the book by Dr. Seuss, Bartholemew and the Oobleck.
  • Sand pictures: Mix white corn meal with powdered tempera paint. Get glass jars and layer them with colors. You can color sugars and do the same thing as gifts. Place glue on paper and use the sand like glitter to make colored pictures.
  • Squeeze Paint: 2 c. flour, 1 1/2 c. water, 1/2 c. sugar, 1/2 c. salt, food coloring. Place in squeeze bottles. (You can buy these at Michaels, or go to the dollar store and buy ketchep and mustard squeeze bottles)
  • Gelatin fun: Make your own wonder worlds with clear gelatin. Make it in a bowl and let it set. Tip over the mold and now you have a jelly fish. Take an eye dropper of food coloring and water and squirt it inside. you will have all sorts of colors inside. Slice it with a plastic knife. Explore this strange substance.
  • Contact paper collage. Cut a piece of contact paper and take the backing off. Place the sticky side up on a table and allow your child to stick things on it. Gather leaves and petals from outdoors, feathers, string, yarn, toys, fabric, cotton. If you child wants to keep it cover it with a clear piece of contact paper on the top.
  • Sand paper flannel board. A piece of sandpaper can be a sensory experience with your child. Allow them to stick cut flannel, felt, string,  yarn, cotton to the sand paper.

An idea for a friend of a cancer patient

IMG_2255

 If you would like to do something for a friend going through cancer treatments make up some little baggies of treats that they can bring with them every time they go to the doctor or cancer center.

It does not need to be big. The picture shows tiny bags of about 2 tablespoons of Jelly Belly Beans inside.

Your cancer friend can give them to the valet, to the people who take blood, the ones making appointments, the nurses, the other cancer patients who make them laugh, the doctors, the x-ray technicians, the volunteers who bring them water, the infusion nurses, and so on. 

It is really an uplift to do something for people who are caring for you!!!

It is surprising how much they appreciate the thoughtful gesture, and will give your friend really nice service for doing so.

And besides, if the cancer patient needs a treat they can eat it themselves!  

A little thank you goes a long way.

Giving kindness is healing for everyone.

A little morsel of spring to taste

Frances Hodgson Burnett’s, The Secret Garden is one of the most magical full-sense spring experiences. You will never look at nature and her healing powers the same again.

Here is just one little morsel to taste:

“A sudden thought made her scramble to her feet,

“I can’t wait! I am going to see the garden!”

…She unchained and unbolted and unlocked and when the door was open she sprang across the step with one bound, and there she was standing on the grass, which seemed to have turned green, with the sun pouring down on her and warm sweet wafts about her and the fluting and twittering and singing coming from every bush and tree. She clasped her hands for pure joy and looked up in the sky and it was so blue and pink and pearly and white and flooded with springtime light and she felt as if she must flute and sing aloud herself and knew that thrushes and robins and skylarks could not possibly help it. She ran around the shrubs and paths towards the secret garden.

“It is all different already,” she said. “The grass is greener and things are sticking up everywhere and things are uncurling and green buds on leaves are showing…”

…When she had reached the place where the door bid itself under the ivy…and she pushed the door open…

“Oh Dicken! Dickon!” she cried out. “How could you get here so early! How could you! The sun has only just got up!”

“He got up himself, laughing and glowing, and tousled; his eyes like a bit of the sky.

“Eh!” he said. “I was up long before him. How could I have stayed abed! Th’ world’s all fair begun again this mornin’, it has. An’ it’s workin’ and hummun’ and’ scratchin’ an’ pipin’ and’ nest-building’ an breathin’ out scents, till you’ve got to be out in it ‘stead o’ lyin’ on your back. When th’ sun did jump up, th’ mor went mad for joy, an’ I was in the midst of th’ heather, an’ I run like mad myself, shoutin’ an’ singing’. An’ I come straight here. I couldn’t have stayed away. Why, th’ garden was lyin’ here waitin’!”  pg. 155-157