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 diagnosis, 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 diagnosis.
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. Favorite Book/Media Picks
- Here We Grow: Mindfulness Through Cancer and Beyond – Paige Davis:-)
- Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips – Kris Carr
- Radical Remission: Surviving Cancer Against All Odds – Kelly Turner Ph.D
- Love Medicine and Miracles – Bernie Siegel MD
- Heal Documentary – Kelly Gores
2. 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. You can also organize a meal delivery amongst friends and family, but check with your loved one or friend first to see if this would be helpful.
- Fresh Flowers – As I’vve 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.
3. Online Resources
- 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.
- Cancer Therapies Toolkit – Another tangible set of tools and tips via Kris Carr addressing some of the side effects from chemo and radiation.
- Paying For Cancer Treatments – Personal Loans, HSAs, and More – This guide outlines how to afford some of the most common cancer treatments. It discusses payment options, important questions to ask and recommendations from experienced medical professionals.
4. 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.
- Old Navy – Specifically for anyone who is undergoing breast surgery, stocking up on button down shirts are easy to get into post surgery and to pin your drains so they are hidden.
- Ana Ono – Beautiful and functional loungeware and post-mastectomy bras.
5. Begin Cultivating A Meditation and Mindfulness Practice
- Whether you are newly diagnosed or the friend and family of someone, meditation and mindfulness is good for everyone and was literally my home base when so much was out of my control.
- Check out my resources section for ways to get started including my favorite freebie meditations and my Gateway To Presence program (scholarships are available upon request, please email me for details).
- I’ve created a series of healing visualizations for surgery and chemotherapy. This may or may not resonate, but feel free to explore for free here (but don’t force it if not resonating:-)
*Note: This post has been updated and originally appeared on my sister site Soul Sparks