Are you prepared for the holidays?
When we said "prepared" did you think of the last minute gifts, presents, or cards you still need to get? Or did you think about your health and the healthcare of loved ones, family and friends?
If you are currently facing cancer as a patient and/or supporter, we know the holidays can be a stressful time. Doctor's offices close early, longer weekends, and potential to miss holiday parties because of side effects, treatment schedules and more.
If you are supporting a friend, family member, or entire family going through cancer, it's important to keep the holiday stressors listed above in mind this time of year and how you can help.
We hope to help prepare both patients and supporters for the holidays. Here are some tips / things we hope you will consider:
- Call your doctors and hospitals ahead of time to make sure you are aware of their open / closed hours over the Christmas & New Years holiday. This way you can schedule any last minute visits accordingly.
- Ask you doctor about home health care. Through your hospital and insurance you can receive in-home visits from physical therapists, nurses, and occupational therapists. We have more detail on how to set up and resources here: http://www.cancer-q.com/exercise/
- Friends & Family - contact your friend / loved one and ask about their current dietary needs. What can they eat / what should they currently avoid due to where they are in their treatment journey? Prepare some meals to politely bring over to the family. (Meals that can be frozen are always an added plus.) Help them prepare for limited store hours.
- Spend time - Go visit a family / friend going through a tough time, call / facetime with them. Also, don't forget the rest of the family - supporters, caregivers, and more. You can check in on them too. While they might not admit it, they need support too. Get creative! When our mom was sick, we hosted a high school basketball night. We all dressed up in our old high school gear and watched tapes of my high school basketball games, just like the old times. My mom had a palm palm in hand and was ready to cheer!
- Prepare the House - think about food, medicine, exercise needs and plan accordingly. Stock up on any much needed drinks, special foods the patient enjoys, and more so you can worry less about having to run out to the store. Make sure medicines are refilled, trackers updated and caregiving shifts planned. If you have family visiting, don't be afraid to ask a friend to pick them up from the airport. Friends, think about offering to make airport runs for the family which just takes one more item off their 'to-do' list.
When an illness strikes you or your family, it's hard to not feel down at times, especially around the holidays. Remaining hopeful, optimistic, motivated constantly is hard - we are all human.
"Why me? Why now? What did we do to deserve this?" Are all thoughts that might creep into your head at times.
But know this: YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
You are not the first, nor the last to go through this. There are others just like you and me who have been there before. Cancer doesn't discriminate, cancer doesn't fit a stereotype. Cancer targets the young, the old, the active, the less active and all religions.
Difficult things happen to most people. Don't focus on "why me?" but "ok, now how can we get through this together?"
Here @ CancerQ, we have a favorite expression:
"When you remove the "why" from "Yours" it becomes "Ours".
We can't always control why things happen to us, but we can control how we react to them. We can lean on others, share knowledge, and come together. It is not your cancer, it is our cancer. It isn't you against the world. When we all pitch in collectively and say this is "our" fight, we make one hell of a team. We must beat cancer together, learning from the past while forging a new future.
This is our challenge, together.
"And I know, you're afraid of falling flat, and I know, those walls are up against your back, And I know, there are those who'd see you crack, but I know you're stronger than that."
Zach Weismann, Co-Founder CancerQ