Category Archives: Supporting a Friend who has Cancer

Helping Someone in Crisis

You likely know someone whose world has been turned upside down by a life-altering diagnosis such as cancer.  If you don’t, unfortunately, you will. You want to be able to help someone in crisis, but, how?. When my husband was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer in 2012, we experienced the good the bad and the ugly when it came to the way people gave us support. Some people with good intentions ultimately caused us a lot of pain. We also had friends and family that who did things that made an amazing difference. How do you help someone in crisis? Since you’re reading this, I am sure that you want to be a blessing to the people in your life who are going through the fire Read more…

encourage a cancer patient or caregiver

One of the questions I get most frequently is how to encourage a cancer patient or caregiver. After all, when we see someone going through something so difficult, it’s natural to want to encourage them–but how? The monster they’re up against seems so immense! “I Just Don’t Know What to Say.” It’s difficult to know what to say when a friend or family member’s life is turned upside down cancer. After all, there is nothing you can you say that will change their diagnosis. But you can encourage your friend. What’s important isn’t what you say, but that you care enough to be there and listen. In fact, “I don’t know what to say,” is the perfect way to let them know that you realize Read more…

Giving gifts to brighten a patient's day.

Confession: I’m a Terrible Gift Giver. I don’t know why. I just am. Each Christmas my sisters-in-law and I all exchange gifts. They are little gift bags of things that make life fun: notebooks, lotions, great pens, etc. I am always in awe of the ladies’ creativity and thoughtfulness. In comparison, my ideas are unoriginal, and my gift bags aren’t nearly as cute. Still, they appreciate my effort. Gifts are another way to show someone you care about them. Money Money can be a sensitive subject, but it is an important part of life. Many times, we’ve had people bless us with cash, checks, and gift cards just when we needed it most. Because of being self-employed Realtors, we don’t get sick pay. So, when Dan Read more…

No two cancers are alike.

I recently read an article about John McCain and Jimmy Carter.[1]  Apparently, a lot of people wonder why their cancers could have had such different outcomes. The thinking behind this is something most cancer patients encounter throughout their journey. People often don’t realize that no two cancers are alike. Today I’ll share some of the reasons for this, and what it means for cancer patients and their loved ones. Where cancer originates is what kind of cancer the patient has. One of the reasons no two cancers are alike is because they originate in different areas of the body. For example, Jimmy Carter was diagnosed with melanoma. This is a dangerous form of skin cancer. John McCain was diagnosed with glioblastoma. A glioblastoma is a Read more…

Complimenting a cancer patient

“You look so good!” Who wouldn’t want to hear those words? There are times when complimenting a cancer patient doesn’t make them feel good. Disclaimer: Don’t feel one bit bad if you have ever done this. Read to the end to find out why. Cancer is an illness associated with appearance changes. So, it often surprises people when a friend who’s undergoing cancer treatment doesn’t look like death warmed over. After all, look at the long list of changes that cancer can bring to a patient’s appearance: Hair loss (including eyebrows, lashes and body hair) Weight loss Weight gain from steroids Changes in skin color and texture Changes in the finger and toenails Changes in eyes Rashes/Acne Mouth Sores Bruising due to low platelets Changes due Read more…

Ask for Help

In 2012 when my husband was first diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer, neither of us was very good at asking for help. It didn’t take long before we were spread awfully thin. #1 way to avoid burnout when you are facing cancer or any other difficult circumstance in life is to ask for help—and accept it. Asking for help is hard on your pride. Many people grow up thinking that asking help (or accepting it when it’s offered) is something you just do. So when you find yourself in a vulnerable situation, in need of assistance, it’s scary. And it can take some getting used to. Some of us have to learn the hard way and end up burning out before giving in. Asking Read more…

Robin : A Game about fatigue

How can a video game improve our understanding of what it is like to live with debilitating fatigue? I recently had the opportunity to find out. My daughter, Sam, recommended that I check out a game called Robin. Robin is free on the Steam platform. One of the things I love about video games on the Steam platform is that they are often more than just a game. They make a statement, and can even teach players what it’s like to live in circumstances they have never experienced before. In the case of Robin, players learn what it’s like to live with chronic fatigue syndrome. Last week, I shared how cancer-related fatigue affects patients who are undergoing treatment for cancer, or who have had treatment Read more…

Ways to Offer Help when a Friend has Cancer

Have you ever gone to the store, or a restaurant and struggled to decide between all of the great options in front of you? It’s a common problem known as “choice overload.” This term was first introduced in the book, Future Shock by Alvin Toffler in 1970. With all of these great options, choosing becomes overwhelming. It takes longer to make a decision and often the decider gives up, altogether. This is really simplifying Toffler’s theory but it’s one of the reasons why many cancer patients and caregivers decline offers of help from friends and family members. Today, I will share how to overcome choice overload and find ways to offer help when a friend has cancer using multiple choice care coordination. Where the burden Read more…

Asking for Prayer

Dan has had significant shortness of breath in the past month or two, so we were very concerned about the results of a scan he had last Monday, 3/12/18. We were asking for prayer that we would have wisdom as we proceeded to deal with whatever the doctor had to say. I feel that God has answered and will continue to answer that prayer. Last Friday, 3/16/18, we had a very sobering conversation with Dan’s oncologist. The results of his scan were a mixed bag. We saw some definite improvements in the scan, enough to continue his current treatment. There was also some progression. She spoke very frankly about what needs to happen next. She’s referring him to the Mayo for a second opinion because Read more…

Praying for someone who has cancer

This week we got news that my husband’s recent scan was not good at all. We will eventually be going down to the Mayo clinic to see what they recommend in the way of experimental treatment. In the meantime, he is doing relatively well, despite how bad is insides look. People often ask what they can do. I say, “Just pray.” I don’t mean that to sound like it’s some last resort. It’s really truly uplifting to know that people are praying for us. If you are a Christian, praying for someone who has cancer is the best thing you can do. But how? With a problem so big, it can be hard to find the words. Here’s a list of ways you can be praying for someone who has Read more…

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