Chronicling the Journey…

016I started journaling in high school and have done it most of my life, as I’ve read that most “successful” people do and we all want to emulate our heroes. Many of our founding fathers did this and that was good enough to convince me.

Maybe you’ve thought about it, maybe not, but journaling your way through treatment and beyond is good for the soul. You need to express your feelings, even when you don’t want to share it with others. We need that release!

Not only will it allow you to express some of what you’re dealing with now, but it will give you something to look back at in the future. Right now, life seems daunting and the future is difficult to see, but a day will likely come that you want to look back. I have an entire file box dedicated to my cancer adventure (Even have my certificate for completing radiation!).

Again, right now you may just be in “survival” mode, but there’s generally a point where you want to look back. For me, cancer was the beginning of my life… Not pleasant, but because of it, my life became something “more” and worth living.

Life it to be lived and chronicled… What you experience may very well also help someone else and that makes it even more important. Don’t hold back, grab your journal and let it go!

Heck, have some fun… Buy a composition book, some pretty papers and create your own. There’s no limits, just let go.

Have a wonderful week and get writing (or you can even find apps for that!)!

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Thoughtful Gifts for the Cancer Caregiver

The holiday season is a wonderful time to thank our incredible support teams. Let’s face it, they can make your life and treatments go a lot smoother (even if we don’t exactly make their lives easier, at times). There are countless ideas for thoughtful gifts that will bring a smile to any caregiver’s face, but I’ll just share a handful…

1) For the female or enlightened male caregiver, a massage gift certificate is awesome! A chance to take care of them with a little pampering.
2) For the male caregiver (or far more patient female than I am), a gift certificate for a round of golf is a much needed get away.
3) Books for the readers or gift cards for the virtual readers. 😉
4) Even something as simple as a coffee mug can be a wonderful gift. Fill it with either gourmet coffee, tea or cocoa. Heck, I’d like that!
5) A gift card to a great restaurant is another great idea and wonderful way to relax.

These are little things, but they count. You don’t need to do something monumental, but caring enough to do something is monumental.

Thank you for reading and have a wonderful holiday season!

Thoughtful Gifts for the Cancer Survivor

602578_388458464570763_746788322_nAs someone that has put up with the holidays while dealing with treatment, I can tell you that a little, well thought gift can be gold. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but there’s a few things that stand out.

Here are a few ideas:

1)      Soft cuddly blankets. Easy to find and when going through treatment, we often are cold.

2)      For those going through chemo, a soft hat to keep heads warm and look nice, without itching. For those struggling with hair loss, something nice is gold.

3)      Also hard candy is nice when taste is screwed up by treatment. Old fashioned lemon drops are wonderful and easy to find.

4)      ANYTHING offering hope. From signs with quotes, to books on the subject; we’re grasping for all the hope we can grab hold of.

5)      Gift cards are always a winner, but package them up in clever ways. My music rules, so iTunes gift cards were always great things.

These are just a few little things, but the main thing is not to avoid the friend with cancer because they’ve never needed you like they are right now. I can tell you first hand that it’s an awful feeling to see all of your friends bail because you’ve got cancer and they can’t deal with it. Be there; take them shopping, to lunch or anything that can get their minds off of treatment.

It doesn’t take a lot to be a friend, time and simply being there is the best gifts offered. 🙂

Have a wonderful week and see you soon!

Caring for What You’ve Been Given…

For the survivor each day is a blessing or so it should be, but in the beginning we live in fear, worrying about recurrences. After a while we start getting back to “normal” (not real normal, but our new normal) and we promise that we will NEVER take our bodies for granted, again… Time goes by and we get comfortable (another word for lazy) and little by little we often get back to the bad habits we had before cancer.

Why do we do this? We should learn and steer clear of repeating old mistakes, but complacency often returns and we simply get too comfortable. Let’s not allow this to happen… Thirty minutes a day could make a huge difference.

Ideas for 30 minutes that can help take care of what you’ve been given:

  1. Go for a walk because fresh air is good for you, as is getting off the couch (take your dog, too, it’s good for him also).
  2. Take a hike! No, really, just do it.
  3. Dance the night away (won’t even feel like exercise).
  4. Play a game of basketball with the kids (the outside kind, not in front of the television).
  5. Take a class like Zumba and it actually feels like a party (there’s both classes for the ladies and coed).
  6. Get a punching bag and let go (relief on SO MANY levels!).
  7. Play golf (personally, this just makes me angry, but to each his/her own).
  8. Take the kids bowling (have fun and relax)
  9. Join a 5k and whether you walk or run, you’ll likely be helping a great cause and create a habit.
  10. Just get up and move!

Just remember to get a doctor’s approval before beginning any exercise program after being inactive and get moving… You won’t regret it (in the long run).

“Exercise should be regarded as tribute to the heart.”  ~Gene Tunney

Creating a Care Package for a Friend with Cancer

Putting together a care package for a friend with cancer will be one of the most wonderful gifts you can give. I’m speaking from experience and every little gift and card keeps your spirit going (I have each and every card and item seven years later). It doesn’t have to be elaborate because it’s the thought that counts, anyhow and it blesses regardless.

Here are some fun ideas, followed by a list of special items that help cancer survivors through their treatment.

1.       Lemon Drops—Helps settle stomach and with dry mouth… Just plain yummy.

2.       Mint Tea—Soothing and assists with digestion.

3.       Aquaphor—This is a must for those going through radiation. Helps with burn and the extremely dry skin.

4.       Silky Soft Scarf/Hat—Nice for those dealing with hair loss, especially when it’s cold.

5.       Stuffed Animal—Just something fun that ends up meaning a lot. Took mine with me for each surgery.

6.       Card—There are a number of nice cancer support cards available these days (Have seen them at both Hallmark and Walmart).

7.       Chocolate—Need I say more? Be careful if individual is having chemo, but if not, should be good to go!

8.       Puzzle Books—Something to do during treatment/recovery.

9.       Inspirational Books—There are a number of wonderful books on the subject matter. A personal favorite is Chicken Soup for the Survivor’s Soul.

10.   Trashy Novels—This is a matter of personal taste and could as easily be mysteries or whatever the individual prefers.

11.   CDs—Feel good music and or something soothing to help rest when needed.

These are just a few ideas, but put them in a nice little basket or gift bag and I guarantee you’ll have a winner.

Once you choose hope, anything’s possible.  ~Christopher Reeve