Do you know someone battling cancer? It seems that at the rate cancer is growing, we all should know at least one or more people who are fighting cancer head on. I know my dad is at the moment, and it can be a really difficult time for a family to go through.
7 Ways to Help Those Battling Cancer
I’m 400 miles away from my dad as he is battling cancer, and that has proven to be a difficult thing for me to go through emotionally. I’m part of a local church who have been lifting my family up in prayer during this time, and from time to time I get asked how they can help beyond prayers.
At first, I was unsure of how to answer them because they are so far away from us, and the first things that came to mind weren’t easy to accomplished.
Personally, I was asking myself the same question…
“How can I help beyond prayers, for my own parents, when I just couldn’t be there physically.”
Meals are always the first thing that comes to my mind because people have to eat. My siblings that live close to my parents alternate bringing meals to them. I couldn’t quite do that being so far away. I decided that I was going to make 12 freezer meals for them, and take it to them when we visited.
They are loving the soups and stews that I made with the help of some loving friends.
In addition to these meals, I made them some banana bread and ginger snaps. I put them in sandwich bags, and then placed them in the freezer bags, so they could take a little out at a time.
Another great idea is sending gift cards to some of their favorite restaurants that deliver, grocery stores and even gas cards, since doctor appointments are happening all the time.
I’m so thankful that the idea of sending encouraging cards came to my mind, when friends wanted to do more than just pray for my parents.
My parents have been loving getting unexpected encouraging cards in the mail from just those that are praying for them. My mom has them hung up on her wall and reads them often.
They received one card from a dear friend, on one of the hardest days that my dad had been in the hospital. My mom was just having an emotional day, when she opened the card. It made her cry even more, but it was more of release knowing that so many were praying for them.
They love the cards, and I know others would as well!
Visits or Calls
When people are diagnosed with cancer, they often think about their life and what they want to change in it. One of those main things is spending more time with those they love.
For my parents, this was no different!
They wanted their children to visit more often, but not all together, since the noise can challenge my dad’s patience when he isn’t feeling well.
During his recent period of being in the hospital, his dear friend was admitted in the hospital as well, and it wasn’t looking good. They were both battling cancer, but in two different hospitals. Neither was up to visiting the others, and their thoughts were consumed with each other.
After they were both home from their hospital stay, my mom thought about a phone call. It brightened my dad’s day, and these two friends for nearly 50 years, chatted on the phone.
It was true medicine to both of them!
My parents also enjoy video chats with my family from time to time. It helps seeing their faces, and not just hearing their voices.
Cleaning Their House
Cancer patients have to give their energy to treatment and healing. The family members are their care takers during this time, and that includes doctor appointments, and errands of all kinds.
As you can imagine, house chores take a back seat and can be easily overwhelming to a care taker.
Offering to come once a week to clean the bathroom, vacuum, do laundry, or even do some errands, could lighten a heavy load for a family needing it so much.
Journaling is a positive way to deal with the emotions of fighting cancer. Providing journals for not only the patient but their primary health care giver in the family, can give them a way to deal with the emotions of the battle.
This is why I created my 31 Days of Journaling Through Cancer for my parents, and my siblings. I wanted to help them, and myself, journal through the emotions and thoughts that we were facing each day.
Most people don’t know how to journal, but it is as simple as taking a pen in hand, and writing what comes to mind.
Treat Them Normal
Cancer patients may not feel up to the normal things of life, but you should always give them the freedom to be normal, and do their normal things.
It can be hard to know when to step in and offer help, but I have found that offering to help if needed was always better than just assuming my dad wasn’t able to do something himself.
Cancer robs so much from a person, and they often have to face the trials of losing their hair, mobility, and caring for themselves in the smallest of tasks.
The best thing we can do for them is helping them when we see that they try and aren’t able, or to offer your service if you see it becoming difficult.
Keep your conversations similar to pre-cancer diagnosis. They don’t want to talk only about their cancer and how they are feeling. This is what fills their mind every waking hour.
Instead talk about their interests, current events and future plans. Yes, future plans! Give them the joy of dreaming and setting goals.
Do a Project
Those battling cancer don’t have the energy to do a normal project, but they need to occupy their mind when they are resting and regaining their strength.
My parents love puzzles. My dad hasn’t been able to do them much since being sick, but he has enjoy playing games on his iPod.
Keeping their mind engaged and feeling a part of something is so important to their mental health.
If there is a bigger project that needs to be done, but they aren’t able to help, be sure to let them be involved in the planning of the project, especially if it is something that they would have been able to do on their own prior to fighting cancer.
They really need to feel that they have a place in their life that they still belong.
If you can think of another way to help those battling cancer, I would love to hear from you.
Here's a free download that can help you, or a loved one, stay positive during cancer.