7 Ways to Help Those Battling Cancer

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 - Key things can really help those fighting cancer. | www.joyinthehome.com

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.

Encouraging Cards

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.

Staying Positive During Cancer | Joy in the Home


Journaling Through Cancer

Journaling through cancer has been shown to do a lot of good for patients and loved ones. I know that I have used journaling to grieve the lost of 5 pregnancies and turned to it when my dad was diagnosed with cancer for the second time, and with direr outcomes expected. There is power in the written word, especially when releasing it from the emotions of things out of your control.

Journaling Through Cancer - Proven to help the mental part of this difficult journey. Learn more about how to do it for a positive outlook. | www.joyinthehome.com

Journaling Through Cancer

My dad has been sick for quite some time, but when he was first diagnosed with a tumor in his lung, it shook us as a family. Fear griped our minds, as we braced for the unknown that lied ahead.

I remember the joy we all felt the day he rang his chemo bell to symbolize his end of chemo. He still had a few more radiation treatments to go, but the end was in sight.

Over the new few months, we got word that his tumor had shrunk a great deal, and my dad was still doing what he could do to stay health, and celebrate the new health he was feeling.

Our family enjoyed him oxygen free over the summer, and loved seeing him laughing and enjoying life again.

However, that all seemed to change quickly, when my dad started to feel poorly again. He began to retreat to wearing oxygen again for most of the day. Before we knew it, he was back in the hospital and needing some more testing.

That is when we got the news.

His cancer is back and bigger than ever.

His tumor was now the size of tennis ball.

A tennis ball in the lung!

I couldn’t look at anything round without thinking about it in my lung. An orange, an apple, my dog’s ball all became this tumor in my mind.

I couldn’t wait to go visit my dad in New York for Thanksgiving. Our oldest son wasn’t able to go with us due to his work schedule, so it made the trip harder knowing that for the first time I was being separated from one of my own children on an important holiday.

On the trip there, I got a call from my mom telling me that my dad was in the hospital again.

The next morning, I went to visit him right before attending my uncle’s funeral on my mom’s side. It was a hard day for our family to say the least. My uncle had died of lung cancer, so as you can imagine, we were all taking it very hard.

It was then that we found out that my dad had to have a procedure to remove 1.5 liters of fluid off his lung. Think about nearly a 2 liter bottle of soda pressing on your lung.

Thankfully, he was able to enjoy Thanksgiving at home and around family.

However, the news came at the beginning of December that we all weren’t prepared to hear.

That fluid was malignant.

The cancer was spreading and quickly.

Just a few weeks before Christmas, my dad had another 1.5 liters of fluid removed and a tube put in to help drain any additional fluid that would produce itself down the road.

I was emotionally a mess. I couldn’t get out of bed at the time since I was running a high fever and sick, myself. It added to the spiral effect that I was experiencing.

It was then that I knew that I needed to journal.

I needed to write my feelings and thoughts out for my own therapy. I needed scriptures and healing quotes to fill my mind with positive thoughts, and to ponder the things that I was thankful for, even on the hardest of days when all seemed gloomy.

It was then that I realized that I was creating my cancer journal that I had wanted to create when that first diagnosis came. I started pouring my energy and focus into creating this just in time to get it to my parents and siblings for Christmas.

I was giving the gift of hope for Christmas.

My daughter was busy helping with the design and getting it submitted to Amazon for print.

The joy I saw on my parent’s face when I gave them their own 31 Days of Journaling Through Cancer was priceless. I turned the pages to some of my favorite verses and quotes that fueled me through my tears and emotions.

It was so nice to be able to all come together on Christmas, and smile through the trial while having talks of positivity and ‘we are going to beat this supporting each other like we never have before’. 

31 Days of Journaling Through Cancer

In my journal there are 31 days, with each day has a powerful verse and a quote about health or healing. Then on the two pages for each day, there is space for the key elements of journaling through cancer:

  • Positive reflection – Positivity is key to healing and the fight against cancer is no different. Dwelling on anything positive is so important and necessary.
  • Negative release – We all have negative thoughts, and until we release them in writing our mind continues to deal with these thoughts. Write them down and forget them!
  • Words of encouragement – We all need each other, and encouragement is often overlooked while battling cancer. In my journal, you have space to capture the encouragement, big or small, from others or even encouragement that you find on your own.
  • I’m thankful for – There is so much to find in the fight against cancer that can take your joy away, but also the heart of thankfulness. Making it a daily habit to find at least one thing to be thankful for is a way to battle cancer with the mind, and never giving up.

A few days after Christmas when my family left New York, my mom told me that she has been using my journal. She told her it makes her cry a lot, but it is really helping her walk through her feelings and find a positive mindset to face the day ahead.

My gift of hope keeps on giving, because those words were my words of encouragement that day.

My dad is about to start his second round of chemo, and I’m looking forward to hearing that bell ring a second time.

If you are facing the hardest fight of your life, or that of a love ones, I want to share the gift of hope with you as well. You can journal the four parts that I shared in this post, but if you are like me and feed off positive words of scripture and quotes of health and healing, then I encourage you to get your 31 Days of Journaling Through Cancer, and use your mind to fight against cancer today.

Here's a free download that can help you, or a loved one, stay positive during cancer.

Staying Positive During Cancer | Joy in the Home


You may find this post helpful in your journey to battling cancer, as well.

31 Bible Verses for Families Affected by Cancer | www.joyinthehome.com