Tips and tricks to help you on your journey. Have one to share? Contact us or email.

Helpful Tips on Supporting a Loved-One in Need Back to Top ^

Many times friends and families struggle with how to help a loved one with cancer. The following suggestions may help:

  • Day care for children during appointments, treatments or bad days
  • Funny cards or emails
  • Day planner for appointments, treatments and meds
  • Warm socks or protective slippers
  • Offer to help with web research
  • Record treatments on your calendar and be in touch, then invite them to lunch/short shopping trip on a "good day"
  • Invite them to your home for dinner and a game of cards
  • Hats and scarves - make them pretty and/or fun as well as protective
  • Lipstick - how about a new shade?
  • Be available to go wig shopping to provide a caring opinion
  • Put-up (and then take-down) holiday decorations
  • Arrange for a relaxing manicure, pedicure or facial
  • Have friends chip-in on a portable CD or MP-3 player
  • Find a soothing CD for them to listen to during treatment
  • How about a book or radio program on CD?
  • Look for expressive earrings for a feminine feel
  • Create a box of creative outlets - knitting, sketching, beading, etc.
  • Spend time planting/deadheading/maintaining their garden
  • Concert and movie tickets for a special night out
  • Fresh flowers that remind them you are there
  • Restaurant gift certificates, especially for healthy take-out
  • Donate to a cancer organization
  • Participate in a cancer walk fundraiser
  • Offer to drive them, and them sit with them, during treatments
  • Send old-fashioned, newsy letters and pictures
  • Radiation care package of natural soaps, deodorants and aloe
  • A journal to capture thoughts, hopes, fears and dreams
  • Offer to send out email updates or create a distribution list
  • Create a "cleaning" schedule using any available loved-one
  • Offer to run errands or drive them around while they do them
  • Take their caregiver out for dinner and a movie
  • Offer to help write thank you notes or address envelopes
  • Take them to the park for some quiet time outdoors
  • Offer to take the dog for a walk
  • Cook a comforting, healthy meal on treatment days
  • Give a gift certificate for a healing massage or facial
  • Wash their car
  • Take them to hit a bucket of golf balls, they probably miss the game
  • Create an assortment of herbal teas to calm them or help with sleep
  • Bring the supplies and make ice cream sundaes
  • Talk to the local Boy Scout troop if they need help with snow shoveling or lawn mowing. The boys always need service hours.
  • Collect healthy recipes that are easy/quick to prepare
  • Visit and let them nap, take a bath, etc. while you watch the kids
  • Bring your loving pet over for a snuggle
  • Offer to massage their hands with lotion
  • Regularly send cards - not just once
  • Help to create a medication chart with doses and times
  • Offer to fluff the pillows and loan them your heating pad
  • Send an email "thought of the day"
  • Surprise them with their favorite milkshake
  • Bring a good movie to sit and watch together - and give the caregiver a break
  • Make sure they have a cordless phone
  • Be yourself, ask questions, hold the advice and don't be afraid
  • Drop by and do some laundry
  • Put them on your church prayer chain
  • Create a "do not disturb" sign for when they're not feeling well
  • Take them shopping for a new, colorful outfit
  • Don't give up! Continue to offer your help
  • Collect inspiring quotations and tape them to their refrigerator
  • Remember the curative powers of homemade chicken noodle soup
  • Find a special treasure for their "chemo bag" so they know you're thinking about them - jade for healing, angels for protection, etc.
  • Knit them a warm scarf, in a manly navy or a feminine pastel
  • Find a comedy DVD to view on a dark day
  • Offer to read to them when they are fatigued or feeling ill

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Anti-Cancer Lifestyle ChoicesBack to Top ^

To learn more about making healthy choices during and after cancer, read Anti-Cancer: A New Way of Life by David Servan-Schreiber, MD, PhD. This book addresses current developments in cancer research and offers tips on how people living with cancer can fight it and how healthy people can prevent it.

Breast Reconstruction Tips and Tricks Back to Top ^

Ask your surgeon about the following post-surgical ideas:

  • Wedge pillow to sleep elevated
  • Drainage tube control - create strip of material you will wear around your neck then hold tube in the eye of a safety pin or ask for a pocketed vest from surgeon
  • Ask the nurses for recovery tips - they can be a font of information!

Hospital/Home Comfort Tips

  • Soft, fuzzy socks - it's usually cold/dry at the hospital to prevent infection
  • Button-down-the-front clothing - pajamas, cotton blouses (casual and dress) will give you a sense of independence at home while your movement is limited if your surgery was on both breasts
  • Lip balm and moisturizer
  • Dry shampoo - you won't be able to shower rght away
  • Baby wipes
  • Mints
  • Battery operated tooth brush - requires less arm movement to get it done
  • Soft blanket or throw
  • Enterainment that doesn't require concentration, i.e. music or magazines


Getting Those Calories In - Ideas For a Mechanical Diet Back to Top ^

Attention head/neck cancer survivors: meeting your nutritional needs can be challenging. Here are some tried and true ideas and look for more ideas under the Recipe section:

  • Blend a can of chicken with gravy and serve over mashed potatoes
  • Pancake made with milk, a serving of peanut butter spread over the top, a generous serving of hot syrup poured over the pancake; let it sit a moment so that the pancake is very soft
  • Morning high protein/high calorie shake - one vanilla Boost Plus or Ensure Plus, a serving of peanut butter, one banana pre-sliced and frozen, and chocolate syrup to taste mixed in blender until smooth
  • One sliced banana topped with a serving of peanut butter and honey
  • Greek yogurt mixed with Carnation Instant Breakfast Mix

Get That Hair to Grow! Back to Top ^

From cancer survivor LuAnn Thiel: Surface by Wayne Grand - Shampoo, conditioner and treatment.

Natural Nausea RemedyBack to Top ^

Consider using Sea Bands, elastic/magnetic therapy bands used for sea sickness. Place the bands three finger lengths down from the top of each wrist.

Relaxation During Radiation TreatmentsBack to Top ^

If the radiation treatments make you feel anxious, try deep breathing exercises to relax your heart and mind. Or be like our survivor, Dick, and sing a favorite song in your head!

Reminder Binder Back to Top ^

Make a 3-ring binder with plastic sleeves to put all the cards/notes in you receive to remind you on a bad day how many people truly care about you. Add motivational messages, inspiring quotes, and anything that makes you smile!

"Living Beyond Breast Cancer, by Hester Hill Schnipper, an oncology social worker and survivor, helped me find my 'new normal.'” Kathi Hansen, Featured HOPE Survivor

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