I have been overwhelmed and humbled by the outpouring of support following my diagnosis, throughout all the additional testing, and now moving into the treatment phase. A special shout out to everyone who came to the potluck brunch this past Monday and helped clean, brought goodies (edible and other), and commiserate about this cancer business. Books, care packages, and well wishin’ cards have poured in and it makes me feel like a boob cancer queen 😉 Thank yous will come in some form at some point, but there’s just so much on my plate right now that they might be late in coming…please know that I am sending mental gratitude your way! I’ve got so many wonderful peeps in my corner, all wondering what they can do to help. I’ve been googling and brainstorming different ways those who want to show support can do so (but what the hell do I know, this is my first time in the Big Show…). No obligation! Just trying to come up with ideas for those who seem anxious to burn energy/time/money sticking it to my stoopid cancer x-( This first round of requests is mostly for the time period I’m getting chemo…mastectomy and radiation editions to come once those events get closer.
I’ve started a list and calendar with miscellaneous appointments, chores, tasks, and goodies through a website designed for just this kind of thing – Lotsa Helping Hands. You can get there here. It’s a work in progress as we figure out what the chemo schedule looks like, as well as my reaction to treatment (not sure which days will be most helpful for help with meals, cleaning, hugs, walksies, etc.).
I’ll start off here with a list of things I’ll want to have on hand during and after chemo, to keep in my purse all the time or in the jeboobag on treatment days.
-Plain old hand sanitizer refills, like this, but anything unscented will work. Thinking about some reusable silicone containers, as well. Despite working with Biological Safety Level 3 disease agents at work, I am far from being a germophobe at home (tidy and organized, yes…queen of clean, no), so disinfecting every surface will be a new thing to get used to.
-Gloves for cleaning and keeping the germies out, like these.
-Snacks! My favorite kind of chocolate bar is Divine dark chocolate with raspberries…always a hit! Ginger candies and cookies (when low in sugar) are supposed to be good for combating nausea and the nasty metallic taste most people get during chemo treatments. Nuts are delicious, pistachios are my fave but all kinds are welcome! I heart pretty much all veggies and fruits. Any other food that is nutritious, low/no sugar, and/or high fiber. Except for raisins…don’t even.
-Books (recommendations are swell…I’ve got a kindle and know my library card number by heart to reserve whatever my little heart desires from wherever I’m at <3).
-Lip balm. My name is Jenn and I have a lip balm addiction. In fact, this whole cancer thing might just be a ploy to get people to feed into my lip balm dependence…bwahahahaha, suckers! Burt’s Bees, Eos, pretty much any ‘flavor’ (if it’s minty Kevin won’t kiss me…I’ll let you make the call).
-Fragrance free, gentle moisturizer cream (lip balm for your skin!). I have a good all-over daily lotion I use already, but it’s looking like I’ll need some heavier artillery with the chemo. I’ve heard this works: Udderly Smooth – Extra Care (seems apropos…), as well as Aquaphor.
-Ambien CR, or some similar controlled release sleep aid (got about 2 hours last night…the ‘roids keep me constantly on the verge of sleep and awake).
-Pepcid or other H2 blocker antacids – I’ve never really had much for acid reflux or stomach upset, so I don’t know what’s out there and what’s best. I’ll tell you that my normal level of spicy (on the hot side, admittedly) is already giving me some trouble 😦
-For the ‘makers’ in the crowd, I could use a few things: sleeping/eye mask (I am not getting the best of sleep this days and find myself wanting to nap or sleep in, but the sun…), hankies (looks like I’m going to lose my nose hairs, which will cause constant dripping, so it would be nice to have some pretty, cotton, reusable snot wipers), warm socks/glorified slippers (especially for chemo treatments, but also around the house).
-Games (board, card, app). Recommendations appreciated. Small and portable for chemo treatments is good.
-Any other ideas you have!
For people requesting an address, here is the not uncomplicated answer:
Before February 15 – 5302 Odana Rd. #304 Madison, WI 53711
February 15 and later – 306 Palomino Ln. #4 Madison, WI 53705