Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Ideas to Encourage a Cancer Patient

How do you encourage someone who is undergoing treatments for cancer? I can't speak for everyone, as we are all different, and what encourages one person may not be the best idea for someone else. But, I want to at least share some of the things that encouraged ME when I took foot on my cancer journey. That way, if you are looking for ways to bless someone else diagnosed with cancer (or for anyone who is experiencing a long-term illness of some sort), maybe this will help spark some ideas...

ENCOURAGING CARDS - Sending a card is quick and easy. I received many cards in the mail, and it brought great encouragement to know someone was thinking of me and praying for me. Some cards had inspirational verses or poems in them, and some were humorous or light-hearted. They all have a special place in my heart.

NOTES OF ENCOURAGEMENT - If you don't send a card, at least consider sending a note in an e-mail, a text message, or on Facebook. These are not always as personal as a card in the mail, but can still bring encouragement when its needed.

MEALS - I wrote a post awhile back about BLESSING OTHERS THROUGH MEAL MINISTRIES. Meals of any kind (homemade and hot, frozen, or gift cards to local fast-food restaurants) were a great help to me and my family when I wasn't feeling well.

FLOWERS - Several times, I received some pretty flowers or a nice green plant to help bring some color and cheer to the room. Flowers are always a nice way to say you care.

CHILDCARE - I could not have made it without the support of friends and family who took care of the kids on treatment days or during doctor's appointments.

REMEMBERING THE KIDS - A friend sent the kids a box of DVD's and activity books especially for them, to help keep them occupied on days when I was laying on the couch. It was so sweet of her to think of them, and made them feel special too.

THINKING OF YOU GIFTS - These can be anything, but here are some of the things that were a blessing to me:

1.  Reading material - Magazines, Devotional books, and other books that brought encouragement.

2.  Cozy blankets, afghans, or quilts - I received several, and most of them were homemade, but a store-bought one is nice too.

3.  Slippers/slipper socks to keep my feet warm.

4.  Scarves and hats to keep my head covered after losing my hair.

5.  Crossword puzzle books

6.  DVD's of good movies or TV shows to watch.

7.  Cookies and/or other snacks. I loved getting things like muffins, quick breads, and oatmeal cookies that could be eaten for a quick breakfast or for snacks.

8.  A "goodie bag" or box of several needed items such as gum, mints, sour candy, tissues, bath salts, lotion, hand sanitizer, pen and journal, water bottle, puzzle books, etc.

PERSONAL CONTACT - As long as I wasn't feeling too sick, a visit from a friend was a nice change of pace. Even just stopping by for a 10-minute chat helped to lighten my mood.

PRAYER - If you can't do any of the above, you CAN commit to praying for someone. I had several who said they were praying for me and my family daily. I know these prayers helped to get us through the difficult days.

Isaiah 35:3 - Encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble.

82 comments:

  1. These are such great ideas! My grandmother is a breast cancer survivor and I instantly thought of her when I read your post. Thank you for sharing these tips as well as your story. God bless!

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  2. When my mom was fighting cancer all the above was such an encouragement to her. Thanking for sharing :)

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  3. I too have had several bouts of cancer and thankfully have been 5 years free just this month. My friends went out of their way to cook for my family and pray for my recovery. It meant the world to me that life continued and my cancer was just a short term obstacle; they didnt' get hung up on it. We still had talks about life. That was important to me.

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    1. I'm sorry to hear you also had cancer. I agree that it is nice to have friends who will continue to be a part of your life without always bringing up the disease.

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  4. Thank you so much! I just found out my Aunt has breast cancer and I've been wanting ways to encourage her. This is a great list that I will definitely be using!

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    1. I'm sorry to hear about your Aunt. If she would be interested, refer her to my blog. She can read about My Cancer Journey, and maybe it will help bring her some encouragement.

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  5. This is a great list! I really love the idea of meal ministries!

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  6. Talk about a "from the heart" post. Am so glad you are on the other side of this disease now. I especially like the gift list. I have often given homemade items to loved ones suffering in any way. Thanks for the inspiration.

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  7. Great ideas, I will certainly be using some of these in the future.

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  8. Thank you so much for these tips! My personal favorite is cooking for people. :)

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  9. These gifts and acts of kindness are so meaningful. My mom was chronically ill and friends used to give her little angel pins to remind her they were praying for her. She fastened them to the outside of her Bible cover. She is now living a much fuller life in heaven. I kept her Bible and now have the little pins that remind me of my mom.

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    1. What a sweet way to show someone you are thinking of them. I'm sure your mom's Bible is a very special keepsake.

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  10. Ideas to Encourage a Cancer Patient these kind acts & gifts will not go unnoticed by Cancer Patient . Thanks for sharing.

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  11. Thanks for so many helpful hints; it's so easy to feel helpless when someone you care about it sick.

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    1. Yes, it is. That's why I wanted to share these ideas.

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  12. I think hand written notes are such a personal and sweet way to tell someone you're thinking of them, especially in today's digital age. Also not having to cook for a meal is a relief, too. Thank you for all the wonderful suggestions!

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    1. Yes, a personal note can be so encouraging.

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  13. These are wonderful ideas, thank you so much for sharing these, it's hard to know what to do to help ease someone's grief, pain and fear.

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  14. This is a great list. My mom has had cancer off and on for most of my life (and is in her third remission!). I have seen firsthand how helpful and encouraging these simple gifts can be. A good friend was recently diagnosed, so I will probably be doing these soon. Thanks for making such a helpful and thorough list.

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    1. Cancer is such a horrible disease. I hope your mom's doesn't return again.

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  15. Wonderful ways for us to bless others! Great suggestions for when you don't know what to do or how to help.

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  16. Hello there! Your post was so toutching! I hope you feel great now and I wish you health and happyness in the future! Also...I felt a bit sad when I have read your post because I always feel bad when I hear about people suffering of this illness...I don't even write the name....
    Kiss you and wish you all the best!
    Sinziana

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  17. There are so many people with cancer these days that these tips will surely come in handy. Like a death, one never knows what to do to help care for the other person.

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  18. Such a great list. In the last few years I have had many people in my circle battle cancer. Some lost, some won, some are still fighting. I hope that in my lifetime there is a cure and not just treatments.

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    1. It would be so great to finally have a cure.

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  19. Wow, great post. Sometimes people want to do something but aren't sure what to do. I'd say a list of verses like a month long printable of verses as you prayer through cancer would be really great. I like to post 31 days of prayer on variety of topics. Check out these 2 posts and you'll see the downloads at the bottom. One about praying for your husband and one about praying God's will for your money.

    http://www.kellycoxathome.com/3-steps-toward-living-debt-free/
    http://www.kellycoxathome.com/love-and-respect/

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    1. Thank you for the links. I will check them out.

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  20. This is a great list. I have always felt unsure how to act or what to say, so I have stayed away more than anything else and just prayed for them.

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  21. Great thoughts! I have a couple friends dealing with this right now.

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  22. This is actually really helpful! It's hard to know how to best support someone going through treatment!

    Thanks for sharing!

    Miss--

    www.noaveragehomemaker.com

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  23. Thank you for these tips to encourage a cancer patient. I often feel awkward when it comes to comforting someone if I've never been in their situation. I think childcare, thinking of the kids, and meals are especially good ideas!

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    1. I hope these ideas will be helpful to you.

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  24. These are really helpful ideas, and I have put your post onto my Pinterest board for future use. Thanks for sharing :-)

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  25. Great points. My mom and mother-in-law are breast cancer survivors and we are waiting results of bladder cancer testing on my dad right now. Thanks for the ideas.

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    1. Happy to hear of two survivors in your family. Hope the same for your dad.

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  26. Great tips! My Mom has recently finished chemo treatments for stomach and lung cancer. Being the only sibling in town, I have been the one helping her and my Dad. Without the support of those around us, the task would have been daunting. Love and encouragement are great healers and you have pointed out many ways to show that love. Thanks and good luck to you!

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    1. Wow, you have your hands full. So sorry. Happy to hear you have had support through it all. That is definitely important.

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  27. This was a fantastic list and one I'll be bookmarking. Often when friends and loved ones are going through, you want to do SOMETHING but don't want to come across as invading their personal space.

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    1. I agree. I hear that so often, which is why I made up this list of ideas.

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  28. These are some great ideas. I've known a few people who've had cancer over the years but I've never known what to do or say to them. Thanks for all the tips! Good luck on your journey.

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    1. Too many people are being diagnosed with cancer these days. I hate to hear about it. But, thankfully, God has given us Science, medicine, technology, and knowledge to know how to use it all. Many are surviving.

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  29. Great info. I always feel so lost on how to help someone in these difficult situations. I feel like the little things like this are seen as trivial or not really helpful, so I'm glad to know they are! Thank you for sharing from your journey.

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    1. Nothing that comes from your heart is trivial, and even the "little" things can be very helpful.

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  30. This is a terrific list. One of my friends just wanted freezer meals so she could use them when she needed them. I am going to pin as I know I will need to reference this later (sadly).

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    1. Thank you. Its unfortunate to have to use a list like this, but I'm sure whatever you do will be a blessing to those who need it.

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  31. Thanks for sharing these tips. Sometimes you don't know what to do when you have a sick relative or loved one but these are great ideas.

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  32. This is great advice, especially when so many of us truly don't know what to say or do to help. I really like your meal ministry suggestion. There are even websites these days that make that so easy!

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    1. Thank you. Yes, if you click on the link in this post that says BLESSING OTHERS THROUGH MEAL MINISTRIES, I have one of those websites listed on that post.

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  33. Thanks for the advice and story. I am one of those that never seem to know what to do and this can come off as not caring but in fact, I care a bit too much.

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    1. I can understand what you mean by that.

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  34. What a thoughtful and well put together post. I'm bookmarking this. There are so many ways to reach out and yet one wonders what's the best thing to do. Your suggestions are so practical.
    Thank you.

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  35. A longtime friend was diagnosed with cancer not long ago; I'll have to see if I can implement some of your tips to encourage her.

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  36. Thanks for sharing this list. It's sometimes difficult to know what we can do to help an ill friend or loved one.

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  37. Cancer seems to be affecting SO MANY people I know lately. I love these ideas. Sometimes the most practical things are the best things :)

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    1. It is overwhelming to see how many are being affected by cancer these days. Just too many.

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  38. These are awesome ideas!! I recently had two good friends with cancer (breast) and without knowing what to say or how to encourage, I simply went with Holy Spirit and texted or called when He directed! Not that I want to have more friends with cancer, but even those who are sick I will be able to do more for them! Thank you!

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    1. Listening to the Holy Spirit is great advice. Not everyone acts when they know they should.

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  39. Thank you for such a great reminder to think of others and not to get easily scared away by other's sickness. There are some simple ways to make some one smile who may be struggling to make it to the next day. I am fighting breast cancer and I can see it is effecting so many more young people but I do have hope that this disease with have better treatment options and cures in the future for my daughter's generation.

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    1. I am so sorry to hear you are fighting breast cancer, especially at such a young age. I was 43 when I was diagnosed, and I think that is young, too. But, you are so much younger. I am hoping with you for better treatment options in the future.

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  40. Thank you for this! My friend's sister was just diagnosed with cancer and I felt helpless, I had no idea how to comfort her. This is perfect, thank you again!

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  41. My mom has been through two long years of cancer treatments - this list is wonderful. Might I add that caregivers need encouragement as well. The cancer takes such a toll on the family too.
    I will be sharing this with my women's group at church as one of our moms was just diagnosed with colon cancer at a young age. This is a great way for all of us to step up and encourage.

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    1. You are so right - caregivers need just as much support. Thank you for mentioning that. And, thank you for sharing this with your women's group. I hope it is helpful.

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