Welcome to Life Through Bifocals

Life is not always clear and easy to figure out. So grab a cup of coffee and your bifocals and let's see what we can see.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

More on What to do When Your Friend has Cancer




So your friend has cancer. You and they had a conversation and you have a feeling of just how well they are doing.  Now what?

Many times you want to help but don’t know how.  Here is a list of things you can do for them.

1.       If you pray, then pray for them. Pray for a cure. Pray for strength to get through treatment. Pray for good weather to travel to doctor’s appointments.  Pray for the caregiver.  Tell them you are praying and for what you are praying for.

2.       Call or email them every few weeks if you haven’t see them at church or work. Ask them how they are doing today.

3.       Do you sew, knit, or crochet? Then make them a hat, scarf, hand warmers, or socks to stay warm.  Can you cut with scissors?  Then take 2 pieces of fabric, each 1 yard long.  Place them back sides together and cut all the way around them about 2 inches deep and 1 inch apart, then tie the pieces together.  Give that to your friend to cover themselves with. Use fleece or flannel for warmth. What other crafts can you share with them?

4.       Can you cook? Make them some Mac and cheese or a cream based soup. Both go down easily and make for a nice meal when one is too tired to cook for themselves. Go easy on the spices!

5.       Do you go to church or other functions at the same time, sit near them and be a "wall" to protect those who may be sick from getting too close.  Colds can become very serious very fast and child- hood diseases (chicken pox and measles) can land them in the hospital.

6.       Go on Pinterest and collect all sorts of funny and inspirational sayings. Copy and paste them on black sheets, print them out and give it to them.  A great funny reminder to brighten up their day.

7.       Tell them jokes, email them jokes, and tell them funny, even embarrassing stories from your own life.  A good belly laugh will go a long way.

8.       Go with them to pick out their wig, be honest and help them find one that makes them feel comfortable.

9.       Cleaning for a Reason is a nonprofit organization partnering with maid services to offer free professionals house cleanings to improve the lives of women undergoing cancer treatment. Send them some information to see if they can get help with house work while they are having treatment.  There are limitations but if you live in a large city, it may be just right for your friend. 
Here are a few things you can do that don’t cost a lot, but mean a lot.

1.       A snack size zip lock bag with lip balm, small bottle of hand lotion (Udder cream is wonderful for people with cancer), emery board (their nails break very easily), and some hand candy (ginger, lemon or peppermint) to help with upset stomach from chemo.  Something small to put in their purse to carry around. Give them a new one every month or so.

2.       If you know someone who sews, knits or crochets, maybe ask them to make a hat, scarf, hand warmers, socks or blanket. Make a care package for them. Or buy them, using coupons to save money.

3.       A bottle of hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes on their desk allows them to clean away the germs from the computer; phone, desk, door knobs etc. and the sanitizer will help keep their hands clean.

4.       Buy them some baseball hats.  Wigs are hot and summer is coming, baseball hats are easier to wear.  You can find some that cover more of the head and tops of ears to allow them to feel more comfortable.

5.       TLCdirect.org has some really nice hats that don’t cost a lot. These hats are made for people with cancer.

6. Buy them children tooth brushes.  Doctors tell them to use those as they are more gentle on the gums which bleed easily.  Buy super heroes like the Hulk, Superman and Captain American as well as others.  One of the Princesses, Snow White, Ariel, Merida and others to help her feel pretty. Since they need to change the brush every month, buy lots! Good thing they are cheap!  Gentle tooth paste and mouth wash as well, Biotine works very well also. 
And by all means, take care of yourself because if you are sick, you too need to stay away from your friend. So eat right, take your vitamins and care for yourself, so that you can care for others.  

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

HUMPDAY HODGEPODGE!


1. April showers bring May flowers, or so the saying goes. When did you last 'shower' attention on someone or have attention 'showered' on you? Did you love it, or did all that attention make you squirm?

I do like to have a little attention showered on me. Nothing too big, just something small.  I had that happen when I turned 60 last month.  Our small group had a small ice cream cake and funny gifts for me.  It was nice because it was small. Big groups and large over the top affairs make me squirm.


2. Share a favorite 'spring break' memory. Not talking about just the 'college spring break' thing, but any favorite spring break memory you'd like to share. Keep it family friendly please!

Spring break has never been a time of vacation or stuff like that.  In the fall we take vacation after all the kids go back to school and we take time to just do whatever we want to do.  No agenda, no plans, no pressure.  We just get up and do whatever, go where ever, we want to.  That to me is so relaxing and refreshing.

3. It's National Pecan Month...are you a fan? If so, what's your favorite dish that calls for pecans?

Oh Yes, Pecan Pie is a wonderful way to eat pecans but I also like them roasted and coated lightly in sugar and cinnamon.

4.  'Put all your eggs in one basket', 'egg on your face', 'rotten egg', 'walk on eggshells', or 'a good egg'...which egg-spression could most recently be applied to your own life?

"A good egg" would apply to my life right now.  Life is good around here.

5.  In my experience___________________________________.

Oncology nurses are the kindest nurses in the world!

6. What's a  favorite song with the word rain in its title or lyrics?
When I was kid we would sing
"Rain, rain go away
Come again some other day"

That song still gets sung around here some days.  But I also like "Singing in the Rain"

7. What does the word hope mean to you?

Since I'm a Christian, the word hope to me means Heaven. I know that a Heaven is there for me and I hope (know) that Heaven is real.  But for others hope means maybe something will happen like they hope to win the lottery.  It's more of a dream that may or may not come true.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

We have had a few days of rain up here and as a result, we are seeing more grass (or maybe a better word is ground) than snow.  It's nice to see the flowers trying to break through the hard ground and so the clean up can start.  If only the temps would stay in the 50's longer.  We are suppose to see 60 on Wednesday.  Not sure I believe them, but it would be nice. 




Tuesday, April 8, 2014

What Do You Say to Someone with Cancer




Last week I wrote a bit more on what NOT to say so this week I want to write about what to say instead.

When someone first got the news that they have cancer, there is silence for a bit as the words sink in.  Some people start to cry, other hold the hand of the person that is there with them and many look at the doctor and say “What?”  The doctor then repeats “You have cancer”. They will add what kind of cancer “You have Breast Cancer, or you have Multiple Myeloma Cancer.”  But first there is silence. 
 So Be Silent.

1.       Be silent, look at your friend and be still for a few seconds.  Then say something like “I’m so very sorry”.  Give them a hug and if you are close enough cry together.

2.       It’s OK to ask “How did they find it?” or “I’m sorry, I’ve never heard of that cancer, where is it?”

3.       It’s OK to ask “I’ve never heard of that cancer, can you tell me more about it?”

4.       It’s OK to ask “When did you find out?” Some people wait a long time to let the cat out of the bag as it were.  If they don’t look or act sick, you might never have known.

5.       It’s OK to ask “Have you met your Oncologist yet and what was your first impression?”

6.       It’s Ok to ask “What's your a plan of attack?”

7.        It’s OK to ask “While on treatment, what foods should you not eat or what foods can you have to help boost your immune system?”

8.       It’s OK to ask “You have someone going with you to the doctor’s, right?”

9.       It’s OK to ask “Did you tell your boss and are they willing to help you?”

10.   It’s OK to ask “Did they warn you of any side effects?”
11. It's OK to ask "How are you doing today?"

See, what’s happening here? You don’t make any judgments about them or the type of cancer they have.  You don’t comment on how they look right now. Remember, to the person with cancer, it’s all bad news. You don’t tell those stories of others with cancer, you listen to their story.   You ask questions, let them answer.  You get a feel for how they are doing, how scared they are. You get a feel for how much they know now and how much they don’t know yet. You get a feel for how much they like their team of doctors or not. You be a friend. 

Thursday, I’ll have a list of ways you can help your friend – many are free!!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

More of what NOT to say to someone with Cancer



On March 18th, I wrote about some of the things that people have said to me.  I will write about what you can say to people with cancer,  but before that, here are a few more of the things people have really said to me.  

Really, I can't make this up.

1. "It could be worst you know". 
   "Yup sure do, I could already be dead." was my real answer. I was not in a good mood that day.  

2. "I'm sure it's fine/I'm sure it's nothing".
     Cancer is something not nothing, Cancer is scary, frightening and big, don't try to make           Cancer nothing just because you feel uncomfortable.  They feel uncomfortable as well.

3. "I know exactly how you feel."  
     Unless you have my type of cancer you don't know how I feel. Don't compare my cancer to your marriage problem or work problem.  They are not the same. I made some excuse to walk away.  

4. "Can I see your bald head?"
      "NO!" is what I say but one day I will add "I'm not a circus side show."  Just not sure   when, so be careful folks. You've been warned!!

5.  "Congratulation you're in remission and all done, you can stop worrying now."  Remission means that I'm responding to the treatment, not that I'm cured.  Yes, I'm happy that I'm responding to treatment but it also means every month I have to test to make sure I'm still in remission.  Some day I will not be in remission.  It also means I will have to live with this. You see my cancer has no cure.  The best we can do is stay in remission for as long as possible. In the meantime, I take drugs to keep me in remission  every day.  When I am no longer in remission, there are options.  But a cure is not one of them at this time.

6.  And the one statement that made me tilt my head and answer "Really?"
  "WOW! I'm gonna miss you."  I'm not planning on going anywhere just yet so how about we just enjoy our time together so you will have something to miss me over!!

Next week I'll write a few things that you can say and things you can do to help your friend.  But for now, Everything that you think need not be said - Silence is Golden!!  

Have a Blessed Day Everyone

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

APRIL FOOL HODGEPODGE!


Joyce not only is doing the A-Z Challenge this month but she came up with this weeks questions as well.  She must be taking her vitamins.


1. Since these questions are posting on the first day of April it seems only right to ask-when was the last time you did something foolish? If you can't answer that one, try this one-when was the last time someone fooled you?
Our car had to be inspected today, Hubby took it in to the shop.  About an hour later, I sent him a text asking if the car passed.  He told me that the car needed shocks and tie rods, a bill that came to $637.42 but that she was now legal.  When I typed back my shock and sadness over the amount, he told me April Fools - it had passed with flying colors.  He had made arrangements to sleep elsewere if needed.  

2. What's the last biography or non-fiction book you've read? Was it any good?
I've been so tired for so long that I don't remember the last book I read. 

3. Garlic-friend or foe? What's your favorite dish made with garlic?
Garlic - friend.  Spaghetti sauce  is my favorite.

4. Several Spring flower festivals happen in the US during the month of April. Of those listed, which would you most like to see in person...The Skagit Tulip Festival in Skagit Washington, The Dogwood Arts Festival in Knoxville Tennessee, The North Carolina Azalea Festival in Wilmington North Carolina or the Daffodil Festival Weekend on Nantucket Island, Massachussets?
The North Carolina Azalea Festival because we have some friends in North Carolina and we could visit them as well.  

5. How do you choose which blogs to read?  What is something that will make you stop and read every time? Something that makes you say, 'eh, think I'll skip this one and move on to the next'?
I enjoy blogs about crafts, foods, time management tips, organization and travelling.  If a blog has photos and is not too long I will read it but if it goes on and on and on, I'll skim it and move on to the next blog. 

6. April is National Mathematics Education Month so tell us, when did you last use math? 
I use math every day, don't we all?  From cooking for the family, balancing the checking account, sewing and following a patteren. Math is used all the time.

7. In honor of the A-Z challenge kicking off on April 1...choose one word beginning with the letter A to describe your yesterday.
Amused! Hubby does a great job at amusing me.  It's one reason I love him, among many other reasons.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
After what was clearly a very long winter, I do believe Spring has shown up!  The snow is melting and the mud season has begun.  I am glad for that and I'm glad that I'm still in remission.