Living with Triple-Negative Breast Cancer
(#12 in a series)
In my post on 10 Odd Things to Say to Someone with Breast Cancer, I said, “Trust me on this … the most effective and most appreciated gestures are the simple ones.” Seriously, if you’re ever wondering if you should pick up that phone, send that email, or bake some cookies for someone who is ill, please don’t allow awkwardness to stop you. Do it!
Allow me to share some simple kindnesses that meant the world to me.
1. My breast surgeon hugs me and my husband at every appointment. It feels genuine, and there’s a certain healing power in that.
2. One day my oncologist followed suit and spontaneously hugged me because he “admired my spirit.”
3. I received a postcard from the mail carrier I don’t even know. She’d heard from a neighbor that I had cancer and wanted to let me know that she cared.
4. One day I received an express package from an acquaintance halfway across the country. What could it be? Cookies. Beautiful, tasty cookies! The enclosed note said that she knew it was “kinda lame,” but she wanted to let me know that she was thinking of me. No, it wasn’t lame, I assured her. It was a perfect way to express a kind thought and I smiled the afternoon away. And we made short work of the cookies, too.
5. Like mystery elves, there are anonymous people who donate hand made hats and blankets to cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, and some who bring goodies like cookies and hard candies to share. These little treasures mean so much to the people receiving treatment. That blue crocheted shawl/blanket got me through some chemo sessions and will always serve as a reminder — not of chemo, but of the spirit of giving. Too bad the givers aren’t always around to see the recipient’s smile. When I’m better, I plan to do the same.