Five Things You Can do for Someone with Cancer

So someone you care about just got diagnosed with Cancer. There are a LOT of emotions going on, most of them shitty ones. It’s a rough time. Really effing rough. Some people don’t know what to say or do, so they don’t do anything. Other folks, are there in an instant, offering ALL THE HELP. Others want to help, but just don’t know what to do. There is no “right” way to react. But you can be assured that if you act from the heart and it will mean something to your loved one.

  1. If they ask for help of some kind and you can be of assistance, do it. Folks going through Cancer treatment need rides, company, meals, distractions, and hope. Shortly after my diagnosis and meeting with my surgeon, my friend Kevin said, “What do you need from us?” My answer was that I didn’t want to feel alone. Cancer treatment is a very lonely thing because ultimately you have to endure this all by yourself. I wanted to avoid that feeling as much as possible, so I asked for walking buddies, visitors, and distractions. TeamKLB came through for me in a MILLION different ways.
  2. Calls, texts, cards, flowers, emails. The amount of people that were checking in on me really helped to pull me through emotionally. “Grief shared is halfed. Joy shared is doubled.” There is no truer quote for me. Because I shared my story so openly, a weight was lifted off of me. Check in on your loved one and allow them to share their feelings with you. This is not about how uncomfortable this may feel for you, this is about being there for your loved one.
  3. If your love language is Acts of Service (as mine is), here were my favorite acts of service: homemade healthy meals, helping me put Christmas away, cleaning my house, delivering food (usually Jamba Juice), and being a walking buddy.
  4. If your love language is Gifts, here are my favorite gifts: Whole Foods gift cards,  Nordstrom square silk scarves (for those that lose their hair), a lightweight sleeping cap (again for those that lose their hair), cozy blankets/socks/sweaters, breast cancer jewelry, book gift cards, iTunes gift cards, and boredom boxes with puzzles and the like. I got quite a few handmade gifts, which to me, fall under both Gifts and Acts of Service, and these were my most favorite: a watercolor of me, a cross stitch saying TeamKLB, and a hand carved wooden ribbon.
  5. Help your loved one get in contact with a Cancer support center. For me, Bay Area Cancer Connections was an integral component of my healing. They had tons of resources, as I’m sure other Cancer support centers do as well.

It saddens me that I need a post like this on my blog. My journey began in 2014 and I have been asked this question too many times already. I wish you the best, I wish your loved one the best, and I wish for a world without Cancer.

I’ll leave you with a quote.

“Having a complete meltdown IS handling your grief. Keeping it bottled up and deep inside you and not going into it is called avoiding your grief. It’s like standing in waves at the sea shore. In the beginning there are lots of rollers, they come very fast, they knock you all over the place. Down the road they come more slowly, but they never stop coming completely. And every so often there is just a killer wave that knocks you down, takes you under, flips you down and up and down, until all you can do is hope that very soon you will pop into the air and be able to catch a breath. YOU don’t handle the waves, the WAVES handle you. Give yourself as much time and space as you need. The less you fight the waves, the sooner you pop up into the air again.”

Hugs and Health <3,

Katie

Cancerversary

Hi Team KLB,

Tomorrow marks the first anniversary of the day my whole world changed. I’ve been reliving the emotions that I felt leading up to my biopsy and diagnosis. Lately, I’ve also been thinking about those first few days and weeks post diagnosis and remembering just how hard it was. As of now, I feel slightly numb to how hard it was to process things in the beginning. Sometimes I talk about having Cancer like it was a cold. While I know it was nothing like that, I’m so used to it now, that’s it’s just my new normal.

I kept thinking about this is when “my life got flipped-turned upside down” which is also a small part of the lyrics to the theme song for the “Fresh Prince of Bel Air”. So, to mark this Cancerversary, I rewrote the lyrics to fresh prince to reflect how cancer “flipped-turned upside down” my life (with the help of my favorite musician :).

Here are my new song lyrics:

Queen of Team KLB

 

Now this is a story all about how

My life got flipped-turned up side down

And I’d like to take a minute

Just listen and see

I’ll tell you how I became Queen of Team KLB

 

In Silicon Valley, born and raised

In the classroom was where I spent most of my days,

Schoolin’ out, gradin’, teaching all cool,

Playin’ bralyball outside of school.

 

When a couple of lumps that were up to good,

started making trouble in my neighborhood.

I had one little test and my family got scared,

Dr. said, “You’ve got cancer, but let’s kick it out of here!”

 

Went through Chemo, lost all of my hair

Felt really weak, didn’t like lookin’ in the mirror

Doctors said, “tumor’s shrinkin’, yo’ almost there!”

And in end, I would say I was a survivor!

 

I pulled through surgery and by December 8,

I was remission, I told the cancer “see ya later!”

I looked at my life, CANCER FREE,

I put on my cape as Queen of Team KLB.

 

I hope you were able to sing along in your head and that you enjoyed it!

My hair is growing back and while I’m glad I have it and I’ll take this over no hair ANYDAY, I really hate it. Everyone says, “you’re hair looks great” or “I really love it” and one friend even said that I looked more beautiful with short hair because hair would just take away from the beauty of my face. (While that was a wonderful compliment, I used to have hair for the previous 30 years of my life and I never felt that way.) It’s not that I don’t appreciate the compliments, I truly do appreciate them, but I hate my hair the way it is and I am anxiously waiting for it to return to a more normal length and style. My hair is still my scarlet letter (as far as I’m concerned). It tells me and the world (but mostly me) every morning when I wake up “She had cancer”.

I’m still about three-four months out from my swap surgery. I’ll post more info about it after I talk with the plastic surgeon in July. I’ll be very happy to have real implants. I’ve heard that they are much more comfortable than my current expanders (because these are not comfortable – especially sleeping!).

Thanks for your continued love and support!

<3 Queen of Team KLB