So, first off, I'm not asking for help. :-) We are not in dire need for anything right now. But I am willing to accept help. I am often asked, "Is there anything you need?" Or, "Is there anything I can do for you?" And many conversations end with, "If you need anything, let me know!" It makes me feel good to know that people care and want to do something nice or helpful for me and my family. But it rarely goes further than conversation, because it feels so awkward to actually take anyone up on their offer. As a matter of fact, I have had this blog in my "drafts" section for over 2 months. My mom recently called and asked what types of things she could do for me. It made me ashamed of myself that I would keep so quiet that those who really love me have no idea how to best show that love. So now I'm posting, whether I like it or not.
Since my most recent test results, I have been thinking a lot about the future. I feel like I cannot take anything for granted, and that it would be unwise to not prepare for serious difficulties. So I am just going to give you a list of things that could be beneficial to myself and my household...and if you have a desire to use any of these suggestions, it will be a blessing.
- Send a card, an email, a text, a note on facebook, a comment on my blog; these thing encourage me so much, and they often come exactly when I am feeling down. It doesn't take much time, but it really can make my entire day better.
- Visit. I know you're busy. And I know many of you live a ways off. But if you can visit me, please do. I have friends and family states away...people I haven't seen in years, that I love dearly. I cannot make a trip to see each of you. But if you're planning a family vacation to Florida, stop in TN and have dinner with me. Or swing by on your way to a weekend in Gatlinburg or Nashville. For those of you who are a bit closer, try to plan a Sunday afternoon meal with us, or call me to have lunch with you. I just want to see you, give you a hug, make another memory. I'm not trying to sound morbid; I don't expect to die any time soon. But dealing with this does make death very real, and I have stopped assuming that I'll have time to spend with my loved ones out in the vast, unplanned future.
- Make a family meal. Several people have cooked for us over the past year and a half, and it is a blessing every time. Now that I am working second shift, it is especially sweet when someone prepares a meal, because then I know that my daughter doesn't have to. She feels like she is getting a special gift as well, which makes it mean even more to me.
- Make a freezer meal/dish. If you have a crazy schedule and can't bring something hot to the house, freeze something that we can reheat later. It is just as much of a blessing, and it works on your timetable!
- Make a low-iodine freezer meal/dish. The low-iodine diet I have had to be on will probably be in my future quite a few times. I know for sure that I will need to go back on it for at least a week in March for more test results. If I had dishes in the freezer that I could just pull out as needed, that would be incredible. I did fine the first time I was on the diet, but that was before I was working. The last time, it was much harder. I think part of the reason was because I had no desire to plan a meal for my family AND a meal for myself while I was working every day. You can download a low-iodine cookbook for free here. Remember that any time it says, "salt," that means non-iodized salt (and also, not sea salt).
- Clean something. I think it sounds horrible to say because I know everyone gets busy and houses get messy and women take care of it even when they don't seem to have time or energy. So to tell someone it would be a blessing if they helped me in this area...it's hard. But if this is your gift, I will swallow my pride and accept it. I am not a natural housekeeper. I am good at picking up, but detail cleaning is few and far between. I have times when I get into cleaning mode, but...even then, one room about kills it. So if you are a "cleaner" and you just can't help but want to do something nice for myself and my family, you can come clean a room! Detailed cleaning in any part of the house really would be a blessing. Not only to me, but to my entire family.
- Plan something for my kids. Life right now is pretty normal (our new normal, that is). But when I have to have a treatment, that normal is seriously disrupted. After my tests in March, we will know if/when I am doing another radiation treatment. Anything you can think of to make a time when I'm away from my family for 3-4 days easier would be awesome. Planning to come help them with a "welcome home" project, dropping off a new movie or game, teaching Trin to cook a new meal, planning a day at the park (if it's warm enough by then)...this isn't something to be done right now, but my main concern while I'm away is always my children. I hate being away from Brad, but it's different because he's an adult. I don't want these times to color the memories my kids have of their childhood with dread or fear. This is something that I absolutely cannot do for them. Any show of love and support at these times goes into my most cherished memories.
- Send cash. Again, I want to make sure you know I'm not asking for this. We are managing well right now. But there are things we are trying to take care of quickly because we don't know what the future holds. I am not working because we cannot get by without that extra income. I'm working to pay things off quickly and not be in a pinch over doctor bills. So when someone sends money or a gift card, it is a very practical, extremely appreciated gift.
Ok, that's all I can think of right now. If you are one of the many, many people who have offered help, or have helped in any way in the past, I want you to know how much I appreciate you. Your show of love wraps around me and comforts me when days are difficult. Right now, I am doing very well. I feel great, our household is running smoothly, and I don't have to think about test results for a few months. But I should have posted this a long time ago, and only my fear of how it would come across has held me back. I love you all, and look forward to hearing from you.