Since my initial breast cancer diagnosis, our family has been overwhelmingly fortunate in the people who have reached out to support us, both near and far. I want all of you to know how incredibly grateful we are for your love and for your support. I have been meaning to write this post for a while, because, honestly, it is helpful both for me and for others to be able to have a direct list of ways to help us out if you are so inclined. I can’t reiterate this enough – thank you all for your love and support – it has been a buoying force for us over the last 18 months, and even more so in the last two or so months when things went off the rails in terms of progression. Admittedly, I have been too overwhelmed over the last couple of weeks to provide any sort of helpful answer to this question, so in the effort of streamlining efforts, I wanted to put together this post as a way to provide direction for all of your generous offers of help. Please do not feel obligated to do anything, on this list or otherwise, as this is a gathering point for information.
Child Care/Play Dates
We are incredibly fortunate to have a wonderful preschool/child care for Felix, and are able to keep the vast majority of my appointments within his school hours, which allows us consistent, excellent child care. I try to keep Felix’s child care as consistent as possible, as he often gets very overwhelmed with lots of different caretakers. However, Felix is home with me on Tuesday afternoons and all day on Thursdays, as well as late afternoons Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays, so if you’re local and want to set up a play date, we would love that. Christian and Felix often plan weekend adventures (while I stay home and rest) and generally love company for those outings as well. Our only request is that, if anyone is under the weather, please let us know ahead of time, as I am somewhat immunocompromised on my current treatment.
Generally, I like to go to appointments by myself and take advantage of the waiting time to read or get other things done. As much as I would like to see people before and after, I typically do not have the energy to schedule coffee/lunch around appointment times, and usually prefer to go straight home, as they are usually very long and draining days.
If you are local and wish to drop off a meal with us, we would love that and tremendously appreciate it. We love most food, but have been making a big effort to include as many vegetables in our meals as possible, and I do not eat much red meat. Wednesdays and Thursdays are the best days to drop off food, as I am home most of the day.
We also use Freshdirect for grocery and prepared food delivery, and provide gift cards through their website.
I finally bit the bullet and hired a monthly housecleaner because, while I have been mostly able to keep up with the daily/weekly housecleaning (although that’s debatable and I probably have pretty low standards at this point) I finally accepted that I couldn’t keep up with the bigger cleaning stuff that needed to happen. The cleaning service we use is Maid Brigade, and they offer gift certificates through their website as well as through this link.
Gift cards are always helpful and appreciated, especially for places like Target and Amazon, as we generally get most of our household basics there. I have also been trying to assemble some family photo albums through Shutterfly.
I am starting to get medical massages to help address some of the joint pain and stiffness I have as a result of the bone metastases, and as a complimentary therapy to my current exercise program. The massage therapist I use offers online gift cards as well through her website.
As fairly new homeowners, there are always projects, both big and small, that seem to pop up with regularity, in addition to a lot of the typical house maintenance, such as yard work. Christian has been doing as many of these as he can on his own, but some of them are too big, too expensive, or too specialized for him to tackle. If you want to help out with that sort of thing, or have someone who can, that would be tremendously appreciated.
In addition, I still love getting cards, and I have saved all of the cards I’ve gotten from all of you over the past 18 months and still reread them frequently. As for more frivolous things, I love cool nights pajamas (XL) from Soma, plants for our deck, and Starbucks. I know Christian has been shouldering a significant burden as well, and would always appreciate the opportunity to go to the driving range and blow off steam with a bucket of balls.
Lastly, I have set up a fundraiser through the Breast Cancer Research Foundation as a way to help continue to fund research for metastatic breast cancer. Here is the link to the fundraising page, and here is a post of mine that goes more in-depth about the desperate need for more metastatic breast cancer research.