I’m not here to say you can’t “do” cancer alone. You most certainly can. It just really, really helps to have a good support network.
While chemo treatments were going along like they’re supposed to, and the anti-nausea meds weren’t knocking me completely on my ass, I didn’t need a ton of help. That meant I was able to enjoy my visitors rather than lay lethargically staring at them trying to stay awake. The week where I was horizontal for 5 days wasn’t fun by myself. Only had to do that once to find a better way. Luckily, none of my meds make me lose all presence of mind, so while I felt particularly unable to do much of anything, I was smart enough to know that I shouldn’t be doing anything other than trying to sort my socks, and that was a job all by itself.
I suppose I got a little spoiled having my aunt here for the week after my last AC chemo doing laundry, cooking and cleaning up the dishes and trash without me having to lift a finger. What this made me realize is that while it would be really awesome to have a significant other or a roommate around all the time to help with the daily stuff. These days, though, there are now more single people than there are people with spouses, so that also goes to say that there are a lot of single people with cancer. Fortunately, there are services available to chemo patients that can help when you can’t manage it all alone.
I feel lucky to be in an area where I can get free housecleaning while I’m on chemo. Many people don’t. I wish this weren’t the case. Cleaning for a Reason is a non-profit organization that connects people on chemo with cleaning services who will provide cleaning services free of charge for women going through treatment for cancer.
Getting a ride to and from appointments from friends is awesome, and I’m very lucky to have a network of folks willing to help. For those who aren’t so lucky, there are services available to help with the financial burden that cancer can be. There are services that will provide free gas to those who are struggling to afford it. There are resources available if you need to fly somewhere to get to treatment. I just saw a lady on the news out of Montecito, CA, where a huge number of people came together to help her get to her chemo appointments while the mudslides were blocking Highway 101. There are some really amazing people in this world!
Grocery Delivery Services
When you need groceries, you can’t get out, and a friend isn’t available, there are plenty of delivery services that can help. Friends, if they’re so inclined, can help with gift cards to the stores in your area. Note: There are delivery fees included, but it’s still better than having to go out in an immuno-suppressed state and be around people where you don’t know if they’re sick or not.
- Kroger (Fred Meyer)
- Amazon Fresh
- Walmart Check for availability in your area at this link. Otherwise, they offer free pickup.
- Whole Foods Check for availability in your area at this link.
- Costco Check for availability in your area at this link
Meal Delivery Services
Most folks have a bunch of menus at home and favorites that deliver. There are a few other services around that will pick up food and deliver it to you if your favorite restaurant doesn’t deliver on their own.
- Amazon Eats Check for availability in your area at this link.
- Door Dash
- Uber Eats
- Envoy Check for availability in your area at this link.
- Postmates Check for availability in your area at this link.
Other Services and Resources
There are other resources that offer services or goods for people with cancer, and some specifically for women with breast cancer and who are on chemo.
- Breast Cancer Freebies
- FREE Stuff for Breast Cancer Patients
- Breast Cancer Freebies – Cancer Horizons
- American Cancer Society