After my surgery and heated chemotherapy (HIPEC), I spent two months in the hospital. At one point my room looked like a funeral parlor, there were about twenty floral arrangements. Now I love flowers and I love receiving them and I was/am hugely grateful for the kind gestures of my friends and family. But we need to mix it up a little, too many flowers can make a patient feel like a priest is about to walk through the door to administer their last rites. So what to buy your loved one instead? I recommend “Dammit Dolls.” They are bright, joyful, nutty little creatures that you can bang against your hospital bed when you get frustrated waiting for your morphine. There are many to choose from, one is even especially designed for cancer patients, with half the proceeds going towards fighting childhood cancer:
Another favorite of mine (no name needed):
And they also offer these fab little Dammit Heads:
To shop the whole collection:
This morning as I was tidying up, I briefly entered our laundry room/office which is our “crazy room.” I think most of us have one of these, or the equivalent – a crazy closet, drawer or cupboard. It’s the place where everything you don’t want to deal with goes to die. I found myself thinking that the crazy room is very similar to that space in our psyche where we dump all of our emotional crap that we can’t deal with at the moment.
I keep telling my partner, “we need to deal with that room, it’s out of control.” And it’s true, it is out of control. For someone like me, who likes keeping the house clean and organized, the room makes me anxious. But the crazy room is actually more representative of my true emotional state than the rest of the tidy house. The crazy room has unopened boxes, piles of cords and computer stuff, unfolded clean sheets, my partner’s plaid shirts hanging from an IKEA shelf like little headless Grunge creatures, a dead plant, my ileostomy supplies (thank you cancer), a giant box of small catheter tubes (again, thank you cancer) and various other randomness.
And just like I side-step and avoid the issues that I don’t want to deal with, I also breeze right past the dead plant – sitting on the floor – to put in a load of laundry. Why not just pick up the plant and put it out in the green bin? That is what an emotionally healthy person would do, I think to myself as I breeze out of the room again. But somehow that damn dead plant and the rest of the crazy room has come to symbolize all the ways in which I am emotionally stuck, frozen, paralyzed.
I am extremely lucky in that I can afford to see a therapist, it’s a luxury many needy people don’t have. So in a sense I have an ’emotional cleaning lady’ who helps me clean up my personal crazy room twice a month. And yet, somehow, it seems no matter how hard I try, my crazy room never gets completely cleaned. Just as my cleaning lady and I finish cleaning one area of the room, another area beckons for attention. Its boxes need unpacking, its cords need untangling and its damn plant needs to be thrown out!
When I was diagnosed with Peritoneal Mesothelioma, a rare, incurable cancer, many people didn’t know what to say to me. I don’t blame them at all, I wouldn’t have known what to say to me either. Enter the brilliant Emily McDowell and her fantastic line of Empathy Greeting Cards. Emily has created cards for those many awkward moments in life when we just don’t know what to say. Whether your friend is struggling with cancer, infertility, or the death of a beloved pet, Emily’s cards are perfect. They are humorous and heartfelt and many of them poke fun at the ways in which we try to say the right thing but fail miserably. As a cancer survivor, Emily knows first hand what it’s like to have friends say cringe-worthy things like, “none of us know when we’re going to die, I could get hit by a bus tomorrow!” So let Emily’s cards do the talking for you and bring a smile to your loved one’s face.
For more amazing cards:
Empathy™: What to say, when you don't know what to say