Monday, February 6, 2012

How can I help?

A lot of people have asked lately if there is anything they can do to help out during my recovery.  This is a really hard question for me.  I like to be the one helping.  I rarely like to admit that I need help, something that I'm working on.  One of my favorite blogs to read, marathonb4mastectomy, posted some advice about how to help. I am going to use some of her ideas and modify them for our needs. 

In the weeks before surgery (3 now!), I've been planning everything I can possibly plan. I already have a check list, a time line/itinerary to pass out to anyone involved in the care of our children. I've stocked the freezer, bought pull-ups/wipes/laundry soap, cleaned (pregnant nesting has nothing on pre-surgery nesting!), taken care of all of my responsibilities at work.  I feel like I've got this.  And what I don't have, Mitch will.

There, of course, are things I will not be able to do. I'm completely confident in Mitch to handle it all, but I know how I feel when he's traveling and I've only been on my own for five days at most.  So, I have to say this again — this is super weird for me to write all this. But, at the request of so many people who are all trying to be that helpful person that I try to be, I've put together this list of things that might help us out.

If you’re local, if you have 10-15 minutes, you're visiting and you notice something, or you’re already out… these following tasks would help my awesome Mitch, who can handle everything, but this would just help to ease the work!
  • I’m obsessed with vacuuming my home. With a dog and kids, I vacuum all the time, especially under our kitchen table. If you are visiting, and have 10 minutes, and if you don’t think it’s weird, I would not say no to you vacuuming. 
  • Same goes for any dishes that make their way to my sink. Mitch will likely be running around taking care of the kids, so this would be a big help for him (and me).  Our dishwasher is really loud so even if we finally get to loading it after the kids go to sleep, we can't run it until the morning.
  • I usually handle the hairstyles in our house.  If you notice the girls with crazy bed head hair, feel free to give it a little comb or tie it back for them so it stays out of their food.
  • If you're here visiting and ask, I might have laundry down stairs that I cannot carry upstairs.  I'll be totally able to handle putting it in the machines and folding it.  I just won't be able to carry the basket full for awhile. 
  • If you are at the grocery store, we tend to run out of milk and bread quickly (when a little girls favorite food is peanut butter and jelly it happens). If you're going there anyway and will be in the neighborhood, maybe grab a gallon while you’re out for our house?
  • Is it Tuesday night? Are our garbage cans out yet? If you drive by and notice that we forgot, feel free to roll them down to the end of the driveway or send one of us a text to remind us.  On Wednesday afternoons, feel free to roll them back up, too.
  • I’m hoping it doesn’t all. Although if we get a snow day, I get one more day of paid leave. :) If it does, Mitch is obsessed with shoveling.  He really takes pride in having a clear clean driveway.  But with pickup/drop off of the kids and all the other things he's going to be handling, I'm not sure if he'll get to it.  We'd love any help with shoveling. 
  • Do you have10 minutes and want to take a walk? Our dog is likely going to be seriously neglected during those weeks. This would be a huge treat for everyone!
  • Speaking of our dog, if you come to visit, be warned that our dog goes kind of crazy for the first few minutes of a new guest.  Please follow Cesar Milan's advice for entering a house with a dog.  Enter calmly and ignore.  Do not talk to her, pet her, give her any attention until she calms down (which won't be long, she'll calmly curl up at your feet before you know it).  This helps show Stella that you are the leader, not her.   
  • Cards, emails, and notes are welcome!! The girls love holding and looking at cards.  They treat them like special treasures. This is going to be a tough time for them, and everyone loves mail.
  • Any meals would be very appreciated, but I know that it's hard enough to just get supper on the table after work for your own families. We already have a ton in the freezer, so we don't feel like we need an organized meal delivery plan. If you really want to do something, just keep it simple--anything easy. 
  • Entertainment would be great for me or for my kids.  My doctor said that she recommends everyone get a subscription to netflix during recovery.  I'm not going that route, but if you have any movies or tv series you'd like to share, pass them my way.  I haven't watched movies in forever, (I think the last movie I saw in the theater was Charlie Wilson's War to give you a little perspective) so you are pretty much guaranteed I haven't seen whatever you are offering.  I am especially partial to romantic comedies.  The girls like anything Disney.  We'll be sure to get them back to you afterward.
Please, please, please don’t feel you need to do any of this!
Seriously, a prayer a day will do the most work for us!
I hope this lists helps with some ideas, friends!


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  2. This is a great list that I will keep in mind with my own surgery (not for months). Sounds like you are well on your way to being prepared and ready, I mean as ready as you can ever be. Good luck!

  3. Hi Renee!

    WOW! I had actually gone and googled my own blog to find this list that I wrote back in the day (a friend had requested it) and your blog came up. I am so truly humbled and honored that you read it and that you like it :)

    PLEASE let me know if I can be a support person in any way. Looks like you're well on your way to the surgery, so let me know if you need to talk/chat/write/vent or anything!

    Peace and love and thank you!!