DON’T OVERDO IT
By Laura Yeager
I am blessed with great friends. When I had cancer the first time, several of them wanted to help me out by bringing in home-cooked meals. Many complete dinners arrived in cardboard boxes—meat, potatoes, vegetables, dessert. My friends took great care in preparing the food. One dear friend included new cloth napkins and placemats with the meal. I felt completely spoiled.
This time around with cancer, it was no different. My friends wanted to do something for us, and food is the universal symbol of love.
Two friends in particular, Mary and Theresa, called shortly after my cancer surgery and told me they wanted to bring us dinner. Theresa would bring a chicken and rice casserole and a fruit salad, and Mary would bring a green salad and brownies.
We set the date on Friday, a week after my surgery. As you can imagine, I wasn’t feeling great, so a couple days later, I called Theresa and told her that I just wanted to accept the food at the door and that we could visit another time when I was feeling better. I was a little grouchy; I told her I would not be serving them coffee.
Wednesday rolled around, and I was feeling better. I felt kind of guilty that I’d put them off, so I called Theresa and told her that I wanted to invite them in when they came. At that point, I sincerely wanted to see them. I needed company.
Of course, my house was a total disaster. It wasn’t dirty, just cluttered. I couldn’t have them see the mess, so I picked up the upstairs of the house. The task was exhausting.
They arrived at 2:00 with a big cardboard box of food. I refrigerated the perishables.
We sat down at the kitchen table and had some drinks. They were amazed at how “good” I seemed so recently after major surgery.
We talked and laughed.
They stayed for about an hour.
The food was greatly appreciated. It was so nice to be able to pop the casserole in the oven and have hot, warm comfort food. And the salad was made with care--lots of fresh veggies and some delicious parmesan cheese and homemade croutons. We devoured the brownies. We ate the fruit salad for breakfast.
For the next few days, I continued to zip around, trying to keep up my normal pace, when I should have been resting on the couch.
It’s a week later and, I wish I hadn’t overdone it in those early days of my recovery. I’m suffering for it now.
I’m in tremendous pain, and I couldn’t clean my upstairs if someone gave me a million dollars.
The lesson here? After cancer surgery or during cancer treatment, your friends will try to help. Let them help, but don’t overdo it. And don’t clean up for them.
It’s not worth it.
Your friends will love you just the same if your digs are a little messy.
Take advantage of your recovery time.
Sleep, watch television, read.