From OHC

February 6, 2018


Cynthia Chua, MD
Medical Oncologist/Hematologist with OHC

Each year, Americans spend billions of dollars on gifts to show their love and appreciation for their special Valentine. But this may be challenging if your loved one has cancer. He or she may not feel like going out to dinner, or chemo has affected their taste for chocolate.

“Although some of the more traditional gifts may not be options at this time, there are some wonderful things you can do for your Valentine,” said Cynthia Chua, MD, a medical oncologist/hematologist with OHC. “Cancer care is more than just treatments and tests. It’s also important to provide support for patients, and based on conversations I’ve had with my patients over the years, sometimes just ‘being there’ is a great gift. Just spend the day with your Valentine and show them how much you care.”

Here are some non-traditional things you might want to consider for your Valentine:

  1. Write a love note. Think back to when you first met with your Valentine. Write down your feelings in a Valentine’s Day love note. Start with a plain sheet of white paper. You may even want to cut out a heart-shaped card. If you have a red pen or red marker, use that. It doesn’t have to be a work of art. The words are what matters.
  2. Pick up a stuffed animal. The next time you’re at the store, pick up a stuffed animal for your Valentine. It’s simple, but can be a very special gift. The next time they visit their doctor or attend their chemotherapy session, they can bring their new friend along and remember how much you love them.
  3. Rent a movie. Whether it’s a romantic chick flick for her, or his favorite action movie, you can rent a movie to watch together. Classic love stories, such as “Wuthering Heights” and “Gone With the Wind,” can help you relax while celebrating Valentine’s Day.
  4. Send an e-card. If your Valentine spends a lot of his or her time on a device, surprise them with an e-card. Many web site like allows you to email an electronic “card” for free. That could be a sweet surprise when they open their inbox and find a special message from you.
  5. Give the gift of journaling. With this gift, you are giving your loved one much more than a book of empty pages. You are giving them the opportunity to channel their emotions and challenges during their cancer fight. You may want to help guide them by writing a question or idea at the top of each page. You could start with these:
    a) My favorite Valentine’s Day memory is…
    b) Today, I am feeling…
    c) I’m thankful for…
  6. Surround them in a cozy blanket. Wrapping up in a soft, cuddly blanket can feel nurturing whether they are at home or in a cold waiting room. Many patients report being cold so it’s comforting to have their own, special warm blanket, especially when it’s from their Valentine.

Sources: OHC and The Mesothelioma Center



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