When you are considering a visit to a friend or loved one who is being treated for cancer, it is important to be aware of the language you use, but also to be sensitive to the needs and limitations of the patient you are visiting.
First and foremost, if you are healthy, show up. If not, stay away until you are not contagious of anything. You could be the patients only connection to the healthy outside world today. This glimpse into the world outside could be the touchstone necessary to keep your loved one in a place of hope today. Simply by showing up can be the key.
Also, be sure to portion any food you bring into manageable portions. When the sick person is thinking about the big casserole in the refrigerator later on, it is likely to feel like too much to do–too big. It’s possible s/he is just not capable of lifting, preheating, cooking, getting it back out of the oven, cutting and plating this food. The food is critical to recovery, but the rest of it just feels too big to execute– so it sits in the refrigerator and spoils. And that adds to the stress of recuperation. Now they have to keep track of the new and the old in there–let alone the clean up.
So, showing up, portioning, plating and cleaning the refrigerator of old, moldy and dangerous well meaning sent casseroles and foods could make you the hero of the day for this sick friend.