Tips for More Good Days

Little Things Make a Big Difference

20 simple ways you can give more good days for someone with breast cancer.

Know a breast cancer patient or survivor, but not sure what to do for her? You’re not alone. 72% of Americans are unsure of how to support a patient going through treatment.* The good news: Ford Warriors in Pink has plenty of simple ways to give a good day to those in the fight – straight from the source. We surveyed hundreds of breast cancer patients and survivors and here’s what we found: The little things make a big difference in having a good day. Any simple, unsolicited or unexpected action is both welcome and appreciated. Here are some of the top suggestions:

  • 1. Drop off a blanket. Soft, cozy items are a must!
  • 2. Start walking! Offer to take the dog out.
  • 3. Text to say you’re at the store. “What do you need?”
  • 4. Embrace beauty! Drop off lip gloss, nail polish or makeup bag.
  • 5. Plan a lunch date – the day of or before treatment.
  • 6. Deliver a bouquet. Flowers add a touch of brightness to the day.
  • 7. Leave a FROZEN entrée for use at any time.
  • 8. Pillows! When it comes to recovery, the cushier the better.
  • 9. Fill a care package or tote with comfort items.
  • 10. Run an errand. Dry cleaning, post office, you name it.
  • 11. Bring some bling. Sparkly jewelry, bags or a notepad.
  • 12. Take the kids to the park. The whole family benefits!
  • 13. Send magazines. Celebrity gossip is a welcome distraction.
  • 14. Say it with a gift card. Small amounts go a long way.
  • 15. Get the patient’s spouse a treat. They’re going through this too.
  • 16. Send a joyful reminder. Mail or text a fun photo.
  • 17. Bring a bag of groceries! Drop off what you think they need.
  • 18. Schedule a day to clean. Folding a load of laundry is a huge help.
  • 19. Give a pair… of bright, fuzzy slippers or socks.
  • 20. Offer to drive – anywhere! Go to an appointment or a movie.

No matter how you decide to help, the most important thing to do is to act. With 83% of breast cancer patients reporting that maintaining day-to-day life is a primary concern,** the best thing we can do is take action to help. Watch our Simple Ways to Give More Good Days video for additional ideas. Or visit fordcares.com for tips, tools and resources on how to give more good days. *The Ford Warriors in Pink Breast Cancer Awareness survey was conducted online using the field services of TNS, on behalf of Ford Motor Company, March 18-22, 2016. The 2,500 respondents surveyed were a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults, 18-plus in age with a margin of error of ±2.0%. ** The Ford Warriors in Pink More Good Days survey was conducted online using the field services of TNS, on behalf of Ford Motor Company, Feb. 17-March 1, 2016. The 551 respondents surveyed were U.S. adult women (18-plus) who were current patients or survivors of breast cancer. Efforts were made to achieve a mix of age, ethnicity, region, income and education; the sample skewed 40-plus in age. The margin of error was ±4.2%.

Great Ways to Create Good Days: Our Top 5.

Our Models of Courage will be the first to tell you – there are good days. And they really count, especially when it comes to getting through the ones that just… aren’t. There are also ways to generate good days. Simple steps you can take as one who has or has had breast cancer. Thoughtful ideas you can bring to life as a supporter. We’ve listed ideas from our Models of Courage here to help you find ways to create more good days.

  • 1. Laugh yourself silly.
    Humor is a miracle worker. Send silly cards. Ask or tell jokes. Find or give the kind of reads that make you laugh. Watch comedies. Or call someone who always makes you crack up.
  • 2. Turn treatments into something more.
    Plan themed chemo treatments – with hats, snacks and silly gags. Have a picnic. Or pass out candy in the ward.
  • 3. Organize a Meal Train.
    Start one or yourself or create one for a patient. Don’t be afraid to ask. Or just do it. It will help organize your supporters to help provide meals and more in a true time of need.
  • 4. Share and share alike.
    Tell or ask to hear positive stories about people who have been in a similar place in their lives. Buy or bring magazines that you can chat about, laugh at or pass along later. Create a playlist for yourself or someone else.
  • 5. Get moving.
    Get up, get out and go for a walk – together. Sway to the rhythm of an upbeat song. Fly a kite. Or ask someone to go with you on a windy day and watch it dance in the wind.
  • More ways to have a good day.
  • Send fun-loving texts. A simple “XOXOXO” will do.
  • Go to a park and swing.
  • Find a new use for something old.
  • Finger paint.
  • Plant something and give it away.
  • Slurp a bowl of hot noodles with a friend.
  • Make or give a silly thank you card for someone who has helped give you a good day.
  • Read by candlelight.
  • Write a list of your own positive affirmations.
  • Meditate. Envision healing and reflect on the good things to come.

10 Ways to Give a Good Day to a Friend Who Could Really Use It.

What’s the most powerful thing your friend going through a tough time has on her side? You. The most triumphant moments during any struggle include friendship. Here’s a list of ways to give your BFF a good day when she needs it most – all while creating a bond that could last a lifetime.

  • 1. Send messages! Put the power of friendship to use through social media, email and snail mail. It’ll give you a way to be by your friend’s side, even when you can’t be there. Receiving texts, emails and cards in the mailbox can feel like a huge support system – which can be a really positive influence and give your friend something to wake up and look forward to.
  • 2. Plan a good-day-before-the-bad-day party. The day before any challenging event is one when your BFF could use a distraction. So make the most of it by having a girls’ night in. Grab your friend’s favorite foods, drinks, movie or games and bring the party to her. It’s a great way to help her forget about what’s next just for a night.
  • 3. Take a leap of faith. Live on the edge and invite your friend to do something daring. Camari Olson, Ford Warriors in Pink Model of Courage, said she bonded over skydiving. A friend told her, “I know it’s scary, but we can do it.” Afterward, the two felt like they had triumphed over something together. Then they tried bungee jumping! Camari says she went into treatment the very next day with an “I can do this” attitude.
  • 4. Simply bring dinner. Plan ahead or make it a surprise. Cook or grab carryout. Just bring a dish you know your friend and her family will like. And if you do decide on a surprise, make sure she can throw it in the freezer for a later date, just in case something else was already in the works (or oven).
  • 5. Organize a group activity. Whether it’s next year’s local 3-day walk or a hike up Mount Rainier, group activities are inspiring and encouraging. Create a team and celebrate milestones together. One Model of Courage said, “It’s such a bonding experience, because you spend all this time together training, fundraising, and asking one another, ‘So, where are we now?’ The effort will be worth every minute as you grow as a team.”
  • 6. Ask to go for a walk or to the gym. Getting out of the house is an easy way to perk up your friend’s spirit and stay active. All it takes from you is one question, “Want to go for a walk?” Or ask about heading to the gym. The key here is to respect that even if your friend doesn’t have the same energy level, just getting outside or practicing child’s pose during a yoga class helps to bring you closer together – and your friend closer to a good day.
  • 7. Volunteer to “go together.” Sometimes the tough days include time-consuming appointments – which is where you come in. Offer to be the “ride” and hang out. When you do, talk about other things. Ford Warriors in Pink Model of Courage, Linda Pond, said she never went alone, and her friends helped to make a day out of it. When the appointment was over, they’d go to lunch or go shopping for a good day and good memory.
  • 8. Have a themed treatment day. If you have a BFF who has to go through any kind of treatment, and is up for a little more fun, plan a party during treatment. Choose a theme for the day, like a Mexican fiesta, and bring snacks, outfits and decorations to boot. It’s not only a good way to bond – it helps lessen the seriousness of the day.
  • 9. Start a charm bracelet. You can help your friend put the tough days behind her by shining a positive light (or shiny bling) on them. One Model of Courage said she has a charm for every milestone she reached. She loves them all because her friends helped her pick out each memento during their outings together. To this day, she says every single charm still means the world to her.
  • 10. Just plan it. Simple advice comes from Ford Warriors in Pink Models of Courage, Karen Martinez. “If you can plan it, plan it. Just having your friends around makes a big difference. And if it doesn’t work out, that’s OK.” She confirmed that being with friends throughout her journey made a big difference, leaving her to think, “Wow, my friends want to do this for me.”

Tips For Having a Good Day After Your Chemotherapy Treatment.

Getting through the day after chemotherapy can be challenging. The most important advice is to be good to yourself. Listen to your body. Here are a few tips to help you have a good day. These can be tips for you or for caregivers, friends and family who are there for you and want to enrich your day.
  • 1. Pamper yourself and stay hydrated.
    Among many unpleasant side effects, chemo is known to dry out your skin. But you can fight back. Gather a few things you love: your favorite body lotion, bath gel and lip balm. Be good to yourself. Turn on your favorite music, grab some H²0 and relax.
  • 2. Change into comfy clothes as soon as you walk in the door.
    Maybe you already have them on. Good for you. If you didn’t wear them to your treatment, as soon as you walk in the door, change into your beloved comfy clothes. The sweater or sweatshirt that makes you feel warm and cozy, the roomy T-shirt that’s soft to the touch. It’s all about being comfortable and relaxed.
  • 3. Get the right recipe.
    Your taste buds take a dive because of the chemo drugs and the steroids. Look for cookbooks with recipes specifically for chemo patients -- recipes that can actually help with side effects and they’re healthy too. You can even recommend a recipe for your friends or family to make. There’s nothing like a home-cooked meal waiting for you, especially after a challenging day.
  • 4. Get lost in your favorite book.
    Love biographies, sci-fi or a current best-seller? Make sure you have something new to read when you get home. A stack of magazines can also keep you relaxed. Whether it’s escaping with a thriller or smiling your way through favorite rom-com movies can also take your mind off of things. One tip: take a break from cancer-related books and articles. Think of it as your escape plan for the day.
  • 5. Indulge in Beauty.
    A colorful bouquet of silk flower, photos of friends and family, a handmade craft made by your child – all placed where you can see them can make your home your oasis. And don’t forget to sit back and relax with your favorite music—a sure cure for staying calm.
  • 6. Take a short walk or meditate.
    You may be feeling a little weak or find yourself exhausted. If you’re up to it and the sun is shining, take a brief ten-minute walk outside or sit outside and meditate for a few minutes. Light exercise or meditation has been proven to lift spirits and boost energy levels.
  • 7. Best friend’s spa day or night.
    A soothing face mask, quick neck massage, a relaxing pot of tea. Sounds good right? Invite your best friend and enjoy a day at the spa. Quick tip for friends: a spa gift certificate is a great gift for anyone going through chemo. The power of human touch can really make a difference.

Try Something New Out of the Blue? Yes!

One way to have a good day is to succeed at something you’ve never done before. The options are endless. So are the positive feelings that envelop you afterward. What should you try? Anything new. Dip your toes into an infinity pool or surf some waves on the ocean. The important thing is that you’re getting out there and grabbing one more good day.

9 new things to try. Ready, set … good day!

  • 1. Cook up something new.
    Find a recipe or attend a culinary class, then get down to business in the kitchen. Whether it’s a dish for yourself, a dinner for friends or a cake for that special someone, cooking is a great way to tap into your creative side and feed your soul – in more ways than one. It also offers a good reason to spend time and share with others. After all, who can argue with good food, good friends good times and good days?
  • 2. Knit one, purl one … more good day.
    The best way to keep from knitting your brows? Knit your own creations that you can wear or share. The great thing about this art of the stitch is that you can do it anywhere and everywhere, in a busy group setting or in the welcome quietude of a space that’s all your own. It even gives you a reason to watch your favorite movie… again. Even more inspiring, at the end of it all, you have something to show for it.
  • 3. Race a dragon boat.
    More than just a sport, this activity involves community spirit, culture and whole lot of fun. You can paddle your way through a festival, an organization race or a city you’ve never seen. And each person plays a unique role. So you get the benefit of being a very important part of the team – no matter which position you take. It’s a great way to stay in shape in a setting that thrives on human connectivity and passion.
  • 4. Write it down.
    Everybody has a story, and you’re living quite a momentous chapter of your life right now. Write about it. Keep a journal to remind you where you’ve been and what you encountered on your journey through breast cancer. Or keep it as notes, a transcript for your own autobiography. The blank pages of a journal are silent, patient listeners. Use them, express your feelings and dream your dreams.
  • 5. Move your feet to the beat.
    That’s right. Try your hand (and your feet) at dancing. Let the rhythm take you somewhere new – whether it’s in your living room, in front of a mirror or in a dance studio. Why not take a lesson? From ballroom to hip-hop you’re sure to find a style that appeals to your moves and your grooves. One of the organizations we’ve teamed up with takes it up a notch with Dancing With the Survivors. You’re paired with a professional dancer for six weeks of training for one evening of fun to celebrate a nationwide community of survivors with music, dinner and entertainment. Learn more at pinkfund.org.
  • 6. Host a themed dinner party.
    You might already own the title of host or hostess with the mostest. Or maybe you’re not big on entertaining at all. Either way, planning a themed party is relatively easy – and really fun. How do you do it? Pick a theme (say, pizza). Ask each one of your guests to bring a pizza that represents something they like or love. Appetizers, salad and even dessert can be served up on a pizza crust, in a pie dish or on a hot pizza stone. The rules are flexible! And you decide how far you want to carry out the theme when it comes to décor, dress and drinks.
  • 7. Swim with dolphins or swim with the sharks.
    People who have done it will tell you: swimming with dolphins is healing and harmonious. They’ll also say there’s no better way to create happy memories than connecting to these amazing creatures in the calm of the deep blue. You just let it all go and swim with the flow. The dolphins, and the good day, will follow. OR for something completely different … try swimming with sharks. It might be hard to believe that we’d suggest the serene setting of swimming with dolphins in one moment and in the next the thrill-seeking adventures of swimming with sharks. But if it’s an exciting nerve-testing, nail-biting encounter you’re after, this may be the activity for you. You already know what it’s like to come face-to-face with some of your greatest fears. This time it’s on your terms. And the adrenaline rush you’ll experience is a surefire way to grab hold of one more good day.
  • 8. Jump for joy.
    Go skydiving! Once you take the leap, it’ll be a moment you’ll never forget. There are centers all around ready to help you through the thrill of a 120-mph free fall or a canopy ride that floats peacefully down to your landing area. Afraid of heights? No problem. Jump off a dock or a diving board. Or get on a trampoline. All of these activities release endorphins that give you a rush of excitement, a momentary feeling of freedom – and puts a spring in your step. Now that’s a good way to have a good day!
  • 9. Make every step count.
    Meet people who understand what it’s like to be in your shoes, by putting on your own – walking shoes, that is. Signing up for a breast cancer walk or race is a feel-good activity all the way around. It gives your body a good day – and your soul, knowing that every step helps to raise awareness for the cause. The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure® is a great place to start. They welcome people of all ages and fitness levels, while raising funds for a cure, celebrating survivorship and honoring those who have lost the battle to the disease.

Yoga to Aid in Breast Cancer Treatment.

Watch and move along with Model of Courage and internationally celebrated yoga teacher, Kathryn Budig, as she takes you through some simple post-treatment poses. Enjoy the slow, gentle movements designed to help you stretch and breathe your way to more good days. Namaste!

Watch the video

Turning Chemotherapy Into Feel-Good Therapy.

Camari Olson
Camari Olson

Being told I would be going through chemotherapy treatments for the second time in my life was not exactly a joyful feeling. Though I’d had a fairly easy time of it in 1997 and was able to stay active through most of it, this time it was a little different. I had a very rare form of an aggressive breast cancer called Metaplastic. This type has aspects that behave like breast cancer but it also resembles a sarcoma. So it was decided that I would do two different kinds of chemo simultaneously.

For the first treatment my close friend Nicole, also a female firefighter, went with me. That treatment was a bit difficult as I did not yet have a port, and as the drugs were being infused into my veins, it was excruciatingly painful. Nicole was very comforting.

It was after that treatment that Nicole brought the rest of the girls in – she wanted to make the treatments social events where I would be surrounded by my gal pals. We called ourselves the Fire Chicks as most of us were or had been firefighters. With each treatment, we became more festive and creative as how we’d celebrate.

One time we took a bunch of stuffed animals to liven up the room. I brought a stuffed kitty I had found when I was riding my bike during my first time through chemo. It was in the middle of the road, had been run over and only had one eye. I guess I sympathized with its plight!

Between that session and the next, my hair started falling out. I wanted to donate it, which meant I would have to cut it off before it fell out. The girls organized a hair cutting party. We’d read up on how to cut it to properly donate hair which meant taking each section of layered hair, putting it in a separate ponytail then cutting it as close to the scalp as possible. After they did my hair up that way, they each did the same with theirs and then proceeded to cut.

I love Halloween and had a variety of crazy wigs. For the next chemo treatment we took those with us and had a blast taking turns putting them on. We would venture out through the chemo ward, adopting whatever accent or mannerism appropriate to the wig we had on and making everyone else laugh.

The highlight was Mexican Fiesta day. The girls showed up early and decorated the room with strings of chili peppers. They had brought a great pink unicorn piñata, sombreros and beads for everyone, and had nachos and virgin margaritas. We filled the room with laughter even as the drugs were dripping into my veins.

My final treatment was a little bittersweet. Though I looked forward to it being over, it was scary when the day arrived. I almost felt like “What now, do I just wait for it to come back.” We still made it a fun day, though. There is a closet full of wigs donated by patients when they no longer need them. We had fun trying on all kinds of different looks and taking pictures. I also brought candy and sparkling cider. We went around through the rest of the ward, toasting my last treatment and others who were going through it.

I was NEVER alone at any of my chemo treatments. The memories the girls helped me make during what could have just been a very dark time are priceless to me.

Small Acts Have a Big Impact.

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