You most likely experienced a mixed feeling of numbness, shock, anger, or fear when you discovered that one of the most important people in your life – your father has cancer. While cancer is a scary diagnosis, especially when it’s one of your parents, you may want to focus on these facts:
You’re not alone:
You may feel like no one else in the world feels like you do, and that’s true because no two people are the same. However, you may feel better knowing that about 2.5 million young adults live with a parent who is either fighting or has survived cancer. Talking to others could help you to sort out your feelings. What you need to remember is that you’re never alone.
According to NCBI, there are over 2 million cancer survivors living in the UK today. This is mainly because of the recent discoveries by scientists who have helped invent new and better ways to treat cancer. Therefore, as you go through these tough times, you should have hope that your dad could also survive cancer.
Strike a balance:
It’s not uncommon to feel like your father’s cancer is always on your mind, and at other times, you may want to avoid it. The best thing is to try and strike a balance. This means that you can be concerned about your father and still be able to connect with others and engage in other activities.
Don’t blame yourself:
There are several causes of cancer, and most of these causes aren’t very well understood even by trained and experienced doctors. However, you’re definitely not the cause, and it has nothing to do with what you’ve thought, said, or done.
Knowledge is power:
You have probably heard and used this phrase several times. This simply means that you need to learn more about cancer and the available treatment options, including chemotherapy. Sometimes, what you imagine could be far much worse than the reality.
Why Celebrate Father’s Day With Cancer?
We often say that you can tell what a person considers to be important by how they spend their time. Most dads spend time scaring away monsters in closets, reading bedtime stories, and baking in the sun to see their kids score their first home run. But it doesn’t stop when children are young; they care and support their children even when they are old enough to take care of themselves. A father’s pride and joy can be to see their children make even the smallest accomplishments.
While your dad may seem remote, he may be closer to you than you think. He may also be the exact definition of tough love, but he has shown you love, and even if your father may seem old, distant, and opinionated, to him, you’re more important than you may ever realize. Therefore, if your father is present and battling cancer, it is important to celebrate this special day with him.
How to Celebrate Father’s Day With Cancer
As we noted before, after you discover that your father has cancer, you will think that no one else feels your pain. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy life and create new memories. During this father’s day, you need to let your father know that you’re thinking of him.
Although you may not want to do anything that will worsen his condition, celebrating Father’s Day may be what his doctor ordered. During these challenging days, spending time with loved ones is important. Therefore, whether your dad has just been diagnosed, he just left the surgery room, or he is undergoing treatment, being close to his loved ones can be helpful to give him the much-needed distraction to the thoughts waning heavily on him.
While being there for your father is the greatest gift you can give to him, there are other gifts that can cheer him up during his cancer diagnosis. However, it’s important that you remember that different gifts for men with cancer will be helpful to him, depending on the type of cancer he has been diagnosed with and the type of treatment. For instance, if your dad has been diagnosed with male breast cancer, he may have limited use of his arms and upper body. On the other hand, prostate cancer treatment may make it difficult for him to stand and walk. However, regardless of the cancer diagnosis, there are special gifts that can be helpful.
Priceless Father’s Day Gifts
Offer some help around the house
Being physically there to help around the house is a good gift for your father. However, while you need to be physically there, if you’re not the handiest person, you can hire a handyman to help you fix stuff or clean up. You can easily get a handyman by asking for referrals from friends, neighbors, or even search listings in the newspaper.
Remember that many fathers are used to being the breadwinners and doing everything to be good role models. For these reasons, they will rarely ask for help even when they need it. Although they are used to doing things by themselves, this is a time when they should ask more than ever before, but it isn’t always easy. So, don’t wait for your dad to ask you. This means you shouldn’t just ask your father to let you know when they need you to do something, just do it. Take some time to think about what your father may need and give or bring it to him. Keep in mind that he may not always know what he needs, especially during this difficult time, but when you provide or do it for him, he will be very grateful.
Regardless of the type of cancer, chemotherapy, and other cancer treatments lead to weight loss. This means that your father’s clothes may no longer fit, and they can add to his discomfort. So, this coming father’s day maybe treat your dad to a comfy soft button shirt that is easy to put on and off and some new lounging pants? Additionally, while it may seem cliché, now is the time for some new PJ’s and slippers. When choosing new clothing for your father, think about comfort and ease.
This is another great gift, more suitable for the bookworm dad. Choose books from some of the best authors to help keep your dad engaged and pass the time during chemotherapy treatments or when recuperating. Although it can be hard to focus when we have so much on our thoughts and during this time of pain, getting fun books to read could arouse his interest to keep reading. Whether you choose some good old hardback books, a kindle type reader, or a few magazines, all can be very helpful and if your father finds it difficult to read books, you may want to consider getting him some audiobooks.
Cancer treatment will make your father’s eyes sore and very tired, which will make reading more difficult and draining. But you can help lift his spirits and keep him distracted by getting him some audiobooks for his phone or tablet. You can visit some online cancer forums and get recommendations on what other dads with cancer are listening to.
Spare headphones and a compilation of his favorite music
You have heard that laughter is the best medicine, but did you know that music is also a powerful therapeutic tool? Music has been associated with health and healing in different cultures across the globe. In fact, music has been found to reduce anxiety and bring about a positive change in mood.
For cancer patients, music is used as a clinical tool to help patients achieve their treatment goals. You could surprise your dad this father’s day with a pair of headphones and a playlist of music that speaks to him. This way, he can enjoy his music both at home and at the hospital. What’s more, the music might block unwelcome sounds in the hospital and help him to relax.
Spend a day outside
Take your dad outdoors to play some games and puzzles. These are great mindless activities that can help pass the time. The games and puzzles you choose can also be in the form of a simple word search, and puzzles can be therapeutic.
Alternatively, you could take your father out to a public garden. Spending time outside can help improve overall health. According to Mind, spending time outdoors can help reduce stress and promote mental health. You have most likely experienced how a walk outside gives you a natural “high.” Connecting with nature could make your father happier and healthier.
Journal or planner
Just like music, a journal can be a great therapy tool for your dad during this difficult time. Apart from writing about his experience with cancer and how he feels physically and emotionally, a journal can also be a good tool to write down notes that he can later share with support groups and doctors and to mark his appointments. However, while a nice leather journal smells good, you don’t have to limit yourself to a traditional planner. Instead, you can provide your dad with a mobile app to help him organize his thoughts and important doctor appointments on his phone or computer if this is their preferred method.
While this is traditionally seen as a good gift for babies and children, who doesn’t want to take a nap with a soft blanket? After chemotherapy or surgery, sleep and rest are very important. Additionally, if your father is undergoing chemotherapy, remember that those units are kept cold, and giving him a warm blanket to carry with him can be comforting.
Spend time together
Spending time with your dad is a memorable and meaningful gift. You can cook his favorite meal, bake him a cake, or just take a walk as you talk. You’ll be surprised that some of the best and memorable conversations you’ll ever have may come after you spend time with him after his diagnosis.
As you converse, the cancer topic will periodically find its way, but don’t let it be the main focus. Instead, you can reminisce about the good old days to provoke tears and laughter. You can also discuss how the other family members are doing and your father’s childhood and life. If other family members are far away, you can record messages to share with them. The sense of unity may be important to your father at this time.
As we often say, “a picture is worth much more than a thousand words.” So a camera could be a good gift to capture these moments. When you are together as a family, he could perhaps take pictures that can help him go through hard times. He may want to capture images before he loses his hair (if he will, this does not always happen with cancer therapies), with his new look, and when he feels healthier and happy. A camera can help him document his journey through cancer.
There is overwhelming evidence that the presence of a father in an intact family pays valuable social dividends. This is one of the main reasons why we celebrate fatherhood. However, choosing the right father’s Day gift isn’t as easy as it may seem.
If you’re puzzled over what gift to get your dad this Father’s Day, the usual gift promotions may make it more difficult for you to choose the best gift. But this year, you can think out of the box as you consider the best male gift for your father with cancer. Choose gifts that are important to their health and longevity. While material gifts are important, just being there for your father with cancer can also be a valuable gift.