Jennie's Top Ten List: Wednesday, May 13, 2009

So, I thought I'd take an opportunity on this beautiful Wednesday evening to let everyone know the 10 best things to give to cancer patients (or any other sick person for that matter)...and in the process give a small shout out to those who have given these great gifts to me (since I'm so far behind on thank yous that I fear I'll never catch up...drat!).

Here's the bottomline though: Anything you do is appreciated, no matter how big or small. And you absolutely should not hold back from reaching out, sending a card, dropping something off just because you're not 100% sure it will be the perfect gift (I mean, it's a pretty imperfect situation so your card/gift isn't going to screw anything up worse than it already is, right?). So, here's the list and please know that these are not in any particular order:

1. One of the first gifts I received, aside from the most thoughtful cards and more gorgeous flower arrangements than any one person deserves, was a fully loaded hand-me-down iPOD chock full of movies, music (complete with a newly crafted Jennie Wellness set list!), and books to help make my many hours of chemo pass more quickly. Thanks so much for this thoughtful gift, Kelley! I know it took a million hours and I appreciate it so much!

2. Another really great gift is pretty sleep wear, whether a night gown and robe or pajamas. In the beginning, I used the nightgowns more often because of my incision (thanks for those Mom, Granny & Annie!) but am recently all about my cute little pjs (thanks Michelle!). Oh, and when you're in the hospital it's nice to have something for your tootsies too, so really luxurious socks (or slippers) like the chenille ones I got from Alison are perfect. Thanks, Alison!

3. I guess Melissa S. did a fabulous job promoting the fact that I HEART Sugar House Day Spa & Salon because thanks to Elena, Heather F., and Melinda & Chelsea, I enjoyed a free sassy pre-chemo haircut, eye brow wax, and a couple of much needed massages. Thanks to all of you for your generosity -- I enjoyed every minute of my services!

4. Thanks to Kristin, my Chief Technology Officer, for not only handling my camera repair for me so that I could start taking photos again (it's so helpful to have folks handle rather mundane tasks for you!) but also for the AWESOME Netflix subscription so that I have hours of mindless entertainment whether in the hospital or at home during summer reruns. Thanks to you, I'm caught up on my guilty pleasure, HBO's Big Love.

5. Books, books, and more books! They're great whether they're about beating cancer or not. Two of my favorites include: Kris Carr's Crazy, Sexy Cancer Tips (Lillian, I'm so sorry you've had so much experience, but you are one heck of a wellness cheerleader! Thanks!) and Anti Cancer by David Servan-Schreiber (Erin, I had no idea when I hired you that you'd end up giving me such a wonderful, life-changing gift someday!). I also got a great book about world-renowned spas entitled (shocker!), Spa, which was intended to not only provide me with relaxing imagery and fabulous interior design, but also to help me select the spa I'm visiting when all this junk is done. (Thanks Michelle and Jim!)

6. I think that paying for maid service (just for a cleaning or two) would also be a great gift because it's really hard to clean the bathtub when you're recovering from abdominal surgery. Mom, thanks for helping me keep up with household chores. Like I said, you're the best!

7. I've had many wonderful meals at various friends' houses (and am about to have another tonight at Christy's...and it's going to be vegan!). A girl's gotta eat even when she's sick so food drop-offs, take-out, etc. are all appreciated very much, particularly right after you return home from the hospital and you aren't up for going out. (Thanks again for the delicious dinner the other night, Carmen. Alison and I loved it!)

8. Trashy magazines! I got them from several people and appreciated them so much, particularly when I was in the hospital and had an even shorter attention span than I normally do.

9. Small or large care packages with a variety of wellness items, like the lavendar lotions and bath oils I received from my cousin Marcy and aunt Kay (thanks so much!) or Melissa R's recent gift bag filled with peppermint tea (herbal tea is good because coffee is now banned!), oatmeal lotion (to help with dry chemo skin), gum (to help with the metallic mouth you get from chemo), and a few other items. Thanks for talking with Kate to figure out the perfect items, Lissy!

10. Inspirational and fun cancer clothes! I have many interesting additions to my summer wardrobe this year thanks to Jill, Ali, Michelle, and Shannon. Don't worry, you'll get to see them all when I do a photo shoot for the blog. Coming soon...

So, I think that sums it up. I can't thank everyone enough for your thoughtfulness and generosity. I appreciate everything you've done for me. I have amazing friends!