Valentine’s Day brings to mind candy, romantic dinners, flowers, funny cards, relationships, and chocolate. Many of the cards, floral arrangements, and foods use hearts as the primary decoration. Growing up we made heart-shaped cakes for my father whose birthday was February 14th. When I was younger, I yearned for heart-shaped boxes of chocolate candies from my sweetheart. When my mother was in her last years she and I once made Valentine cards to give to family members, cutting out magazine pictures and red heart shapes from the newspaper comics.
For cancer survivors, heart (cardiac) issues can be a side effect of treatment. Survivors may also be less active and unable to keep up a physical exercise routine. These lifestyle changes can result in a weaker heart and lower fitness level. Some cancer survivors may not even be able to grocery shop or stand to cook complete meals. Much less entertain the idea of going out for a fine meal and catch a late movie at the theatre on Valentine’s Day.
This year make Valentine’s Day an affair of the heart for a cancer survivor who is special to you. If you seem to make the same plans, buy the same gifts, or order the same flowers for that someone special why not mix it up a little bit this year? If your Valentine is a cancer survivor, try some of the ideas below to show them you care. You can keep some of the traditional gifts, but add a new twist.
- Include a small box of candy of individually wrapped candies delivered in a food basket with fruit, cheese, and cracker assortments. These ready-to-eat snacks take no effort to prepare.
- Send three small, seasonal flower deliveries over the next 3 months instead of one large Valentine’s floral arrangement. The joy will be multiplied, and the anticipation of the future flower deliveries will add more fun.
- Collect some craft materials to make paper Valentine’s cards and make cards with your special cancer survivor.
- Plan for meals to be delivered to that special person or family when they don’t feel well enough to shop or cook. Freeze meals and include written cooking directions on colorful paper. Call a day or two before to share your meal plans.
- Lift spirits by giving your special person a scrapbook of favorite sayings, photos, Valentine wishes, jokes, poems, and song lyrics.
- Ask friends and co-workers to prepare Valentine’s cards or short letters to bundle together for a cancer survivor. You can provide a box of Valentine’s cards to make it easy for folks to join in!
- Bundle together beverages in single servings. Choose juices, seltzer waters, ginger ale, flavored waters, and drink-mix powders. Add a box of straws.
- Bake some cupcakes together. Ask about his or her favorite flavor. Add Valentine’s decorations. Bring all the ingredients complete with icing and candy hearts. You may do most of the cooking but the aromas and memories will be priceless for you both.
- Go out for coffee, tea or yogurt, instead of a long restaurant meal. The brief outing will be less strenuous than a three course meal, and the conversation will be more relaxed.
- If your loved one has friends and family far away, purchase prepaid phone cards or buy minutes for his or her cell phone. Staying in touch always warms the heart.