Valentine’s Day and Cancer
Celebrating any holiday with cancer can be an emotional experience for so many reasons, from unexpected hiccups in treatment to grief over your old life to survivorship challenges. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try and celebrate in a way that your friend or partner with cancer would enjoy! Here are some ideas for celebrating Valentine’s Day (or Galentine’s Day) with the person you’re supporting through cancer.
If you’re long-distance on Valentine’s Day…
Schedule a time for a virtual Valentine’s Day celebration! Ask them if they’ve been up for eating recently, and if they are, send a favorite food that they’ve been able to eat to their house and have a FaceTime dinner date. If they aren’t up for eating or are their energy is low, maybe a virtual movie night would work better – install the Teleparty extension and pick a fun rom-com, then use the extension to watch it together. You can call or FaceTime them while you both watch so that you can react in real-time while apart.
If their immune system is low…
Many cancer treatments can lower your immune system, so it’s important to be as cautious as they need you to be anytime you’re around them. Sometimes their immune system will be so low that they won’t be able to meet up in person, in which case, I suggest asking whether they would like to celebrate another time or do something virtual (like the suggestions for long distance friends and relationships). Luckily though, through these two years of a global pandemic, we know how to keep things relatively safe if they do want to meet in person despite their weak immune system.
One of my favorite ways to celebrate with friends in a way that is safe for my immune system is a backyard movie night. If you have the space and ability, you can bring out a TV or get a projector and screen, bring out all kinds of cozy blankets and pillows, and either lay in the yard or on outdoor furniture! This is such a fun way to make staying at home feel special, and wearing masks would be easy for this activity. Some other fun ideas are outdoor paint nights (lots of companies now sell the whole kit complete with instructional videos), outdoor games nights with masks, or even an outdoor “spa day” where you do treatments on each other.
If they’re still recovering from treatment…
This treatment recovery time is a great occasion to prioritize self-care and relaxation! Light a nice scented candle, brew some relaxing herbal tea, and do some treatments on each other. You could do face masks, body scrubs, give each other mani-pedis, massages, or even share a bath with some luxe massage/bath products.
If they’re in the hospital on Valentine’s Day…
Every hospital has different things allowed on their different floors, so make sure that whatever you plan for Valentine’s Day is safe for the hospital. For instance, sending flowers is often peoples’ first thought when someone is in the hospital – however, you often aren’t allowed to send cut flowers to the hospital since it can be dangerous for those with weak immune systems. Once you know what they are and aren’t allowed to have, plan something that will make their day special despite the circumstances. Maybe it’s decorating their hospital room or visiting them if they allow visitors. Perhaps it’s sending or delivering a meal they’ve been craving if they’re allowed to have outside food or sending some realistic paper flowers (like these ones on Etsy). Maybe it’s just a FaceTime date or virtual movie night. Whatever it is, make sure that you find a way to make their day special despite the circumstances.
If they just want to get back to normal…
If they are in a place in their treatment where it is safe for them to do their normal pre-cancer activities, that might be a great way to boost their spirits. Ban the word cancer for the night (if they’re up for that), and find a fun way to celebrate like you would before cancer. You could try recreating a special day you had together in the past, pick something on their bucket list that is feasible and surprise them with it, or even just cook them a romantic meal.
Hopefully, this gave you some good ideas for celebrating Valentine’s Day during a time that might feel anything but celebratory. Remember that Valentines’ and Galentine’s Day are all about showing love and appreciation for the people in your life – so as long as you prioritize making them feel loved, you can’t go wrong!
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