Use the Good Lip Balm


A few months ago a family member was diagnosed with incurable, but treatable cancer. She was hospitalized when she was diagnosed and stayed in the hospital while starting her treatment. Every imaging test she had showed more metastasis, and the bad news didn’t seem to end for about 5 days straight. It was very challenging to see her so distraught. I couldn’t make her cancer go away and was desperate to find anything to help her feel better.

Karen Arnold-Korzeniowski, BSN, RN
Karen Arnold-Korzeniowski BSN, RN

One day while visiting, I brought her some toiletries and a few things that she might be missing while she was in the hospital. Hoping to lift her mood, I sat in her bed with her and we went through the basket. She loves any type of gift and was excited to go through the basket. One of the things I had purchased her was a lip balm. Nothing like the dry hospital environment to dry out your lips. I made sure to buy the one that was one of her favorite scents. She told me to put it back in the basket so she could save it. I think I may have looked at her like she was crazy. No, I must have looked at her that way, because she pinched my arm.

In my mind, we didn’t know how much time she had. She was scared, I was scared, the entire family was scared. I opened that lip balm and helped her put it on. I promised her (I never make promises in fear that I won’t be able to keep them) that I would buy her more when she ran out. We then talked about how her entire life she had held onto things to wait for the perfect time to use them. Now was the time.

A cancer diagnosis can change your perspective about many different aspects of life. Some may be for the more positive, some for the more negative. It all depends how you approach it. I am not going to tell you how to approach this life challenge – what works for one person may not work for another. But I will give you one piece of advice – use the good lip balm. Spend time doing things that you love. Spend time with the people you cherish. Treat yourself. Cancer, and all that goes with it, is challenging, and you need to take care of yourself.