My Christmas Present to You

Over the past couple of years of living with cancer, I’ve actually learned some things (I was surprised by this too) and I realized that it might be helpful to share them. I know many of my blog readers are in perfect health, but maybe you can pass these tips along to someone who isn’t. Or use it for gift ideas for friends or general entertainment. Most of my tips are going to be helpful to people who are chronically ill, but some of them might help if you’ve had a sudden spurt of not-goodness, have had surgery, recently delivered a baby or somesuch.

I hate calling chronically ill people chronically ill because I believe this whole being-sick thing is temporary and you probably do too, so maybe I will just use “Temporarily Health Challenged”.

I’m going to post tips for the next several days, until I run out of steam.

And so begins, Bridget’s Guide to Surviving Life & All It’s Bizarreness When You Are Temporarily Health Challenged:

Tip #1, Notebooks

Going through chemotherapy is sometimes like being that guy in that movie Memento. You wake up one day and HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO RECOLLECTION OF WHAT YOU’VE BEEN UP TO! It’s startling. I imagine this is what the Hulk feels like after a hulking out episode—there’s the detrius of collapsed buildings and dirty laundry and you have no idea how it happened while having a faint sinking feeling that you are probably responsible.

The solution? Notebooks! Just like that guy who wrote all over himself in the movie. Hulk, you must see the movie!

Except notebooks work much better than writing on yourself as this allows you to bathe as frequently as you like without disturbing your notes.

I keep different notebooks for different projects that I’m working on plus a general Jotting All Ideas one. This one you should try to keep on you at all times—you can always transfer ideas later to your special project notebooks. I buy cute patterned notebooks so that they stand out when I’m searching for them through the wreckage and I CLEARLY LABEL THEM. This is very important. While you might think you will remember which patterned notebook goes with which idea, there is that chance that you won’t and you don’t want to waste time reading your most recent crazy, rambling notes to figure out which one it is.

I use these notebooks to keep track of research, phone calls, ideas, anything that I would rather not forget later. So when the package delivery guy comes with a “Live Animals” crate and asks me to sign for it, I can consult my notebooks to find out if I have decided to start a cute and fluffy wildlife animal refuge in the backyard or if I was doing research on cancer cures and snake venom.

Some of my special notebooks include one for each novel I’m working on, one for general story ideas, one for research on alternative health, and a Questions to Ask Your Doctor notebook.

Try not to write any old notes in the special notebooks or you will lose track of them. That is what Jotting All Ideas is for!

Target usually has decent patterned notebooks and Powell’s has some nice journal-style ones.

I hope this was helpful! Stayed Tuned for Tip #2, Love Is All You Need.

Love to you all,


Join the Conversation


  1. Bridget,
    These ideas are an amazing gift to give all of your friends and family! Craig and I have a neighbor/friend recently diagnosed with a rapid spreading breast cancer and we are all trying to keep up with creative ideas on how to help.

    I’m in awe of your positive attitude and how much you give back to everyone around you. Wishing you the best in the upcoming holidays and New Year!


  2. That’s a great tip for a lot of us, not just the “health-challenged ” (great terminology, BTW). For those of use with CRS disease (if you don’t know what that is, think about it a minute) it’s important to write everything down. If it’s not on paper, it’s gone, baby.

    Good luck with the snake venom.

  3. Borders has a ton of cute notebooks right now too! Thanks Bridget, I love reading all of your postings, you have a great way of putting the simple things of life to words in a way that most of of don’t. Strength and peace and healing thoughts to you-

  4. Bridget that’s what I love about you, even though we have never met, you are always thinking of others while going through your peaks and valleys of life…

    Merry Christmas

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