The number one question I have received over the last year is actually an unfortunate one. It usually starts with, “My friend”, or “My neighbor”, or “My father-in-law” has recently been diagnosed with XYZ cancer. Then the questions come: What were some of the things people gave you that were really helpful? What can I do for him/her? What can I give to aide with the effect of chemo?
As much as I love to help it’s strange. It’s strange that I am now a ‘go-to’ person regarding cancer and chemo. As much as I love to help it stinks. It stinks that cancer is so rampant that it is effecting so many!
So I thought why not post something about it and then I would be able to point people to this post a lot easier than I could rewrite it each time.
First of all gifts for people diagnosed with cancer: (These are things I found helped – remember this is my opinion and may not be a blessing to others)
- House-cleaning: My neighbors provided once a month house-cleaning for me for 8 months! It was a huge blessing to my family.
- Meals: I had a meal calendar that provided meals 3x a week for 8 months! This was huge and allowed my family to eat a lot less fast food during this time. Popular meal calendar websites that make this so easy are: mealbaby.com & mealtrain.com. If they don’t have a meal calendar or you live too far away to take a meal any restaurant gift card from Chick-fil-A to Chili’s to a steakhouse is very nice and helpful.
- Yard Service: If it’s during the season of high yard work providing even one month of yard care that mows the lawn and trims the bushes would be a huge help.
- Carpool: Offer to help carpool children to and from school, PreK, and extra-curricular activities.
- Snail Mail: Cards and packages were so uplifting to receive
- Just Reach Out: If you can’t find a stamp just reach out. Even a simple text message to say “I’m thinking about you today, how are you doing?” goes a long way! All too often people think, “I don’t want to bother her” or “I’m sure she is sleeping” or “I know she has so many people taking care of her”. Believe me: They want to be bothered. Leave a message if they are sleeping. They may not have as many people surrounding them as you think.
What about gifts if he/she is going through chemo? I received two HUGE chemo baskets. (Here’s a picture of one of them) I actually brought one of them with me to each treatment. You never know what you will want/need or how your body is going to respond to each treatment so it’s good to be prepared. Here is what I would put in a chemo basket:
- Bottles of Vitamin D, C, & E, Zinc, Biotin & Claritin (claritin actually helps with bone pain associated with chemo)
- Bath petals/soap
- Queasy drops/Peppermints
- Hand sanitizer (multiple bottles for around the house – any visitors and family members need to be constantly washing their hands)
- Pill Box (that has slots for 7 days morning and night)
- Comfy PJs (or a gift card to Soma – they have the best ones and have great supportive camis and button down PJs for mastectomy patients)
- Soft Blanket (it can get cold during chemo)
- Mouth Wash (‘Prevention’ is a brand made specifically for chemo patients and helps with mouth sores)
- Book: Chemo: Secrets to Thrive by: Roxanne Brown (can buy on Amazon – very short read, but lots of helpful info.)
- Flavored bottles of water (chemo tastes like metal and flavored water is nice)
- Water Bottle (preferably a glass one – I got a great one from Target) – drinking a lot of water during chemo helps it get out of your system faster and the side effects to not last as long. (My cheer I would always say is, “Pee, Pee, Pee, Get This Chemo Out Of Me!”
- Lemon Oil (I am a fan of DoTerra Essential Oils – I flavored my water with it and it’s a wonderful cleansing agent as well for your body)
- Gripper Socks
- Chemo Hats – the softer and more generic in color the better
- Gift Card to Charming Charlie (or other jewelry/accessory stores) – when you lose your hair cute hats and long earrings become a girl’s best friend.
- Zipper Pouch (think make-up bag) with the following ‘travel-sized’ essentials: chapstick, hand sanitizer, tissues, lotion, and tylenol
- Gift Card to gas station (especially if they have to travel far for treatments)
- Gift Cards to eat lunches and dinners (chemo can last hours and their infusion companion usually has to run out and pick up lunch and then you usually have to pick dinner up on your way home as well)
- Adult coloring book and easy fiction reading (during chemo and the few days after you have a lot of down time resting where you don’t have much energy)
Obviously this is a lot of stuff and not all is necessary, but it is an extensive list that even one of these things would be a blessing to a chemo patient.
- A blessing ring: This was such a neat thing that I brought with me to all my treatments and still have hanging at my prayer desk. I’d read through the verses and pray for the people praying for me. This is a picture of mine.
- Personalized scripture bouquet: I was given this and have since given it to many others. Use the ‘find & replace’ feature in Word to replace the person’s name. Cut them out. Fold them up. Throw in a vase and tie a ribbon around it. 100ScripturePromisesDocument-Template
- Fundraiser jewelry: Find a piece of jewelry you like on Etsy. Work with the creator and design something for the patient that means something to them. Take orders from their team of supporters and give the patient some of the proceeds. We did a cool pink leather wrap bracelet for a friend and they did a silver necklace for me. Here’s a pic of the jewelry.
I hope this helps. Feel free to leave a comment if there are other things you have given to friends that were appreciated or if you yourself are a survivor what you were given that blessed you during that time.