Want to do something for a loved one who’s undergoing chemotherapy but don’t know what to do, what to get, or even what to say? I recently struggled with these questions when a friend who lives out of state told me she has cancer and has been on chemo for the last few months. This is just the beginning for her, as she has multiple surgeries scheduled for when she recovers from the infusions.
I chose get well gifts tailored to combat the effects of chemo and make her more comfortable during the treatment. Since my friend has surgeries after chemo, I hoped some of the items could help in her recovery as well.
Robe and slippers – To wear when feeling sick after chemo or surgery. Robes with pockets can hold drains if the patient will have them.
Ginger candies or butterscotch – Both help combat dry mouth as well as the metallic taste chemo leaves in the mouth.
Peppermint tea, nausea drops or queasy pops – Most people are nauseous during and after chemotherapy.
Head scarves, beanies, hat – This one is obvious, but when chemo patients lose their hair, they are frequently cold. A pashmina wrap can double as a headscarf or shoulder wrap.
Ways to pass the time – Treatments can take up to 8 hours and can be very boring sitting in the same room for that long. Items like magazines, audiobooks, crosswords or playing cards can help pass the time and distract the patient. If the person is crafty or hands-on, think about an embroidery kit, knitting supplies or an adult coloring book with markers or colored pencils.
Notebooks and notepads – Many patients get “chemo brain” (see article about that here) and their memories are foggy and they become forgetful. Writing things down will help them remember and give them more control over their daily lives.
Eye mask, earplugs, neck pillow, blanket, socks, slippers – Feel comfortable and for naps in the chemo chair and block out other patients who make them uncomfortable (i.e. snorers).
Unscented lotions – Chemo can lead to dry and itchy skin. Choose unscented lotions and creams, as patients can be sensitive to smells.
What are your thoughts on gifts for cancer patients? We’d love to hear your ideas, so feel free to leave them in the comments section.