It is a phone call you hope you never get. Unfortunately, you will, and most likely you've already had one. Someone you care about has cancer. Cancer is everywhere. I've been on both sides of the fence, I've had cancer and I've had people I care about
get cancer. It is a totally helpless feeling when you find out a friend or family member has a potentially fatal disease. Even though I have been in those shoes I still struggle with what to do.
You want to send something, reach out, but what??
Obviously everyone is different, what worked for me may not work for others, but here are some things that I appreciated during my time in treatment:
Cards. I think everyone enjoys getting a card. I have even saved quite
a few that touched my heart.
Gift cards. My aunt sent me grocery store gift cards which were much appreciated. Healthy foods can be expensive, so anything helps. I lost over 35 pounds and had to buy new clothes several times before
I finally evened out. A $20 gift card to Target might help that person buy a new pair of jeans that they feel better wearing. Gift cards to their favorite smoothie shop, or movie tickets might be a nice treat also.
My cousins, aunt and uncle all chipped in to buy me a beautiful velour pant and hoody set, which was great to wear to the chemo lounge. A former co-worker gave me an awesome pair of slippers that I wore almost every day. Some other co-workers all chipped in
to buy me a new bathrobe.
Lotions. Chemotherapy made my skin incredibly dry, so I was super grateful for all of the bottles and jars of lotion that were gifted to me. (I would be mindful of fragrances though, unless you know the person
really well. Always better to go with unscented and sensitive skin option if you are unsure.)
Books. I loooovvvee to read so this was a perfect gift for me. A good friend went through her own bookshelves and selected a tote bag full
of some of her own favorites to let me borrow. A Barnes & Noble gift card is also a great idea. Even though I was in Texas and my sister was in Colorado we read the Twilight Series together, and would call each other every day to talk
about it. It was a really cool way to stay connected that had nothing to do with me feeling lousy. (Even though she was team Edward and I was team Jacob!)
Puzzles & Games. Even I get tired of reading some times, and a book of Braingames
that I received as a gift was a great way to break it up. Crossword puzzles, Sudoku, etc... are great, and it is important to keep your brain working when you are sedentary.
Magazines & Comic Books. Sometimes you are too tired to
focus on a full book. A magazine is something easy anyone can flip through. If you know someone is really in to cars, or real estate, or fashion, pick up a Mag that they might have interest in. Are they super obsessed with the Walking Dead? Pick
up one of the Comic books for them to have.
Find Something Special. Personally I wasn't into hats or wigs. I let my bald head hang out, but I was into neck scarves and hoodies. Many people sent me beautiful scarves that I still
wear today! Ask if there is something special that they would like that no one else has thought of.
Flower & Plants. Flowers are beautiful and the certainly do spruce up a hospital room. I would just keep in mind that flowers don't
last long, and can end up being one more thing that the patient has to deal with. Some people love flowers more than others. They can also be expensive. Before spending $50 on an arrangement consider who you are sending them to and if this is the best way
to show your support.
A Journal. Even if the person is not a journaler it is nice to have a journal for your notes, etc... Chemobrain is real, there have been entire conversations that I do not remember having during treatment. It is
nice to write things down in case you forget later.
I'm sure there are many, many, many other ideas but those are just a few that might get you started. As always I welcome any feedback, which is why I added a comments section.
If you have any great ideas, or received something you thought was really wonderful, please write a comment below. Above all, gifts are great, but just the thought that you are thinking of them is the best thing ever! :)