If you have a loved one or friend who was diagnosed with cancer it is scary. You may have a lot of feelings going through your head. But one thing you do know is that you want to show them love and support, but you’re not quite sure how.
I hear ya. That’s why I’ve listed gifts that were life savers for me as well as some ideas from other friends who have also gone through cancer treatments.
Here Are 5 Ideas That Could Help Your Friend/Family Member Who Has Cancer.
(p.s. #1, 2 and 5 are great for anyone going through a difficult time)
1. Gifts That Comfort
Aromatherapy Rice Heating Pad or Heating Blanket -A lot of patients going through chemotherapy get really achy! My heat blanket really helped me sleep and calm my achy bones. Both of these were my favorite and I still use them all the time! If you're super crafty here's a tutorial to make your own aromatherapy rice heating pads and for the rest of us you can find lots of great ones on Amazon. I love the Earth Therapeutics brand and recommend the ones you can microwave like these ones.
Soft Blanket’s like these ones make the best gifts! -Because I had to stay at the hospital for five days straight when receiving my chemotherapy, a super soft blanket was the perfect thing to take with me to the hospital. It felt a little more like home, gave me comfort and helped me sleep. Well...as much as you can sleep in a noisy hospital with busy nurses and a roommate listening to Spanish soap Operas really loud all through the night hehe.
I found these extra soft blankets from Luxe Palette with inspirational quotes on them like, “You’ve got this.” If you don’t know what to give someone these would make the perfect gift. I love these blankets because not only can you cuddle with them, but they can give someone inspiration to keep going every time they’re curled up in their bed or couch after treatments.
Comforting Herbal Tea (Aveda) -This is my favorite herbal tea! I gave it to my friend who was going through chemo and now it's her favorite too! It has a licorice/peppermint taste, which I usually don't like, but this stuff is heavenly! It's soothing and flavorful, no sugar needed.
Comfy Sweats and Pajamas -Make sure they are easy to take off and on.
Flowers/Candle -Okay so girls might appreciate these more. If your friend is in the hospital, check with them first to see if their hospital floor allows flowers, some don't. I enjoyed having them at home while I was recovering. Also Chemotherapy can really mess with your senses, just like pregnancy so sometimes a delicious smelling candle like this one from Anthropologie could brighten their mood.
Whatever They Are Craving -I hadn’t had much of an appetite during treatments, but late one night I was craving an apple. I mean I REALLY wanted an apple! My sweet husband texted our group of friends that lived in our same apartment complex and one of them thankfully had an apple. My neighbor probably thought it was just an apple, but to me it was the biggest most delicious, perfect apple I have ever taste and lifted my spirits.
2. Helpful Gifts
Gift Cards to Restaurants, Cleaning or a Massage -Those cancer patients who have kiddos and families really find gift cards helpful. My friend Andrea P said, “A cleaning lady who can come the day you do treatments and then you come back to a clean house, is the best!”
Freezer Meals -Appetites sure come and go, but many cancer patients still have a family to feed. Freezer meals can be life savers and give your friend flexibility for when they need a dinner.
Food Delivery - If you’re not much of a cook, there are so many great companies out there where you can easily order something great for your friend. Just be sure to see what they can eat, or you can just focus on food their family would eat.
3. Thoughtful Gifts
Gratitude Journal -My friend gave me a beautiful lined journal and I turned it into a gratitude journal. To this day it's one of my favorite keepsakes. It also really helped me find peace and realize how much I had to be grateful for even when life was crazy hard! I love the journals and notebooks that Rifle Paper Co. makes.
Thoughtful Letters and Cards -Cancer can be a mental roller coaster, so you never know when a thoughtful card can make your friends day. Since I lived so far from family, getting letters, pictures my nieces and nephews drew, cards and packages made my day and helped me keep going. I highly recommend checking out EmilyMcdowell.com she makes incredible cards that are perfect for those going through cancer or a difficult time in general. I LOVE her stuff!
Phone call -Cancer patients get a lot of support in the beginning, but if you take the time to actually call your friend on the phone LATER ON in their journey. I promise you, you won't regret it and it can help them not feel alone once the beginning support dies off.
4. Gifts To Help With Side Effects
Chemo Cap -For those who are going through Chemotherapy and lose their hair, I highly recommend chemo caps or some kind of lightweight beanie that is super soft and not itchy. Some people look into wigs, others like scarves, hats or just rock the bald look. A lot of times I just rocked the bald look, but being bald is cold, especially in the winter in NYC so beanies were my friend. Also my chemo cap helped my scarf stay on my head when I use those. Also chemotherapy patients skin can be extremely sensitive to the sun, so a hat in the summer can also be helpful.
Heating blanket, rice heating pad -Look at #1 for more info on these.
Lotion and Chapstick-Cancer patients skin can get extremely dry, so these are always helpful!
Aromatherapy Body Wash -Loved this for a shower or bath. Dr. Teals brand is great and you can find it at most stores.
Things To Chew -Ginger Candies like Reeds Ginger candy work great for those who feel nauseous. Mouths can also get very dry and even water can taste yucky so flavorful gum or Jolly Ranchers work great.
5. The Most Important Gift You Could Give
A Loving Human After the Hype -I say human, because although you’d love to be there for your friend day in and day out, you are human...we all are. We all have a life, responsibilities and our own difficult things we are going through. The best thing you could do is to try and be there for your friend in whatever way that looks like for you.
The most important thing you could do is to be for them AFTER the hype. Talking to a few cancer patients, myself included the best thing you could do is to give them love down the road. When hair starts growing back and they have strength to do normal things again it looks like everything is back to normal. But people don’t realize that you’re still dealing with a lot. Most cancer patients receive support in the beginning. In the middle of their treatments when everyone’s forgotten they are still fighting for their life might be when they need you most. Months after their treatments when their hair is growing back and they look normal, might be when they really need your love. They still have doctors appointments, scans and lots of worry as they are trying to recover. Unfortunately Cancer is an on going mental battle and they still need your love and support.