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Care package for friend about to start chemo

(30 Posts)
StylishDuck Wed 11-Sep-19 22:06:30

Just as it says in the title, my friend has breast cancer, she's just had a mastectomy and will be starting chemo soon. I wanted to put together a care package to take to her. I was thinking things like nice socks, magazine subscription, sweets to help with queasiness, hand cream, the usual stuff. Can anyone recommend any particular brands that you know are good? Or any other ideas. There are a couple of us putting money in so budget is around £100-150. TIA

CMOTDibbler Wed 11-Sep-19 22:12:10

Rather than a package now, spread it out over the next weeks/months - people often find that by the time they are getting towards the end of chemo it feels like everyone has lost interest almost. And thats when most people feel worst.

Maybe cosy soft socks and a really good insulated cup (I love Contigo as you can throw it in a bag and it doesn't leak) now, and then things like a gift card for her coffee shop of choice (or the one in the hospital), gift card for M&S (if there is one handy) so she can pick up food and drinks without worrying about the extra money, and then bits like sweets/hand cream/scarves as time goes on

theotherfossilsister Wed 11-Sep-19 22:14:05

This is a lovely idea OP. I would suggest some lovely cosy novels (things like I Capture the Castle and Cold Comfort Farm) and a lovely hot water bottle. Lavender is meant to help with feeling sick, I think, although some people find it a bit strong.

Nice tea (Roibos, Jasmin flower, etc) might also be lovely and comforting.

And a cosy cookbook like Nigel Slater's Christmas Chronicles which is as much a collection of essays/memories as it is of recipes. Cider with Rosie is another wonderfully cosy evocative book. I keep thinking in terms of books.

Oh, and cotton bedcovers, because if you are being sick a lot it's always nice to have clean bedsheets, even if you're not sick in bed, just because you associate the old bedsheets with sickiness, if that makes sense.

theotherfossilsister Wed 11-Sep-19 22:16:12

I keep thinking in terms of books, but also The Cazalet Chronicles are great books to have at hand when you are ill. So cosy and gripping and human.

stucknoue Wed 11-Sep-19 22:19:22

I would suggest an insulated bottle (amazon has really pretty ones) and some of the ultra concentrated squash in lemon (Robinson's I think) as taste can be a bit off with chemo, a hot drink cup as well might be a good idea.

LemonySippet Wed 11-Sep-19 22:27:59

Really good quality lip balms and moisturisers, a hair wrap or hat, salty snacks rather than sweet, a subscription to audible maybe? If she has kids or a partner something for them goes down well too - my husband is currently going through chemo (hence the suggestions) and the people who've taken the time to include things for the kids to do during the long visiting hours were very appreciated. Again, different circumstances as we've had a long hospital stay but worth thinking about.

tryingtobebetterallthetime Wed 11-Sep-19 22:32:56

I heard this young woman speak a month ago on an Alaska cruise. Shane was on the cruise with her extended family. She is an Olympic gold medalist who has had breast cancer. I bought a pair of her socks, which are lovely and inspiring. Her name is Kikkan Randall.

The socks say "It's going to be OK."

tryingtobebetterallthetime Wed 11-Sep-19 22:33:33

She not Shane. Why autocorrect?

marmiteloversunite Wed 11-Sep-19 22:47:24

If she is going to lose her hair a silk pillow case and bamboo cap can be helpful.

Good quality nail base coat and dark nail varnish to preserve nails.

Little hand held fan that can be charged up. Chemo wards can be variable in temperature.

A nice comfy poncho that can cover a picc line but keep it available for the nurses.

Audio books. I couldn't concentrate on reading.

Lip balms and hand cream.

Frozen meals.

Spending time sitting on a sofa with her when she feels rubbish.

There are groups on Facebook that can help her, different ones for women with reconstruction or not.

Please tell her that you do get through it!!

Gingernaut Wed 11-Sep-19 22:51:58

Weirdly, straws.

Chemo can affect the sense of taste, so getting fluids into a patient can be hard going.

A straw (reusable or otherwise) can prevent liquids hitting the tongue.

And soups, if she likes them.

tryingtobebetterallthetime Wed 11-Sep-19 22:56:08

I go to an infusion center, not for cancer chemo, but for ibd med infusion. A light blanket would be useful if the room gets cold. A long charging cord for tablet or phone. An adult colouring book and crayon set (Twistables by crayola don't need sharpening). Some unscented hand cream as scents can be banned. Nice water bottle with straw. Lip balm (you never have enough). Nice eyeshades. Earplugs/headsets with noise cancelling. Hard candies like lemon drops etc. if mouth gets dry (like travel sweets).

marmiteloversunite Wed 11-Sep-19 22:59:23

Thought if something else.
A nice notebook and pen that she can write down all of her medication and side effects.

I also had a little felt basket at home that I could put my medication, lip balm etc in, to move from my bedroom to the sitting room. One set of stairs was enough. Couldn't keep going back up for things I had forgotten or couldn't carry.

Bloodybridget Wed 11-Sep-19 23:00:09

I got a fantastic chemo care package which included a very nice neck pillow, I always take it with me to the hospital because I get quite dozy during the treatment and it makes me much more comfortable. Also got a nice little hat, kind of beanie in thin cotton jersey, which I've worn a lot since I lost my hair.

Unescorted Wed 11-Sep-19 23:06:18

My mum wanted to be treated as a person - not defined by an illness. The greatest gift people gave her was to talk to her as if she was not ill... just take the time to talk to her as if she was still her.

Sarcelle Wed 11-Sep-19 23:11:38

Isn't there a range of skin and bodycare that is good for people undergoing chemo? It has Moo in the title.

Sarcelle Wed 11-Sep-19 23:12:52

Moo Goo Oncology Pack, just looked it up.

myrtleWilson Wed 11-Sep-19 23:16:37

My sister has cervical cancer and for aches and pains I bought her a yuyu hot water bottle which is long and thin so wraps round you (it has a tie so you can wear it and be hands free) it comes in a cashmere version which is ££! It may not be helpful if your friend isn't experiencing pain but I recommend at every opportunity as my sister loves hers!

YesQueen Wed 11-Sep-19 23:17:31

Moogoo is fab
Hurraw do great lip balms, the moon balm one especially

marmiteloversunite Wed 11-Sep-19 23:19:58

Also a plug in heat pad from Argos. (The red flexible one). It was a life saver for the back ache caused by the injections after each treatment.

Sorry I finished treatment in February and keep remembering things I found useful!

NearlyGranny Wed 11-Sep-19 23:28:23

For my friend I made a dear little gusseted bag for her drugs - a notebook and pen would have fitted in too - from a gorgeous heavy furnishing remnant I had: gold, green and red brocade with a pattern of strawberries in diamonds. I lined it in red. She loved it.

StealthToddler Wed 11-Sep-19 23:30:07

Different chemo drugs have different effects so might be worth finding out what she's having.
Many cause nerve damage and neuropathy in the hands/feet so particularly as the weather gets cold really good gloves help - even for getting things out of the fridge.
It's also common to be able to tolerate cold drinks so nice hot drinks cup and hot drink alternatives if tea/coffee taste nasty.
Spread the gifts out over the months.
I gift card for downloading films/tv series to watch during IV chemo
Gingins are nice ginger sweets for nausea
A decent blanket for chemo days
Good books/puzzle books
Aveeno/udderly cream if she might get the peeling hands/feet (recommended by chemo nurses)

StealthToddler Wed 11-Sep-19 23:31:05

*should have said NOT tolerate cold drinks!

springydaff Wed 11-Sep-19 23:38:41

You'd think you'd never forget it - but it looks like I have!

The care package signs lovely. What I needed was to know people cared. They didn't have to move heaven and earth but just let me know they are thinking of me and sending love.

I really needed food when I was going through it bcs I was far too exhausted to cook. I needed bland food - no salt or pepper. Soups were brilliant.

Everybody's experience is different - also so many different chemos. Just let her know you care and you're not going away. It's the long haul and gets worse as you go along.

I needed people to stay with me the night after each chemo, just to keep an eye out.

You're a great friend star

FoxtrotSkarloey Wed 11-Sep-19 23:38:44

Can you give your time? Can you take time off work and take her to chemo sessions, to sit with her throughout?

palahvah Wed 11-Sep-19 23:53:27

What a lovely idea. I recommend - set up by a cancer survivor. They have loads of great ideas and also do subscriptions that you can time with treatment - I agree with pp that it's nice to space things out since there's often a rush of support to begin with and then it can ebb away.
Wishing all the best.

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