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To ask for advice to 'help' a friend starting chemo

(18 Posts)
RachelRedhead Fri 02-Sep-16 16:36:50

I am a very long time lurker but thought I would ask people if they would help me as I have seen such good advice on here before.
My friend has recently had surgery to remove a secondary cancerous tumour from her lung and is due to start chemotherapy soon. She is a very active person, positive and a 'doer'. I am concerned for her on so many levels but I know chemo is a rough time and wondered if anyone had any advice as to how to help her through the 6 months course which is planned for her. She is no good at sitting around and after her surgery for her original cancer, she went stir crazy. She will not be able to be around the people she is normally with due to the infection risks. I'm not sure she (or I ) realise how limiting this could be.

Any thoughts or ideas anyone please or experiences would be helpful. I was wondering about making up a goody bag.

She has severe digestive problems and a colostomy so the usual chocolates are a no no.

I want to help in any way possible but have no idea how. I hate feeling helpless like this.

Many thanks in advance.

chickenowner Fri 02-Sep-16 16:42:01

Books, magazines, or ebooks if she has a kindle.
Scented wipes, soap, cleansers, bath bombs or bubble bath.
Photos of happy times arranged in a frame or book.
Candles, joss sticks, incense.
Pretty scarves, socks, slippers, pretty but comfy underwear, nightwear etc

This is just off the top if my head...

user1468407812 Fri 02-Sep-16 17:01:46

Sorry to hear about your friend. I finished chemo in November and was bored rigid being stuck at home as I work part time and love meeting friends on days off.
If she is very active normally she might not be so bad, I wasn't. I managed to still go out and about the 2nd week after chemo session but made sure I had hand sanitiser and some people even wear a mask over mouth. I just asked people who felt even a little sniffy to please not visit me.
She will feel cold a lot and achy bones, someone bought me the softest dressing gown I have ever owned and I lived in it. It was very long and covered me nicely and was comforting to just doze in.
Just be there for her really, pop and get her anything she may need, have normal conversation that's not about the treatment/cancer. Can she Skype friends/relatives?
She could write a blog or diary documenting her feelings, I did and it made me realise that I actually had more good days than bad and it helps to let it out.
I wish your friend well on their journey.

TheSpottedZebra Fri 02-Sep-16 17:08:19

Is Is she ok with tech, eg using WhatsApp to get regular messages, pics and videos from those she can't see in person?

My skin went extremely sensitive with chemo, so smellies were no good for me. And smells made me feel gippy so candles, sprays etc were no goes too! Its tricky. Everyone reacts differently (although the chemo nurses will have have a good idea as to how she'll react with her regime).

ForexTrader Fri 02-Sep-16 17:27:45

No no no to anything that smells. The best thing is simply being there for her with moral support and jokes.

Fcukthetww Fri 02-Sep-16 17:34:00

There's a website called not another bunch of flowers that specialises in gifts for people going through chemo, they do gift baskets etc. Your friend is lucky to have you!

bamboobeanbags Fri 02-Sep-16 17:35:26

Netflix subscription. You could watch a series together (but separately) and gossip about it on WhatsApp.
Audio books
Would she enjoy learning a new skill like knitting or cross stitch?

On a side note- udder cream is fantastic for moisturising dry and sensitive skin during chemo.

needastrongone Fri 02-Sep-16 17:42:10

My friend has just gone through chemo. Being treated as normal was really important, and allowing her to dictate whether is was a day to offload, or a day to hear how everyone else was doing.

Also, my friend positively encouraged dog walks and coffees out, she was so bloody fed up to 4 walls. From the 2nd week of chemo, she was well enough to be up and about, and the fresh air and exercise helped. She dictated the pace, always faster than mine!

CMOTDibbler Fri 02-Sep-16 17:43:43

Rather than a goody bag, find little bits to send/give to her weekly - 6 months is a long time of treatment, and often people do things at the beginning, but tail off quickly.

EtTuTuttiFrutti Fri 02-Sep-16 17:44:14

Been doing my research for when I start chemo.
Ginger for the nausea.
Really soft warm blanket for the actual chemo. Short sleeves are best for access but might leave her a bit chilled.
Neck Pillow
Small notebook and pen to record next appointment/instructions
Some nice bandanas/caps if hair loss. Try annabandana web site
Manuka honey
Hanky with aromatherapy oil to sniff as the chemo drugs can be a bit noxious smelling
Strong chewing gum/boiled sweets (as above)
Toothbrush & Toothpaste.

Crosswords, Sudoku, tablet with downloaded novels/films.
Very best of luck to your friend. She's lucky to have you flowers

shaggedthruahedgebackwards Fri 02-Sep-16 17:47:03

If you live local to your friend then could you offer to help out driving her to some of the appointments and keep her company while waiting for treatment?

BillSykesDog Fri 02-Sep-16 17:48:36

Amazon voucher.

Also, keep talking to the people around her, partners, children. Partly because they will need support too, but also because they will be able to give you a lead as to how she is feeling and if she needs/wants a visit/call.

RachelRedhead Fri 02-Sep-16 17:50:43

Oh that is so helpful thank you! Lots to look through and I will definitely look at that link.

I love the idea of the comfy clothes.

Yes we'll be on whatsapp a lot with our other friends (we're work colleagues but friends as well which will make it all the more horrible when she goes off to have the treatment).

We have a very honest, open friendship and can easily talk beyond the 'c'. She is just so brave as she knows her treatment is almost certainly only prolonging rather than curing. Her first concerns are for her family and friends though. For example when she found out it had spread, she was busy making arrangements so we weren't under too much pressure at work (she is my immediate boss).

Thanks again.

Pettywoman Fri 02-Sep-16 17:54:37

Lifts, childcare, odd jobs like cutting the grass would mean lots. Offer to help with those things. Soft socks, shawls etc. Non smelly moisturiser.

I've not been through it myself, but have spent the past year with my best friend having breast cancer. Someone called in with a cake and cooked chicken when she was just out of hospital. That went down well because it isn't just the patient, but the whole family that is affected.

RachelRedhead Fri 02-Sep-16 17:57:12

Good idea, yes we live locally to each other so I could go to some appointments if she wants,

I am sure she will take up a new craft. When she had the surgery first time round, she learned how to crochet and then started selling things she had made to raise a considerable amount of money for the ward in the hospital she had been in.

EtTuTuttiFrutti Fri 02-Sep-16 17:57:15

I'm sure the other lacies won't mind me inviting you over to the cancer thread in General Health. It's full of really good help and advise whether you're going through it or supporting someone else. flowers

Mysillydog Fri 02-Sep-16 17:57:40

If she is having 3 weekly cycles, arrange some week 3 treats for her to look forward to. A drive out to a nice place, a short walk somewhere pretty, a meal or afternoon tea in a not too crowded restaurant - although chemo can play havoc with tastebuds. She might prefer to meet in the day than at night.

Chemo is lonely and many friends seem to disappear, so being there for her is wonderful.

RachelRedhead Fri 02-Sep-16 18:05:30

EtTuTuttiFrutti Thank you yes I'll pop over there too.

Mysillydog Yes it's the three week cycle starting in a few weeks.

I know I've said this but thank you for all this fantastic advice. There is plenty for me to think about and lots of ideas to last the 6 months (and beyond).

I'm really going to miss her at work.

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