It’s so hard when someone is diagnosed with cancer. You don’t know what to say and you want to do something to help, but you’re not sure what to do. Since finishing treatment I’ve had many people ask me what my top gift ideas for someone starting chemo are. This is a bit of a tricky question because there are so many different types of chemo and they can affect people very differently as well. I didn’t realize there were so many different types of chemo until I had cancer myself. And they are creating new kinds of chemo all of the time too, which is great because let’s kill ALL the cancer! So all I can do is tell you a few of the items that I found particularly helpful while I was going through chemo myself.
*This post is not sponsored in any way, I am not receiving any money here, these are just my opinions.
Chemo made my skin dry. So dry. Sahara Desert dry. It was crazy! I hear that this is a common side effect for a lot of people going through chemo too. A high quality moisturizing cream is a good idea. My recommendation would be to avoid any strong smelling lotions and creams. You never know if the cancer patient is extra sensitive to smells during treatment, I know I was. My brother sent me this Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve and I love it:
It has a light scent, it is thick but absorbs quickly, it’s not greasy and a little goes a long way so one tube lasts a long time. My hubby even loves this cream…just don’t tell him I told you!
Along with dry skin comes dry lips. I have always been a bit of a lip balm addict, but I found that during chemo my regular lip balms just weren’t cutting it. I personally like this Aquaphor Lip Repair:
This does have a bit of a thick feel at first but it works so well for severely dry lips. A little bit goes a long way and it doesn’t have any fragrance or taste so it’s great. You can easily find it at Target, Walmart or other drug stores.
Again, dry skin was a problem for me during chemo. The dry skin on my face would really bug me. It not only felt uncomfortable, but all of the little dry flakes didn’t look very nice either. I used this St. Ives Sensitive Skin Gentle Apricot Scrub a couple of times a week and it really helped:
This scrub is very gentle on your skin, but it gets rid of those pesky dry flakes and leaves your skin really smooth. And then put some good moisturizer on your face afterward and it was heaven! Hey, when you are going through chemo it’s the little things like this that bring you joy. You can definitely use this on other dry areas too. And you can find this at good old Target or Walmart.
A cozy blanket is always a good gift idea, whether you are going through chemo or not. I found that I was always cold going through my particular type of chemo. My friend gave me a big, super soft blanket that I used all of the time. It traveled with me from my couch to my bed and back again. A smaller blanket is a good idea for someone to take with them when they go to get their chemo because it’s usually cold at the infusion center too. You can get good blankets just about anywhere, I simply chose this image off of Google because it’s my favorite color:
A notebook or journal is another good idea. Personally, I like spiral notebooks so that I can flip the cover and pages and put them completely behind when I’m writing on a new page. These pretty lined notebooks from Target are my favorite and they aren’t expensive at all either:
I find myself always needing a notebook for something. I write down doctor info or upcoming medical test details, I write down questions to ask at my next appointments, I keep track of insurance stuff in them, I write down inspirational quotes or scriptures that I come across, I make lists in there or sometimes it helps just to write some thoughts down on paper. Especially when I had chemo brain (yes, it’s totally a real thing) I found that I was constantly writing things down so I didn’t forget anything. These notebooks are great too because they are smaller than 8-1/2 x 11″ so they fit well in my purse or tote bag. Add in a fun pen and this is a great little gift idea!
When you are stuck in the infusion center for hours you need things to keep you busy. One of my favorite things to do during my infusions was to read magazines:
I don’t usually buy magazines so it was a bit of a treat to get some to read during treatment. I had a few new books too, but sometimes it was hard for me to focus long enough to get into reading a book. Again, chemo brain. Magazines were perfect because I could flip through them and read little bits here and there and they didn’t require a lot of mental attention.
Another great gift I received while going through treatment was an iTunes gift card. If the patient you know likes music, movies or buying apps for their phone, this is a great idea:
I would put my earbuds in and listen to music almost the entire time I was getting my infusions. It was nice to drown out some of the noise and conversations around me. And I could change my playlist based on my mood depending on if I wanted something upbeat or if I wanted something more relaxing. Music can do amazing things!
Gift cards are also an easy idea if you don’t live close to the cancer patient because then you can just put it in the mail for only the cost of a stamp. And gift cards are also very much appreciated by cancer patients. Since I was always cold and found it hard to warm up, I loved getting a Starbucks gift card so that I could get a hot drink occasionally:
I know that we really appreciated receiving gift cards for restaurants too. It was nice to not have to worry about what to cook. And especially when I was feeling super sick it was nice for my hubby to have a quick and easy way to feed himself and the girls. Plus no dishes = win, win!
I thought I would include this graphic as well because it has some good points about gift ideas that are appropriate for those who are seriously ill:
I was surprised when I was going through chemo that they told me not to bring any fresh flowers into our house. Flowers are probably one of the most common gifts to give to people who are sick, and the prettiest, but apparently they can actually make you sick! Who knew?!
Honestly, I can tell you that your cancer patient family member, friend, co-worker, neighbor, whoever will appreciate any thoughtful act that you give them. Even just a simple note letting them know that you are thinking of them means so much. And I know that I was really grateful when people did something special for my hubby or for my kids. They are going through this cancer journey as well and it’s nice for them to know they are being thought of as well. I would love to hear any other gift ideas you have for those going through chemo if you want to leave a comment.
*To read from the beginning of my cancer journey, click here.