17 answers

Gift Basket for a Friend About to Start Chemo?

I have a dear sweet friend who just recently found out that she has cancer, and unfortunately it has progressed quite far. She is going to begin chemotherapy this coming week. I live about 1.5 hours from her and I wanted to do something special for her. I thought of maybe sending a chemotherapy gift basket to her--- things she'll need and maybe things that can be comforting during the process... I've, of course, offered to take her children whenever she needs me to, but I know that she has school/babysitters and family for that. I would drive there in a moments notice, though, if she needed me.
Mostly I want to find a way to help her feel comforted during what I know will be a very uncomfortable experience.
Any thoughts or ideas as to what I could put together? Or any ideas of something else I could do for her? Anyone who has been through this experience--- what did you hope that someone would do for you? I'm not even sure if she's at a hospital full time right now or if she's partly at home... I know she already had one surgery so she is probably in a hospital. I'm just getting updates from her health-blog (on caring bridge), as it's difficult for her to keep everyone updated via emails. Do people generally stay in the hospital during this whole time of chemotherapy?

Any ideas or ways I can be of comfort to my friend would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks everyone for all the wonderful ideas! I'm so glad I had this post because I feel like I can get her things she will actually use!
I ended up making a lovely, lovely gift basket--- full of luxuries that I don't even buy for myself! I found the coziest, soft, light weight blanket for when she's cold or going to get chemo--- she can pop it in her bag. I also found a light weight, delightfully soft robe that she can put on when people unexpectedly show up... or just when she's around the house. I got her a hand creme, body moisturizer and lip balm (all unscented) from kiehls, and some burts bees face wipes for when she doesn't feel like getting up. I added some natural ginger candy (for nausea) and a box set of a season of THE OFFICE for laughs (that was a great idea! THX!).
I have offered to take the kids and will continue to do that so she doesn't feel like at some point she doesn't have anyone helping anymore... I'm going to make cookies for her kids and take those too!

Thanks everyone so much for all the ideas and kindness!

Featured Answers

I don't know if this is helpful at all, but I think that if I were in the hospital (or just incapacitated at home), what would give me a boost is if someone did something nice for my family---since my family would be going all out for me, and usually it is my job to take care of them. So some homemade cookies or a cake for the husband and kids. Steak dinner for husband, delivered. Someone giving the dog a bath. Someone seeing to anything the kids needed for school (project materials for upcoming assignments, etc), getting the kids squared away for Halloween...

I know it sounds silly or lame.. .but if I were not able, that is the kind of things I'd want. Somebody taking care of the people I felt like I was letting down.

7 moms found this helpful

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I don't know if this is helpful at all, but I think that if I were in the hospital (or just incapacitated at home), what would give me a boost is if someone did something nice for my family---since my family would be going all out for me, and usually it is my job to take care of them. So some homemade cookies or a cake for the husband and kids. Steak dinner for husband, delivered. Someone giving the dog a bath. Someone seeing to anything the kids needed for school (project materials for upcoming assignments, etc), getting the kids squared away for Halloween...

I know it sounds silly or lame.. .but if I were not able, that is the kind of things I'd want. Somebody taking care of the people I felt like I was letting down.

7 moms found this helpful

My business partner was going through this last year at this time. ''netflix" subscription helped.. She was given an ipad, so she was also able to use the subscription for her ipad. She took this to her Chemo appt. since she was usually there all day long.

She was also told to take her own lunch.. so we found a super cute lunch bag for her.

I purchased her a very soft tshirt type night gown, since she became very sensitive to weight on her body and the rubbing of fabrics on her skin.

Sheep skin lined slippers. Her feet became very sensitive.

She will need calories..... One of the things my friend enjoyed were very thin and crisp cookies. I cannot recall the name of the brand, but they make fabulous cookies that are packaged that are thin almond cookies, thin butter cookies. also very thin ginger cookies. All of these are at the grocery store, but are the more expensive cookies.

She also needed to eat high calorie foods, but had no taste in her mouth.. so creamy soups helped.

She really enjoyed the Sonic Strawberry Lime slushes.. So before I would visit her, ! would call and see if she wanted one.

She also needed to use fruit and vegetable cleanser.. for all of her fresh produce.

She could eat eggs, soft boiled and scrambled.. and keep them down. So we made sure she always had fresh eggs

The first piece of medical equipment she needed, after her oxygen tank ,was the shower chair. So consider finding her one. we borrowed one.

And a light bathrobe. The heavy ones were to cumbersome for her to deal with..

I also gave her a small suit case with the long handle and wheels, so she could pull it to and from her treatments and the doctors office.

5 moms found this helpful

Hats or wraps
FOOD!! Already prepared dinners! Ones that you make or that you could buy (dinner's ready...although I was not impressed with them I have heard other people love them)
Housecleaning services
Yard services
(the two services you could call ahead to the place and pay over the phone and just have them come to her house)
Could you go once a week and help with laundry?
I have quite a few friends who have gone through Chemo and Radiation and each one of them has reacted VERY differently. Some have been sick as dogs and some have been ravenously hungry. ALL of them have been tired and not able to keep up on housework. It may be nice to have a service come out and cook and clean so that she and her husband do not have to worry about it at all.
Here's praying your friend does well.
Laura

4 moms found this helpful

I have recently had the same experience you are going through now. I made a basket for my friend and her family. It included my gently used books for her to read, fun nail polish for her and her daughter to share, videos, a cute notepad and pen, a Subway gift card for her husband and kids, a few different candy bags, and what ended up being her favorite thing from the basket....fuzzy socks! I got her a couple pairs from Walgreens, the ones with the little plastic dots on the bottoms, and she said she loved them for walking around the hospital, and then to snuggle in at home.

I wish you and your friend the best!

4 moms found this helpful

My suggestion for a gift basket is... something to occupy her kids. She is not going to feel well for a long time... and the children need to be distracted with quiet activities.

Chemo is a nightmare. If you can, go with her and hold her hand and tell her stories and try to distract her. Chemo is generally administered in a room with many people in rows receiving treatment.

After chemo is administered, she will feel truly awful & not able to rest or sleep. Take her to get a mani-pedi to pass the time... followed by a massage if possible.

Do sweet things for her children. The most painful thing for a mother is knowing that she is not able to care for them optimally, and the fear of leaving them motherless. And she will NOT be herself. Her level of agitation will go through the roof while she is undergoing chemo.

Your kindness through her suffering will be a comfort to you if she passes. Look for ways to lower your toxic exposures for your own family, so that there will not be more suffering. Hug your own babies extra tight. Bless you.

4 moms found this helpful

Every type and progression of cancer gets different treatment protocols. Some have many days as an in- patient while others are rarely in over night fir chemo. Much of the time is hurry up and wait so movies and music help a great deal. Either a DVD set of a great tv show she would like to pass the time or I tunes card to buy on her IPad or I touch. Usually scented stuff grosses you out so no lotions etc. Magazines are good. Books are sometimes hard to read as you are bugged every 5 minutes by a staff member. A cute soft shirt or fun lap blanket would be helpful. Also depending on the drugs hard candy like lifesavers help with the horrible taste in your mouth. Of course, cards and supportive emails help too. Many blessings for your friends successful battle.

4 moms found this helpful

Since she has a family to take care of , meals would be very helpful. If you know people that are local to her they could sign up on this site. They could bring meals or groceries or fresh cut up fruit and veggies. All would be so helpful as I'm sure cooking is the last thing on her mind. Try out this site:

http://www.takethemameal.com/

4 moms found this helpful

Chapstick! My mom's lips got VERY dry during chemo. Don't get Carmex though. The menthol in it stung for her. Just regular chapstick or Nivea brand did well for her. Also a good lotion. Not one of the yummy smelly ones that don't hydrate that well, but like Vaseline brand or something like that.

I think the Visa card for meals is good. Chemo can affect everyone's tastes differently. My mom loved orange marmalade, but couldn't eat it during chemo (said it tasted like lard!). BUt she really craved acidic things like pasta with tomato sauce. So a gift card would make it so your friend can get things accordign to her changing tastes.

A SOFT knit hat (or 2 or 3). My mom had one on constantly. She was cold alot. Even in the summer. She did lose her hair with one chemo. With her second cancer she didn't but still felt cold. She just liked the inexpensive winter knit caps from the men's department.

My mom loved getting little notes from friends. Even fiends that she could talk to, the cards were a pick me up. I am sure you will be calling often, but "thinking of you" cards are great, too.

Just listed to what she tells you and feel free to step in and help when she doesn't ask. Sometimes people feel like they need to be strong and NOT accept help. We know that does't make them "weak", but some people are reluctant to accept help. Just help with out asking. Instead of saying you will take the kids when she needs you to, call and say "Is is o.k. if I stop by on Saturday to take the kids to the park?" Then you are making a specific plan and she isn't asking you to some take the kids. Does that make sense?

You are a good friend for looking out for her. That is the best gift! :)

4 moms found this helpful

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