Having gone through chemo, myself, exactly 2 years ago, I can provide my thoughts about my experiences. I had a different kind of cancer and received chemo more frequently than most women with breast cancer. Depending on what kind she has, what stage she was diagnosed, and what treatment she's receiving will determine a lot about what she needs. Most likely, she'll receive chemo every 3-4 weeks. Mine was every other week.
I had grandiose plans of being the most fun patient during chemo sessions. They loved when we brought our kids (then 2 and 3 months) to the center because they mostly saw older people. But, when the chemo drugs accumulated, all I wanted to do was sleep and try not to vomit as much as the last time.
The backpack I packed with books and magazines, my iPod, etc. never got opened. I'd watch TV, talk to the infusion nurses and sleep my way through my sessions.
My BEST advice is to simply ask her. Let her know you want to do something for her and see what she needs now or as she goes deeper into treatment. I purchased many things for myself that I never used though I thought I would. I just didn't know how I would react to chemo.
My coworkers put together an incredible gift basket for me towards the end of treatment, and I've honestly never used most of it. Either things didn't fit, I no longer needed them, or I didn't have the energy. I've donated many of them to other cancer patients who I hope will get use from them.
The BEST thing you can do for her is to treat her like nothing's different. Be there if she has a break down and needs a friend to hold her and let her cry. This never happened for me. But, the things I needed most were invitations to lunch, to go get margaritas, to take my kids places.
Another thing that people did that was MOST helpful was to take our kids for a few hours on chemo weekends so my husband could have a break. We don't have family near-by, so the week I was down was really hard. I am a full-time working Mom, so we had to squeeze all of life's normal stresses with 2 kids 2 and under + chemo into our lives.
The other thing people don't realize makes a HUGE difference is to get a LIVESTRONG bracelet for everyone and wear it in her honor. My boss got them for our team. They all put them on at a National Sales Meeting, the week after I was diagnosed, and one-by-one they came off. I never said anything, but I noticed, and it really hurt. I still wear mine every day in honor of all the people I know dealing with cancer.
Feel free to send me a private message if you'd like to know any more.
Each person is different. I correlate it to giving birth, you really don't know what it's going to be like until you get in there and have to deal with it. Hair loss was horribly difficult for me. It shouldn't have been in the grand scheme of things, but it's how I manifested my anxiety.