Friend with Cancer

Updated on December 01, 2008
G.N. asks from Scott City, KS
57 answers

I have a friend/co-worker who has breast cancer and is going to have surgery later this month. I would like to put together a basket of goodies to send to her. I don't want to do just chocolate and cookies but some stuff she will need or would like to have while going through chemo also. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. I have thought of books and stuff but I am sure there are some things she will need and didn't think of.

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So What Happened?

First off I would like to thank everyone for all the great ideas. I ended up making a fleece and flannel blanket/wrap because she is always cold. I also threw in some really soft fuzzy socks. I got some sugar free mint and fruit live savers and some sugar free mint gum. And because I always make jokes and she knows this, I put in one of those kid tube things you swing around and it howls and some bubbles just to lighten the mood. She really liked all the stuff and laughed about the toys. I think with your help I brightened her day. Thanks again.

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D.R.

answers from Kansas City on

Hi! There is a ministry that sends free gift baskets to cancer patients called Outreach of Hope. They will send it within a week of you requesting it. I sent my Mom one when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She absolutely loved it! D. :0)

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M.B.

answers from Denver on

I personally love gossip magazines like People and US weekly. Maybe some luxe lotion like khiels or L'Occitaine.

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K.H.

answers from Salt Lake City on

If she likes word searches, you can get her a book of those. I would recommend getting her something that she can use to relax etc...Candles, relaxing music (cd), some bath salt etc... Something like that may help her to relax and feel better.

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B.G.

answers from Houston on

Didn't see your original request, but I wanted to recommend a great book to you. It could be a gift for your friend, or you may want to read it yourself, or both! It's called "From Kansa to Oz" by Gail Larson. It is written in the form of journal entries/prayers from 3 different characters who are battling cancer: an older man, a woman & nurse, & a little boy. It's a great book that will make you laugh & cry. My grandfather had terminal cancer, and while I found this to be a great book in general, it also helped me to understand just a tiny bit of what he might have felt at times. It's available on amazon.com if you ar interested. Hope this helps, and your friend is blessed to have someone as sweet & thoughtful as you supporting her. :)

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M.H.

answers from Melbourne on

A website that both of you need to check out right now is knowthecause.com. Gives info on what to eat and take to avoid and treat cancer and other diseases. Check into probiotics!!!!!!!
God Bless,
M.

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A.W.

answers from Billings on

I am a breast cancer survivor. Two years ago next week I started chemo. Goodies are a sweet idea, but there is no telling what will taste good to her when she's on chemo. I couldn't stand anything sweet while on chemo, but everyone is different. My suggestion would be to make little gift certificates for coming once a week or every two weeks to dust and vacuum her house for her or clean up the kitchen. Does she have a family? After the first two chemos, if she is very nauseated as I was, she may not have much energy for cooking. Bring in a dinner once a week, and organize other friends to do the same. Just stop by and spend an afternoon keeping her company. Because chemo suppresses your immune system, many patients have to be very careful about going out much for fear of catching something and becoming very ill. One or two people visiting can be a real treat. The gift of your time and help is much better than a tangible gift. A chemo patient can feel kind of isolated, and a visit can brighten a day. Just offer to run errands for her such as picking up dry cleaning or shopping, things that might sap her strength when she needs to conserve it for time with her family. Hope this sparks some creative ideas for you. The love and kindness of friends and family got me through, and it sounds like your friend has a great friend in you. Be there for her and you'll reap rewards greater than you can imagine.

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L.W.

answers from Colorado Springs on

Hi G.!

You are so sweet. I am a survivor and while I truly appreciated anything and everything, here a few ideas:

There is a company called "Assist Wear" (or something similar) that sells nightgowns for patients with drains. If she is having a mastectomy (single or double), this is the gift ... you cannot imagine!!! They have a website.

FOOD! Real food! If you can coordinate with your office to provide meals for her, she will actually eat and eat healthy food to help her recover. If you don't want to coordinate the whole deal, you could take up a collection and go through a company that delivers meals. There are several online, including Home Bistro, and several locally such as What About Dinner.

There is a local company named "In Care of You" run by a survivor. You could get her a gift certificate. They sell wigs, scarves, hats, etc. Also, depending on how many lymph nodes are removed, she may need a medical bracelet. "In Care of You" sells gorgeous ones! They also offer permanent makeup (Judee is fabulous!). She may want her eyebrows done. I highly recommend it.

A blanket (you could have a nice message or the breast cancer symbol embroidered on it) for chemo.

There is a magazine called BEYOND for breast cancer patients and survivors. It's wonderful. It only comes out twice a year so you may have a hard time finding it, but if you do come across it, she'll love it.

These are just a few ideas. If you need more or have any questions, please let me know. It would be an honor for me to help in any way I can!

She's blessed to have you!
L.

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S.L.

answers from Fort Collins on

How about a fancy journal and pen so she can write about her journey.
A hat for chemo. I knit my SIL one, and she said she wore it all the time to her chemo appointments, as she would get so cold over that 4-5 hour period.
A funny book, to help her laugh.
Maybe books on tape, so she can listen to them during chemo.

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M.B.

answers from Boise on

G.: If your friend is going to have a mastectomy then I would recommend a cute little pillow (two if both sides are being removed) for her to put under her arms after surgery. It really helps ease the discomfort. A fun button down comfortable top is also helpful. Moving arms over your head is close to impossible after surgery. A CD with soothing music is comforting as well. I wish your friend the best of luck as she goes through this life changing period in her life.

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J.B.

answers from Denver on

Hi G.,

I've worked with large cancer organization groups and patients. I'm also an RN and Arbonne consultant. We have terrific products that are safe and beneficial for cancer patients because they contain botanical ingredients without the toxic chemicals. Cancer treatments are very hard on the skin and it is so important to keep that line of defense healthy and intact. I recommend our SeaSource Detox line products as they are also VERY healing. Our Aromassentials line can also be really helpful. Let me know if I can help you get some things for your friend. I'd be happy to work with you to do that at cost. My website is: www.lifetrust.myarbonne.com.

Blessings,
J. B

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S.W.

answers from Denver on

I'm so sorry that your friend has cancer but she is so lucky to have you as such a good friend. I thought of a couple of different things that you could include in your gift basket. Maybe you could get her a gift certificate to one of those personnal chefs, maybe just for one or two meals, that way she can let them know what she would like them to prepare. Or maybe a gift cert. to one of the dinner delivery places. The other thing that I thought of is a prayer shawl that she can wrap herself up in, when she is chilly or feels that she needs some comfort. If you knit, simply say some prayers for her good health etc. as you go. You could also sew one with some nice fabric and cotton batting. They even have kits at the fabric store that are "no sew", you simply tie knots. I hope that your friend recovers quickly. And you are a great friend, that is the best gift you can give her.

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J.F.

answers from Provo on

My mom and I put together a similar basket for my grandmother a few years ago while she was undergoing iodine treatments after having her thyroid removed. These are some of the items that we included: A small bottle of lotion, a pair of fingernail clippers (NO ONE remembers to pack them when going to the hospital!), a couple of pairs of fuzzy socks to keep her feet warm, a word puzzle book (she enjoys crossword puzzles) as something different besides just reading, hand sanitizer with moisturizer, Life Savers (people often get dry mouth from the meds), Chapstick and the like. We just went to Wal-Mart and cruised the beauty and trial size aisles and tried to think of things that we would want or would be useful that she would be too stressed to remember. Then we added a couple of personal items that we knew that she would enjoy. She LOVED it!! Good luck, and good luck to your friend!

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D.C.

answers from Boise on

First of all, good for you. it is so wonderful to hear people still caring for one another. one thing you could do is write a couple i o us by this i mean, she may need help with dishes, or laundry, or even maybe a trip to the store. sometimes these simple acts can mean more than any gift given. you and her will be in my thoughts and prayers.

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B.L.

answers from Grand Junction on

Hi G.,
I already responded to you earlier, but meant to include a book called "what cancer cannot do" I don't know if your friend is a Christian or not, but it is available at most Christain Bookstores and is an amazing book. My mother is going through her 3rd battle with cancer and found this book on her 2nd round. Cancer is such a powerful, evil disease and robs you and your loved ones of so many things, and that is why this book is so wonderful. It reminds you of all the things in your lives that cancer cannot change or take away from you. It is very small and easy, motivational reading. My mother now gives one to every person she knows who is affected by cancer. I hope this helps.

B.

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E.B.

answers from Salt Lake City on

When I was recovering from cancer surgery and radiation, I had a friend who put together a "comfort basket" for me to have in the hospital. It had warm fuzzy socks without tight elastic, a fleece throw, small unscented lotions for feet and hands, mints, gum, and hair bands. I still use some of the things and it was a cherished gift.New soft Jammies are a great idea too.
Just an idea,
E.

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J.L.

answers from Pocatello on

I don't know how much you want to spend, but a gift certificate for a massage might be nice. A friend of mine struggled with breast cancer for 8 years and one of the things that helped her through chemo and the swelling was a good massage. The chemo made her tastes and smells change so some foods and scents that she liked before the chemo became repugnant to her so I would recommend staying away from food and bath/beauty products. I don't know how much you like to cook, but other friends of mine who have gone through chemo and/or surgery have really enjoyed homemade chicken noodle soup with homemade noodles; it was one of the few things they could eat.

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S.C.

answers from San Francisco on

When my friend had cancer, she couldn't taste very well due to the chemo, so she liked foods with alot of texture. Broccoli, rice crispie treats, etc. Chocolate, being smooth, probably wouldn't be very interesting.

You could also take my friend's book on 4 women's experience with cancer: Nordie's At Noon. It is very good, both for those with cancer, and those who need an "insider's guide" to know more about what their loved one is going through. Here's a link:
http://www.amazon.com/Nordies-Noon-Personal-Stories-Breas...

http://www.nordiesatnoon.com/

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C.N.

answers from Salt Lake City on

G.,
In my neighborhood we have thrown two different parties for women getting ready for chemo. Hats and scarfs are always appreciated, along with a quilt or comforter. Have you considered having a company party?

With my whole heart,
C. TLC (Transition Life Coach)

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T.B.

answers from Denver on

Hi G.
I'm so sorry to hear about your friend!
I think pampering her with someting that makes her feel special and feminine is important!
I'm not sure if you have heard of Bubble Goddess Bath Company, it's an ALL NATURAL bath product company that my sister in law started in Colorado a few years ago. The reason I bring this up is because the first thing your Dr. will tell a patient going through this is usually to change their bath products to all natural ones. There are so many cancer causing agents in over the counter skin care lines now and our skin is the LARGEST organ on our body soaking all of this junk up!
The one product I recommend in particulat is called Bloom Buttermilk Bath. It is an incredibly moisturizing buttermilk bath with essential oils of rose, jasmine, and lavender. It is packaged in a beautiful glass jar topped with rose petals and a rose organza ribbon. We have a few local Oncologyst who give this at the end of thier patients chemo treatment rather than flowers. You can view pictures of all the products at www.bubblegoddessbathco.com
Since these products are all natural they are safe to use throughout chemotherapy.
I hope your friend does well with her surgery and treatment!
If you have any questions or would like to talk more in depth about the products please don't hesitate to call or email me!
Again good luck to your friend and God Bless!

T. B.
Team Leader
Bubble Goddess Bath Co
"Natural Bath Products For Your Inner Goddess"
###-###-####
[email protected]____.com

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A.F.

answers from Denver on

G.,

Having gone through this myself at 30, I have some suggestions. I loved things for my nails and skin. My nails were long and strong throughout my treatments and since I couldn't spend time on my hair I found myself doing my nails a lot. A gift certificate for a manicure/pedicure may be nice but I also liked the fun stickers you can put on your nails yourself (self sticking with a coat of clear polish over them). I think I found them in a drug store of beauty supply store.

Someone gave me some gift certificates to Blockbuster (or maybe a Netflix subscription) which I thought was great. I was a lot less social but when people came over it gave us something to do without going on and on about the cancer.

My suggestion for a book is Not Now I'm Having a No Hair Day - I don't know who wrote it but it's the first thing that made me smile. It's a short funny book that helps you take a step back. You may want to wait until she loses her hair since if she hasn't yet - it may make it harder for her to face.

Finally, the best thing I got from my friends was laughter. It's scary what she's going through but helping her realize that this is something she can get through and continue to live her life at the same time does so much for her spirit and morale. My doctors think I handled the chemo and radiation better because my attitude was so positive. I was lucky enough to have a friend who could tell when I needed to cry and when I needed to be told to get over it. I actually cut ties to another friend who kept feeling sorry for me - it was way to hard to deal with.

Oh yeah, one more piece of advise about the hat - once again wait until she loses her hair (the hardest thing about going through the treatments is losing your hair because that's when it becomes obvious to others that something is wrong). Take your cues from her - I never wore a hat/scarf and was forced to get a wig I never wore either. I wore bandanas and baseball hats and my friends would find fun bandanas in different colors so I could coordinate them with my outfits. When I was done they took them and made the uglies stuffed animal I've ever seen but I still have it!

Now for the good stuff -- I am 8 years out happily married and have a new 12 day old baby. The baby is happy and healthy and even though I can only nurse on one side - it's a very small price to pay.

I think what you're doing is wonderful!! Be there and be strong. Let me know if have any questions you don't want to ask her - every treatment is different but I'd be happy to help in any way.

A.

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J.P.

answers from Provo on

I didn't have cancer, but I did spend time in the hospital (lots and lots of time---days & weeks). I loved magazines. I loved the Oprah Magazine "O"---smart, great articles about books, life, etc. I loved Reader's Digest. The articles are good, well written, and "easy" reads.

I also enjoyed having snacks that tasted sweet, but not too sweet. I liked Lorna Doones, Nutter Butters, and "Bug Bites" which are made by Keebler and are animal crackers covered in a bit of cinamon coating. YUM. All of those are kinda easy to eat and not make you nauseous or headachey.

I loved fuzzy socks to wear on my feet. Costco sells a 3 pack of really soft snuggly socks. Sometimes my circulation wasn't good, so some great socks were wonderful.

I loved good lotion, and sometimes my friends would come and just lotion my hands or my feet (I was pregnant and on bedrest for 3 weeks in the hospital). It was wonderful to have help with my circulation, and the better the lotion, the longer the effects lasted. I could hardly move (much like I was exhausted after chemo), so having someone rub luxurious lotion on my hands and feet when I couldn't do it for myself was heaven.

A couple of good "chick flicks" would be fun with some small bags of kettle corn pop corn (the 100 calorie bags are about all you can eat when you're that ill). I recommend "Fried Green Tomatoes", "Practical Magic", and "Steel Magnolias." They are in the $5 bin, and they are fantastic movies about STRONG women who refuse to GIVE UP.

I also think a card where you told her you would wear a Livestrong bracelet or a Breast Cancer ribbon pin, etc., would show your support of her. When my best friend's mom had breast cancer for the second time, I carried a bright pink "Awareness" bag and wore a double stranded bracelet for an entire year. It reminded me to keep her in my prayers, and it was also a show of strength in both her and in her ability to survive.

A lovely pink "spa" towel, pink soap with a pink loofa in a scent like Japanese Cherry Blossom from Bath & Body Works would be great.

My dear friend had cancer 3 times, and the last time, I gave her some cute hats to wear. Target has a great selection of pink hats, or some cute hats that have flowers, etc. Hats will cover her sensitive skin, and she could lose her hair.

While she is having chemo treatments, she might enjoy having music to listen to, or books on tape. A great book on tape is "Dandelion Wine" by Ray Bradbury. Other options are "Cold Sassy Tree" by Olive Ann Burns and "The Secret Life of Bees" by Sue Monk Kidd.

My prayers go out to your friend. Cancer is an awful demon.

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H.W.

answers from Boise on

Maybe a journal or paper with funky colored pens so she can write letters?

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K.N.

answers from Salt Lake City on

How about a big pink feather boa!!

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M.E.

answers from Denver on

Hi G.. I have been there too unfortunately. But, I can say I am a survivor for 6 yrs. now! A few things that have not been mentioned that were very helpful for me:
A satin pillowcase for when your friend has no more hair. It really made sleeping much more comfortable. Since one usually is nauseated after treatment, food really didn't appeal to me. One thing that helped was drinking cold chocolate Pediasure. Another option would be to buy the Muscle Milk at Costco and keep it cold. It is delicous and full of protein.Homemade bread with butter was also receptive to my taste buds, that were gone. Peppermints are good to suck on too. Bubble bath too.
I hope this helps you with ideas for your friend.

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D.G.

answers from Billings on

Maybe if you called a cancer support group (most treatment centers can give you the name and phone number), someone there will be able to tell you what most patients enjoy. Talk with the receptionist at the treatment center. She should have plenty of recommendations. Good luck. I think your kindness and support will be even more beneficial than some of the meds! D.

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J.R.

answers from Salt Lake City on

Oh, this is so hard. I personally have known 5 people who have gone through breast or another type of cancer recently (a couple currently) and it is such a struggle to stay up-beat. Are you close enough to this person to just spend time with her? It is amazing how lonely you get because you don't really feel well enough (physically or mentally, depending on the day) to get out and about. We have watched TV together, sometimes we just talk or go for walks. Does she enjoy doing things with her hands (knitting/crocheting, hand-sewing, scrap booking, jewelry making)? Maybe you can teach her something like that, or if she already enjoys it get her books with ideas and patterns or things to create with (a yummy yarn to knit/crochet a scarf, for example). It might be a few weeks before she can handle those things, but they will help her with regaining use once she starts to feel like doing something besides resting, and they aren't too. Crossword/Word search puzzles can distract you, too. I like the coloring book idea!! Also, there are books that have questions, like what would you do if, or what is your favorite...? They are fun too. Squeeze balls to help with stress release and keeping those muscles strong, the blanket someone else mentioned....All are great. Also, be careful, some people love the pink stuff, others prefer to remain a bit less conspicuous. Most of all, call her to check in and up-date her, ask how she's feeling, maybe take a treat by, but don't do a one time stop and drop--follow up regularly....Good luck!!

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K.D.

answers from Denver on

A gift card for the pharmacy she uses may be appreciated for some of the meds to counteract the side effects of the chemo. Something else that meant a lot to a friend of mine, was someone gave her a wig. I don't think it was from Locks of Love, but they'd be a good place to start for something like that. She may not loose her hair, but it would be a nice gesture.

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L.H.

answers from Salt Lake City on

Having recovered from surgery, I can tell you what I liked. Lotions, lavender is a great one; very soothing. This also helped me finagle some foot massages:) Coloring books and crayons. Weird I know, but I forgot how much fun it was to color with crayons. Comfortable, but cute pajamas or nightgowns. It's easy to feel frumpy and gross after surgery when you're spending so much time in bed. And a few good girl movies.
You sound like a wonderful friend. I hope things go smoothly for her.

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K.H.

answers from Salt Lake City on

I have given a few baskets full of fun stuff for people who have had surgery. I have put magazines, crossword puzzles, sudoku, books, handheld games (yahtezz, poker games), I have even put coloring books. I have just put a bunch of stuff they could past the time for laying around. I also love to give a stuffed animal they can hold an love on to. They go over really big. You can also put things like lotion, chapstick, gum etc. I hope this helps you out. Good Luck!

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A.H.

answers from Salt Lake City on

I havent read all of the responses, but my mom had breast cancer. The thing I found her comment on the most was how she loved one particular bra because it was more comfortable and wouldnt rub on her sore spots.

You might want to get her a gift certificate or something like that for a place that she might be able to go and get a comfortable bra. Even if she has one already, as I'm sure every female on here will agree, it never hurts to have another nice-and comfortable-bra.

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M.D.

answers from Denver on

I'm so sorry your friend is having to navigate this river. She's lucky to have you.

I created a line of all natural skin care products, made entirely of food grade ingredients. I have several customers who have used our Skin Healer after breast surgery, with remarkable results. Healing time was cut down dramatically and scaring was not nearly what was expected. Even the physicians were amazed.

We could put together a very special gift package for your friend to help her in her recovery.

www.MARImagic.com

Blessings,

M.

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N.B.

answers from Salt Lake City on

Maybe some stylish scarves in addition to the hats. One of my friend's mom's went through chemo when I was young and I remember her wearing scarves over her head at church.

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L.B.

answers from Provo on

G.,

How nice of you!

I went through chemo about a year and one-half ago. Based on my experience, she may have some nausea after the chemo, but that tends to be fairly well controlled. So, treats and goodies should be things that she likes, but that are easily digested. Sugar tends to fuel cancer, so candy and sweet treats may not be as good a choice as some fruits, vegetables, and even such things as some homemade soups or such. She may not feel much like eating, so a good book or a beautiful plant may be a nice thing, too. She will probably lose her hair, so a nice scarf or cap might be appreciated. You can get some good ones through the TLC catalogue put out by the American Cancer Society. And, of course, your friendship will mean more to her than anything else.

Keep up the good work.

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J.O.

answers from Denver on

My best friend had breast cancer last year. Luckily she is now 7 months in remission. The best thing for her was jamba juice gift cards. There is one close to her and she was able to drink those when she was feeling crappy. She also loved having frozen dinners made to stick in her fridge for her family to eat on the nights that she couldn't cook. I personally stayed away from food gifts and did lotions and bath stuff as well as comfy jammas or sweats she could go out in so that she still felt beautiful even after she lost her hair. Hope that helps.

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D.B.

answers from Grand Junction on

Gayle,

Your idea of a basket is great for your friend I work with cancer patients on a daily basis. Some ideas for your basket books, word search books, a special little pillow to hold or even a cute litte stuffed animal something for comfort,music to play in a little portable cd player, little encouragment notes maybe in envelops to open on certain days or one a day or something just keep her spirits up. Good luck with your basket.

D.

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A.G.

answers from Salt Lake City on

Dear G.,
I'm sorry to hear that someone close to you also has to deal with cancer. My 40 year old sister was diagnosed last year with breast cancer, did chemo and radiation, and has it beaten for now. Something she really appreciated that we did for her was gift certificates. We got some for Schwan's and some pizza places close to her, so when she was wiped out, her family still had food. Also, the cancer society (I believe it was) gave her some vouchers for a cleaning company to come in and clean her house for free. Have her check into that. Everyone in our family also donated money for her to buy a wig (very expensive, $700), but she teaches college, and couldn't bear the thought of having to stand up in front of her classes with a bald head. Maybe you could head up a collection, if that was something she was sensitive about. Just having someone to confide in, listen, support, and help her will make all the difference. Best of luck, A.

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C.T.

answers from Salt Lake City on

I have a friend who just went through her 3rd chemo treatment last week, and another friend who is now a 6 year breast cancer survivor. You are very thoughtful to put this basket together...here are a couple of things that I have learned are appreciated:

-a gift card for a Swedish massage
-cute new jammies
-nice lotions (the skin gets very dry and sensitive in chemo and radiation)--I really like the body butter at Bath and Body
-find a fun hat that fits her personality...even if she chooses not to wear a wig, hats are fun and a good way to help her feel less exposed
-ginger products supposedly help with the nausea
-a gift card and a raincheck to her favorite restaurant for when she gets through treatment and feels like she wants to eat there again
-a small pillow to place under her arm as she heals from surgery

These are just a few ideas...good luck and best to your friend. Cancer is scary, fortunately we have come a long way in treatment!

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T.M.

answers from Denver on

What a wonderful friend you are. You should add things to the basket the small things she will need will recovering and when she gets home. She won't want to go to the store to get them, so if you add them to the basket she will already have it.

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J.N.

answers from Billings on

I've never been through it, but I have MS right right now and the M is sooo untrue!

I think you have a good start. I know Chemo makes you nausous so maybe some OTC for that. Peppermint tea, Ginger tea, candied ginger, seabands.

A variety of the books you were talking about, maybe books or cd's on "tape". If thats too much, you could buy the product to listen to it and borrow some from the library (make sure to let her know though!) and you could do the leg work to exchange them.

an easy on the nose purfume or lotion. My Step dad had chem and radiation and my mom said he smelt burnt all the time.

A travel pillow and throw. You are in those chairs for a long time and they keep those places cold!

Maybe a book of "coupons" of things you could do. Make the dinner for that night, do the laundry, spruce the house. See if any other friends would like to get in on it so she knows how big a support system she has.

Gl with your friend, I hope this all works out for the best!!
J.
ps.I hope I have a friend like you if I ever get sick like that!

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A.S.

answers from Salt Lake City on

My MIL has done chemo on and off for the past several years. If your friend is going to loose her hair, you could include a cute hat or scarf. Also, some soothing aroma lotion - everything gets dry and aches in weird places on their skin, and they go through lotion like crazy. And positive soothing music CD also helps when they are too tired to read or watch tv, but need something - or books on CD. Also, you could make some light food. My MIL had her taste buds go out of wack, and she wasn't very hungry, so unless we made her some simple stuff, she just wouldn't eat. I did breads, and soup mixes so she could just add water and have a healthy meal, but light meal. Add in a coupon for a back rub, or whatever, and you will give her the world! Good luck, to you and her!

R.A.

answers from Denver on

Maybe a journal that she can record her thought in, some beauty products like face wash, moisturizer, a photo album that she can put "precious" pictures in to have with her.

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S.F.

answers from Melbourne on

Chap stick and hand lotion are also good ideas.

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A.S.

answers from Denver on

Something with mint in it is really good for the nausea after chemo and just soothing anytime. Bath supplies with mint are wonderful...a nice hot, bubble bath is good for anyone's soul! Try the spearment/ eucalyptus from Bath & Body Works and they also have a Lavender Chamomile, that is soothing, for bedtime...in body gel/bubble bath and lotion. Celestial Seasionings makes a Peppermint Tea, but even better is their Candy Cane Lane Tea (usually only out at Christmas time, but they have it at their warehouse/store,in Gunbarrell/Northern Boulder. Hard candies are also good--esp peppermints and other sweet ones. Of course, chocolate helps with anything, right?

Any act of thoughtfulness will be appreciated. Just knowing that you're thinking of her and are there for her, will help a lot. If she has kids, you could also offer to watch them one day, to give her a break...sleep & rest are good!

Take care,
A.

Here is the website to a company based out of Colorado--they have all natural products that they make fresh--they have some peppermint scents, but the Grapefruit Lily is also nice & light! I love the lotion and the body spray for that scent!
www.ourlemongrassspa.com

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M.P.

answers from Provo on

I recommend things that would add comfort, like comfortable socks with tread or slippers, calming lotion like lavender, body splash or spray, an herbal night mask, a rice bag (to put in freezer or microwave if she needs hot or cold compresses), super soft robe, an entertaining book (to take her mind off the current situation), a picture frame filled with her family or friends, some magazines, comfortable PJ's, a plant, a small scrapbook filled with pictures of you and her and other friends or family and words of encouragement.

Here are just a few ideas. I hope your friend's surgery goes well. I recently lost a loved one to cancer and can understand how painful it is to watch someone struggle with this. I'm sure she will just love whatever you put together, as it's done with love.

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N.R.

answers from Lakeland on

I didn't see the original request, so I'm sorry for this late response. A few years ago, I had an elderly friend who was sick with lymphoma - I sent him home made chicken noodle soup made with spring water, all white chicken, and organic carrots and celery, & no yolk cholesterol noodles. I also sent a gift bag that looked like an old fishing basket, and I put a whole bunch of little things in it, and wrapped each one in different color tissues - like chap stick, gum, life savers, $1 store little silly games, deck of cards etc. and made him a card that said something like "sorry to hear that your under the weather, to brighten your days, one time daily "go fishing" for a little surprise that will hopefully make you smile. "Go fishing" more often if needed. I also sent some magazines. His wife and he called me when the package arrived, and he said that it made his whole week to receive that package. His wife still talks about it today, 15 years later! This year, I have a friend who has been battling stage 3 colon cancer (she's only 33). The chemo and radiation were brutal! Unfortunately, I live 3 hours away now, so the best that I could do was email and call regulary. I also made her a "care package" and filled it with different flavor lip balms, hand cream, instant hand sanitizer, magazines, and Oil of Olay IN SHOWER body lotion. It's the GREATEST for dry skin (radiation will do that for you), she is now totally hooked on it and LOVES that product. Also - during the course of treatment - as her nausea got worse, I sent her "SEA BANDS", they are elastic cuffs that have an accupressure button that you can weare to alleviate nausea. I wore them during my entire pregnancy and it was the only thing that kept me from throwing up 24/7 because I refused to take meds while pregnant. Anyway, she said that the regular checking in, and little things like the Sea Bands & lip balm and Oil of Olay were the greatest - and really made her know how important good friends are. You can buy Sea Bands almost anywhere that motion sickness pills are sold. Good Luck!

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M.G.

answers from New York on

Hi G.,

I just read your "Thank You", and I felt the need to respond. As a mother of three who was battling cancer when my baby was 6 months old, I thank you on behalf of your friend. You are a great friend, and that's what people with cancer treasure most. Speaking from your friend's perspective, I'd say simply be there for her when she needs you. Even now, she may still need a run to the drugstore to get her prescriptions. If she has kids, offer to help with the kids (bathe them, check their homework, etc.), or offer to help with the household chores, or bring dinner to her. Chemo takes it all out of you, so an extra pair of hands is helpful. I have great friends, family and neighbors who chipped in with their time to help transport the kids around, and they sent food for the kids the summer that I was in the hospital. With that assurance, I knew I didn't have to worry about my husband and children, and that I could focus on getting better. Now for tangible items, stylish hats, fuzzy slippers and blankets are fantastic for cancer patients. Every so often, send her a "thinking of you" card. That will certainly lift her spirits, and give her the motivation to keep going. They say that a positive prognosis for any cancer is mainly attributed to attitude. With faith and a good attitude, she can get through this. Couple that with good friends like you, and she'll be okay. Much success to your friend, and Happy Thanksgiving. We all have a lot to be thankful for.

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A.

answers from Salt Lake City on

I have a friend who has been through this and what she found was that 'chemo brain' means that reading is potentially a problem. Keep it light and easy to put down and pick up later for reading material, the same would probably apply to things to do. I made up a gift of silly things, and things that will help in recovery - balls to squeeze and things to work the arm and restore full mobility (assuming they remove lymph nodes in the arm pit that is a very real issue). I think I included bubbles to blow and maybe coloring books and new crayons.

Hard candies are good for nausea, some soft drinks might be good too.

If you want to do meals be sure to get a list of the off limits foods - during chemo it seems like fresh foods could have been a problem, the same applies to flowers. My friend's husband planted rose bushes in the yard since she couldn't have fresh flowers.

If she loses her hair with chemo, and it is likely, you might include hats or scarves. Or for my friend I sent her markers so that people could sign her bare scalp, but not everyone could handle something like that.

The most important things to do are to listen and maybe help pass the time. It is a very emotional time and some relief from it can be good.

Chemo brain seemed to be a very real thing. There were times when she had problems remembering basic stuff - like spelling 'cat'. Just help her understand that it will pass. My friend was in remission for 10 years and has just had a second breast cancer. The side effects of treatment vary and can be hard to deal with if you don't recognize them as just that.

Reading some of the responses reminded me of a couple major things that would be good - because of the surgery car seat belts can be very uncomfortable. At my friend's suggestion I made pillows (about 4"X6" and as much filler as could go in it worked well) of very soft fiber fill and pretty fabric. She loved her's so much I made a lot for the cancer support groups to hand out to new folks before they left the hospital.

The other thing I learned was that exposed scalp is very tender - it has been protected by hair for years and is suddenly unprotected, and hats have seams that can be irritating. Lotions and very soft scarves could help this, and checking hats for rough interiors before selecting one.

There are a lot of good ideas in the responses you are getting. Lets all keep them in mind and pass them along.

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L.G.

answers from Kansas City on

G., I just saw your request today with the "Thank You" and wanted to add something. I have cancer, and finished my chemo in January of this year. It is truly an amazing gift to your friend just to be there for her, and don't forget if she doesn't feel like talking please don't take it personally. All of the ideas you came up with and other suggetions are great! As someone who has been on the receiving end, please don't push food on a cancer/chemo patient. There are days that even the thought of food would make me "run" to the bathroom. Just having fresh cut up food available in the fridge is great - along with cheese and crackers.
At this point your friend has obviously been in chemo for a while now - mine really hurt my mouth (I had lost a lot of skin inside my mouth). If she has the same side effect, Crest Pro-Health rinse really helped. It's alcohol-free so it won't burn, and on days when toothpaste makes you nauseous, it's really nice to be able to have a "fresh" feel in your mouth.

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S.K.

answers from Las Vegas on

go to www.open4opportunity.com and order her a case of juice. It will help her immensely while going thru the chemo. My frieend drank a bottle a day for 21 days and was only sick one day during therapy. It nourishes the cells and helps the inflammation ...call me ###-###-#### or email me and I will get you more info and see if we can help. I will send you some testimonials

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J.H.

answers from Boston on

Hi G.
I did not see your original response. I am new to the group.
Has your friend looked into nutritional supplements? Me company has been able to offer hope to many with cancer and other diseases. By helping your body with good nutrition, it helps to build up the immunity while fighting the disease. Let's face it-we can use all the help we can get at a time like this. I can get your friend in touch with people who have had great results with Reliv while battling breast cancer. I'd be happy to help.
God bless you for being such a caring friend. It's the best gift we can give.
J. Hensas

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S.H.

answers from Washington DC on

I don't have any suggestions. I know that you have taken care of it. I just want to say what you did for your friend was extremely caring and wonderful. My heart goes out to your friend and I do hope that she beats this and recovers quickly. Please send my thoughts and prayers.
S.

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S.T.

answers from Dallas on

I just saw this update and wanted to say good for you! You sound like an awesome friend. I made a fleece/flannel lap robe for a friend going through chemo, and she said she would always remember me for that. It was just a perfect combination of warmth and thickness, and with fuzzy socks, it kept her toasty warm during her chemo. I wish I had thought to add the other nice items you gave your friend to lift my friend's spirits--you are very creative.

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T.E.

answers from Denver on

Thank you so much for your question my sister(33) was just diagnosed on tuesday so this was very helpful

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A.P.

answers from Portland on

I didn't see this idea among the responses. My friend with cancer loves to read, so I made her a member of A.'s Book of the Week Club, and made sure all the books were light (but not silly). Her husband read her the books while she was having a treatment. Among the books I remember were DON'T HAVE YOUR DOG STUFFED by Alan Alda, and GARDEN SPELLS by Sarah Addison Allen. I bought ahead so I could read the books!!

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S.J.

answers from Dayton on

Dear G.,

Sugar free stuff almost always contains nutra-sweet, which is not good for healthy people and very bad for people with problems. Sugar isn't good either as it feeds the cancer. Check out www.dorway.com for more info.

I checked the web site of Dr. Merkle for radio shows but it has be recently renovated and the shows aren't yet available - http://3000health.com Keep checking or call the office and maybe they can e-mail you and your friend the radio show on the lady with breast cancer. It is very interesting as she was treated without radiation or chemo and her tumor marker came down to a good level. The office phone is ###-###-####

They don't know me at the office but several friends have used Dr. Merkle with good results. Just say a net friend gave you the link to the web site.

God Bless,

S.

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J.F.

answers from Richmond on

Dear G.,
I know you asked for help last July and, therefore, may not be looking for help anymore, but I just saw your request for the first time when your 'thank you' was posted today (Nov 27, 2008)and knew I had to respond in case I might help you (or someone else reading what I have to share). If I could help even one person, it would be worth it!
G., do you know that fruits and veggies have now been proven to be the #1 blocker to cancer growth (The American Cancer Society, The American Heart Association, etc.) Our own govt. (since 2005) has said that, if we are going to have a fighting chance of preventing heart disease and cancer, we must, as an adult, eat 7-13 fruit and vegetable servings a day, preferably raw and of the full color spectrum (each color of a fruit or vegetable is a different antioxidant that protects a differnt part of our body's health) each and every day! Yet how many of us do that?
I do have a simple solution: Juice Plus+, 17 fruits and veggies (F/V), juiced, yet with all of the sugars, sodium and gluten removed, air dried at low temperatures so that the enzymes are still intact (so it's like raw F/V), and made into capsules, chewables and gummies (choice of style) so to make eating your fruits and veggies convenient and easy! How cool is that!?!?!
I was introduced to Juice Plus+ by my chiropractor nearly nine years ago. I thought it was just one more product in the marketplace! I had seen them all (or so I thought)! So, I put him off (for three whole months), but he continually asked me to take a look at it. I finally did (only to get him off my back), and then had to go eat humble pie because I realized he was right all along...Juice Plus+ was different!
The difference was that Juice Plus+ has medical-journal published studies specifically on it, now 13 in all, proving that everything said to be in it (all 17 fruits, veggies and grains) were indeed in there, that 100% are bioavailable (all getting absorbed by use of our bodies) and the rest of the studies showed what Juice Plus+ does for our health: five studies show significant heart health-biomarker improvements, two show significant immune health-biomarker improvements and two show cancer-prevention health-biomarker improvements (among other results)!!!
AND...all of the above for about 8-10 less expensive than the cost of produce in the store!!!!
I can think of no better gift than Juice Plus+ for any and every cancer patient (and, honestly, for anyone and everyone for better health! Even CACE (the non-profit Center for the Advancement of Cancer Education)endorses Juice Plus+ for it's cancer population! It's the ONLY nutritional product it has EVER endorsed in it's 30 year history!
If you'd like to learn more, log onto my website, www.jpjenn.com and/or reply back to this letter!
Blessings to you and your coworker! Oh, by the way, you were good not to have given her any treats with sugar in them as cancer cells grow faster when we consume foods with common table sugar in them!!!
J. F.

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