Help with Gift for Friend Going Through Chemo

Updated on June 26, 2010
M.Q. asks from Gallatin, TN
8 answers

I have a friend who will be going through Chemo for breast cancer next month. I would like to send her a care package but I'm not sure what to include. I'm not very familiar with the Chemo process so I don't know exactly what kinds of things she will want/need?? I've been told a snuggly blanket to use during treatment, but it's summer, will that still be necessary? Is it safe to assume no food? And what about an iTunes gift card? Can she listen to music during treatment? What about puzzle/suduko type books? Any help with this matter would be greatly appreciated!! Thank you!!

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answers from Dallas on

My friends and I put together a list of things we could do for another friend . Here are some suggestions:

*get special lollipops for nausea from the chemo
*consider nutrition drinks like ensure for lost appetite from chemo
*make a CD of music she will enjoy
*gets some books on tape
*get an IPOD for her
*send a weekly card of encouragement
*provide meals that can be frozen
*look for books on the American Cancer society website
*find out about cancer support groups in your area and go with her
*send notes with encouraging scripture
*cry with her
*read up on the specific cancer so you have some idea what she is dealing with
*get a DVD rental (like netflix) that you just have to mail back
*give her a roll of quarters for calls or snack machines at the hospital
*give her warm fluffy socks
*give her a journal to write about her feelings
*get her a book for keeping track of medical information. go with her to appts and take notes for her
*give her gift certificates for restaurants with delivery or services like lawn maintenance

Organize a group of friends and do a breast cancer walk or relay in her honor!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I went thru chemo for breast cancer from may may till october. so have been thru it in the summer. yes you want the blanket lol. chemo treatments are usually done either at a hospital or clinic. it is freaking freezing in the rooms. its probably the chemo that makes you feel that but i was always cold. i tunes are great if she has an ipod etc. our clinic always had food on a counter but i never felt like eating anything. the chemo made me really sick. a good book or if they have tv's (our clinic did in each cubicle) a video. nothing to labor intensive either mentally or emotionally cause your already on edge just knowing what your getting done. another good thing you could give her as a gift is a meal for her family the week of chemo. I was so sick after each chemo treatment that I threw up for 2 days. cooking for my family was out of the question. My girlfriends from church made meals for my family those days. does she have kids? take care of her kids if you can. Don't focus so much on while she is getting the treatments as to when she is home the day of the treatments. does she need rides? they give you an anti anxiety med in the iv she may not be able to drive. if your not close enough distance wise then maybe just a gift card for her to order food for the family for that day. your a good friend to think of this for her.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

With certain cancer treatments, fresh fruits and vegetables are out, and even house plants, I don't know if it's due to the chemo knocking out all the bodies defenses or if it's more related to the type of cancer itself. So, if you want to send a bouquet of cheer, do it with balloons or silk flowers.

The blanket (even though it's summer) and puzzle books sound good. If you decide to get her any books or movies, make sure there is not the least hint of depressing topics in them, even if it ends in a very life-affirming way, she could be on too big an emotional roller-coaster between the cancer itself and the treatments.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Memphis on


I hate to hear that your friend is having to endure chemo.I pray that she makes a full recovery. If she is going to be losing hair, I suggest going to and just do a search with the word chemo. They have some adorable hats and scarves to choose from.

Best of Luck and God Bless!


2 moms found this helpful


answers from Indianapolis on

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.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Indianapolis on

It depends on the person. Some people take to Chemo better than others.......she will probably lose her hair, so that's very upsetting....I bought my friend a book called "A Day With Hair is a Good Day", she really liked it.....of course she had no hair at that point........

Food? Well, that too depends on how sick she gets........I would stick to things that you know she likes and maybe won't buy herself......but in the summer sending chocolate is a pain............I know my friend got headaches from game books wouldn't work........

How about this, a basket full of cards to be opened once a day....for a certain amount of about phone cards so she can keep in touch when she feels like things.......maybe a small puzzle, not 500 pieces but one she can do somewhat quickly........

Books might be good, not great big thick ones, but medium size ones that she can read while at the hospital waiting........

Be sure to make most things funny and light...........also you might get her some inspirational books for the day..........little sayings that brighten your day.........Chicken Soup for the Soul of any kind would be good.......and I would say yes to the itunes, if you know she uses that type of thing......

You're a good friend, be sure to keep in touch with her, even if it's just a quick call to say hi, love ya, take care....bye.........

Take care.....

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I know there is a group here in Dallas that knits shawls to wrap women in when they are diagnosed with breast cancer. The hospital can get very i do think a blanket or shawl is a good idea.

What does your friend like? A good novel? A book that shows you how to meditate? Yarn to knit? Needlepoint? Magazines.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Fayetteville on

The best gift I got was a bouquet of cookies! They are cookies arranged like flowers and they are Delicious! And they are made for all kinds of reasons and anything can be put on them, like get well soon, or thinking of u etc! They are so much better then flowers as flowers die and at least this way she can at least eat these and enjoy them and put a smile on your friends face. Oh and yes she can have food during chemo, my father in law went thru chemo and still ate, he didn't eat as much but still ate! Also during chemo he listened to his Ipod and read a book and played my boys DS while going thru chemo treatments, so she can basically read, listen to music or play games etc...Good Luck to your friend and I pray she has a quick recovery!

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