Chemotherapy isn’t fun. In fact, for some people the thought of chemotherapy is scarier than the actual cancer diagnosis. So, we went to the experts (women who have gone through cancer treatment) and asked for their advice. Here are some of their ideas on how you can lessen that burden on your loved one.
First of all, perhaps the greatest thing you can do is to accompany “your” cancer patient to chemotherapy. All of my friends who have battled cancer have stories to tell about driving themselves for treatment when they were really too sick to do it. Plus, chemo can be really boring and having a friend there to love and support them or even just to visit with, makes everything more tolerable.
If you have obligations that prevent you from going, you can offer to be in charge of a “Chemo Calendar”. You can be the go-to person for friends to sign up for a day they can accompany the patient.
But, sometimes even that isn’t possible. My niece lives over 1200 miles away. So, when she was recently diagnosed, I put together a “chemo box” and sent it to her. I wanted her to know that she wasn’t alone even though we live so far apart. It contained the things that my panel of experts recommended.
Here are some of their ideas:
- Hard candy, suckers, gum or mints (for dry mouth and the metallic taste from chemotherapy)
- Magazines, puzzle books, or a fun novel
- Tums, ginger ale, saltines, anti-nausea tea or Lorna Doone shortbread (whatever settles their tummy)
- Hand sanitizer
- Protein bar or other snacks (graham crackers, coconut macaroons and pop tarts were all mentioned)
- Bottle of water or Gatorade
- Cozy blanket
- Stuffed animal (I actually found one that you can freeze or warm for comfort!)
- Soft knit hats or turbans
- Prayer cards
- Lip Balm
- Cooling booties and mitts (to ward off neuropathy, available on Amazon)
Your loved one will have their own preferences, of course. But, this list gives you a good starting point. Sending even one or two items will let your newly diagnosed friend know that she is loved and being prayed for.
I have mentioned my panel of experts in my last two blogs and I’d like to thank them for sharing their wisdom with the rest of us. Helen, Shawn, Monica, Lori, Judy and Amber: You are amazingly generous with your hard-won wisdom. I love you all.
I will end this, as I did my previous blog, with a quote (this time from Judy):
“The most comforting words to me are ‘We’ll get through this.’”
WE’LL get through this.
Letting your loved one know that they’re not in this alone is perhaps the most important thing we can do.