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Care package

Libbois Member Posts: 1

I’m looking to make a special care package for a friend with breast cancer starting chemo. For those of you who have gone through this, if you got a care package and knowing what you know about chemo treatments, what would you have liked? I’m looking for all kinds of things from books, spa, aromatherapy, wellness, from utilitarian to down right splurge worthy. Please give me your thoughts and suggestions. Thanks for helping me make my friend feel loved and cared for during this time


  • moth
    moth Member Posts: 3,293

    to be safe go unscented with everything. A lot of smells, perfumes and aromatherapy made me very nauseous when I was on chemo in 2018. Really depends on the chemo and how the person responds. Unscented body washes and lotions. My skin got very dry.
    If she will lose her hair (which again depends on the chemo), soft seamless caps for night time are good & since they're for night time it doesn't matter so much whether someone really likes them or they match their outfits, kwim?

    this thread might have some ideas that you could pick from

    I really like having jammies/loungewear that is decent enough to have someone visit or to even walk out the door for a walk in. There are days I didn't feel like dressing and being able to just slip on shoes & a jacket and walk out is nice. Getting changed would have used up valuable energy. So comfy nice clothes you can wear to bed or jammies you can wear out. The line for me is very blurry lol. I like soft stretchy cozy stuff all the time.

    Grocery store cards; fast food cards or just cards for a food delivery app. When cravings hit, it's nice to just be able to get what you want right now.

    Audible subscription.

    Netflix, streaming etc subscription. Supplies for whatever hobby they enjoy.

  • mountainmia
    mountainmia Member Posts: 857

    moth has great comments there. I also vote AGAINST smelly things. Scented candles, oils, etc. I don't like them, anyway, but they really bothered me during chemo (and for months after.) I also second the idea of nice pajamas. Most of us don't treat ourselves to something like that often enough, so chances are her current supplies aren't fresh. Please check the seams, to see that they are smooth and soft. My skin tore so easily during my treatment.

    If she wears earrings, maybe a special pair, maybe a bit bolder than she would usually wear. If she loses her hair, the earrings are a different way to decorate her face! If she has a favorite brand of cosmetics, a gift card for them.

    The food ideas are good. Some people have a lot of help with that. I didn't, as my husband and I were able to take care of meals ourselves. BUT it would have been a great treat to have a couple of gift cards from favorite local restaurants. We would have been more likely to treat ourselves. That could be especially helpful this year, as she probably won't be going out to dinner often, with the covid closures.

  • ShetlandPony
    ShetlandPony Member Posts: 3,063

    A silk pillowcase for poor tender head during hair loss, a black silk eye mask for napping in the chemo chair, funny DVDs, and effortless lighter-than-usual reading.

    One of my friends had a brilliant idea. She gave me the cookbook The Cancer Fighting Kitchen by Rebecca Katz, and asked me to mark which recipes I would like her to make. That was awesome.

  • tmh0921
    tmh0921 Member Posts: 518

    I would also recommend scent free items. During my first diagnosis I really loved the scented bubble baths, but once I got through treatment I found that those scents triggered anxiety. My psychiatrist says it's PTSD, my brain now associates those smells to cancer ☹️

    My friends gave me a gift basket that they filled with:

    • Gift cards to restaurants so I didn't have to cook for my family
    • Amazon gift card so I could buy ebooks for my tablet or other things I needed so I could have it delivered
    • Soft beanie caps
    • Soft anti-slip socks
    • Coloring books and pencils
    • Sour candies
    • Dr Pepper - one of the few things that still tasted good during chemo

    I also got a nice tote bag from a friend that I used as my chemo bag, I got a soft throw blanket from my boss, and my BFFs parents sent me a box of silly things that made me laugh like a nerf gun to “keep my husband in line” 🤣, some little easy crafts, etc

  • Susiemommy
    Susiemommy Member Posts: 46

    All of the suggestions so far are great - everyone sounds like an expert compared to me, but Imma throw my 2 cents in there anyway. Again, everything depends on the type of chemo she's getting because they have different side effects.

    If she's going to lose her hair: Scarves, bandanas, hats, etc... you can never have too many! Offer to shave her head when the time comes or find out if salons in the area have a program for this.

    If treatment might cause neuropathy in the hands and feet: Cushy house shoes - maybe the kind with memory foam. Have to baby those feet. Cotton gloves to wear under icing gloves...maybe also get the icing gloves/socks; some treatment centers provide them, some don't. I personally also slather hands and feet with organic, unfiltered coconut oil. This, of course, has a scent, but I have not had issues with that. Fingers crossed!

    A professional house cleaning - maybe even a deep clean.

    A pretty date book/organizer - I have look at screens often enough, and it's nice to have something to write appointments down in and maybe even write a line or two during treatment.

    New music - this would depend on her preference of playing/streaming device. I like CDs still - I think I'm the only one. Perhaps an apple card or the like for her choice, or just gift her an album if you know her username on whatever platform.

    But, really, just let her know you're there and thinking about her. Drop a little note in the mail, send a text, or even call. Just knowing people are out there pulling for you is invaluable.