My heart goes out to everyone affected with cancer. It's a hard road if you are diagnosed and one where you can feel like you are alone.
I was diagnosed with cancer over 10 years ago. My saga seems so far behind me now, but the memory of it, despite the haziness of the drugs, is still fresh. Just this past spring, I lost my dad to cancer. It was so sudden and fast that I had no time to deal with the emotions that I had had the time to deal while learning of my own cancer.
Photo by Melissa Kaseman
He traveled half way across the country to be with me during my last treatment and I still remember his happiness when I was finally done. I was lucky in that I caught my disease early and I regret that I couldn't be that hypochondriac for him that landed me in the doctors office so early for myself.
How to Alleviate the Side Effects of Cancer Treatment
Treatment, for those of us "lucky" enough to have it, reeks havoc on the body. A few awesome perks from just the chemo alone include a loss of appetite, isolation, anxiety, nausea, phantom pains, dry and painful skin that is highly sensitive to light, hair loss, night sweats, and my favorite "chemo-brain". Chemo brain or chemo fog really is no joke.
Add on radiation which can cause more fatigue, skin issues, nerve damage and in my case, shortness of breath.
The Best Gifts for Cancer Patients with Side Effects
I've put together a few gift boxes for people battling cancer. The items in these boxes comprise the little perks that can change a person's comfort level and make life a little bit better. I have done a lot of research, not to mention garnering ideas from my own experience, of products that people found helpful during Chemo and Radiation. The gifts are made up of quality products that not everyone has the time or money to buy for themselves, which makes them a perfect gift of comfort for someone going through something so horrible.
Body Butter for Cancer
First up, body butter from Earth tu Face. Sure, you can get over the counter lotion, but this is a gift worth splurging on. It is really nourishing and works for those with sensitive skin from Chemo.
Beanies, Scarves and Hats for Hair Loss due to cancer
I wore a hat or scarf every day once I lost my hair. Not everyone will loose their hair, but it should be mentioned that you should be prepared for when it does. We picked a hat from Boody. It's made of super soft bamboo and good for a man or a woman. We also have another box available: To Be Loved. If you want to give someone a little bit more style and assortment to their wardrobe, then the block-printed scarf in this box will be perfect. You can buy that right here: To Be Loved.
Ginger for Nausea and Chemotheraphy Patients
The patient may never experience nausea, but ginger is great for helping with nausea due to chemo. If they are doing chemo though, a must have is having candy on hand when actually getting treatment. The drugs taste horrible and metallic. And yes, you can taste them injected into you. Puttng the taste at bay with our Mango Ginger Chews is just perfect.
Calming the Anxiety of Cancer and Treatment
This Peace Elixir is actually something I use now for anxiety and imagine it may have done me some good back in the day. Scents can have positive effects on mood, stress reduction, sleep enhancement, and physical and cognitive performance. It's be proven and this homeopathic Elixir can definitely calm down the anxiety that you may have going into chemo, or help with rest when you are restless.
Light Sensitivity and Sleepless Nights from Chemo Treatment
Different combinations of drugs can cause Chemo patients eyes to become sensitive to light, hence something to darken the room and make them rest better. This eye mask is absolutely a necessity in my house, even years after treatment.
Five Top Gifts For People Going Through Cancer Treatment
I couldn't include everything in my gift boxes. I would have loved to, but I'll give you the top 5 gift ideas that people just don't know they need or you might not think of until you get in this situation + a bonus tip.
Photo by Melissa Kaseman
Bonus first: love, support and caring. Ok, you have the bonus, now the rest of the 5 top gift ideas kind of thrives off of this, so get ready.
Drive them to the treatment center and sit with them during. This is a commitment. It can be hours of them sitting and hours of you sitting. But it's a priceless gesture. I was lucky, that almost every single session, I had someone take time to go with me. It is a simple thing, but can mean everything. Knowing someone is near, even if you don't feel like talking, is beyond words. I had people read to me because I couldn't keep my eyes open, play games, get me ice chips or water or buy more candy. One time, my girlfriend took us to a hotel and we enjoyed a girls weekend out of it.
2. Food Delivery
I had the type of cancer that did not make me too nauseous every week, luckily. So, all of our friends signed up to bring my husband and I food once a week for the 12 weeks I was in chemo. I could even tell them the day before what I was feeling like and whether or not I felt like visitors. Depending on how things were, I would ask them to just leave the food and I wouldn't have to talk (if I didn't feel like it). Another route is to sign them up for Sun Basket or Hello Fresh: a food delivery where they can pick their own food out.
3. Movies or Music Service
Nowadays we get so many movies or shows for free. Or people are signed up for it already. Well, hey, if they aren't, get it for them. get them a 3 month subscription to HBO Now, or Disney, or Netflix, Pandora for music, or Audible so they can listen to books. Whatever they enjoy. They need to rest and take care of their bodies. This isn't a time to run a marathon or be productive.
4. Cleaning Service
We can certainly forget that people who are going through treatment might not have the energy to do the things that they would normally be able to do, some basic necessities that would usually make them feel happy and grounded. Having a cleaning service come in to do some light or heavy cleaning once a week, may keep them in great spirits.
5. Cookbooks and Treatment Journals
Ok two different things, but both books, right? I didn't have the energy to cook a lot, but I when I did having some cookbooks that reference quality, whole organic foods, good for immunity were my favorite. Smoothies, shakes, or a healthy soup all just about made my day. Treatment Journals are just a great resource to help you and your caregiver adjust to the schedules, fasting that may need to happen, Dr's appointments and medication times.
How to Tie a Rectangular Head Scarf in 3 Steps
Bestowe has a great option for a beautiful scarf that can easily be used as a head cover instead of a beanie. If you loose your hair or don't, this technique is easy enough to do and has a style like no other. Check out our gift with this gorgeous block-printed scarf in it: To Be Loved.
1. Step One
Fold scarf in half lengthways, wrap around head.
2. Step Two
Wrap scarf in back of head and pull two ends to both sides of your head in front
3. Step Three
Cross ends in front and wrap ends to the base of the back of your head, then tie.