5 Gifts for Breast Cancer Patients
Someone you know and love has been diagnosed with breast cancer, is undergoing treatment, or perhaps just finished treatment. How can you show them you care? Like other illnesses, there are some tried and true ways of helping and showing you’re thinking of them. However, cancer is unique in that its medical treatment can often cause severe side effects that make normal life especially difficult. It’s important to consider this when giving gifts to a breast cancer patient.
Here are 5 gift ideas for breast cancer patients:
1. Have Car, Will Help
Whether it’s driving them to their appointments or picking up their prescriptions, you may be surprised at how a simple offer of your time and your wheels can make a huge difference in their day. Cancer treatments can be especially draining on the body, and not having to do the driving can help the cancer patient tremendously. If you are especially close to the person, you may even offer to come into the appointments as an extra set of ears who cantake notes on treatments and medications that the cancer patient can reference once they get back home. If you’ve ever tried to pay attention to complicated information while feeling poorly, you will understand why this would be helpful.
2. Do the Little Things
Another way to make a gift of your time is to help with small chores around the cancer patient’s home. Perhaps there is a big storm coming, and you’ve noticed their gutters need to be cleaned out. Maybe they have pets that need tending, and you are free to give walks on certain days. If the patient is a parent, why not offer to take the kids off their hands for a few hours, drive them to or pick them up from school or an appointment, or just do something simple like going grocery shopping or to a movie with them. Keeping a normal routine can help reduce the impact of cancer on the whole family.
3. Feed Them, But In the Way They Choose
A standard way to help is to bring cooked meals to a sick person; while these meals traditionally were heavy casseroles with the expectation of a visit and a thank you note, remember that cancer treatment can leave a person feeling fine one day, and horrible the next. Keep that in mind and be flexible when you set up your day to drop off a meal; call or text them ahead of time to make sure they are still up for it, and to ensure that what you’re planning to cook sounds good to them. Know that chemotherapy can be especially hard on a person’s mouth, even affecting the taste buds, so the person may not be in the mood for certain foods.
Another possible solution is simply grocery shopping for the patient. Find out ahead of time what they like to snack on or eat for quick meals, and buy a good supply your next time at the store. Set a time to drop the items off, and let the person know that you don’t expect to see them or to receive a thank you note. Drop the items off on the porch, send them a text to alert them, and know you are helping!
4. Be There for Conversation
On days when he or she is up to it, the cancer patient may appreciate a good visit with a friend. Try to remain as open and neutral as possible, allowing them to feel however they choose about their health, without your judgment. Cancer can create complex emotions, even when treatment is “over,” so simply being there for your friend without any expectations, can go a long way in helping a person not feel alone. In addition, handwritten notes or emails checking in are impactful and an easy way to show you care. Remember that many people will want to “help” the patient at the beginning of treatment, but the numbers quickly diminish over time; remember the patient will still need and appreciate your love and friendship months later, and even when treatment is complete.
5. Keep It Light and Upbeat
Keeping the personality of your friend in mind, consider ways to add a little fun to their days. Perhaps they could use a “hair cutting party” when the time comes for hair loss, or even little surprise gift baskets of silly and fun items. Maybe they like to be pampered with chocolates or quick-to-read novels; pick up a special treat just because and brighten their day. If they are undergoing treatment, they might enjoy a gift basket filled with useful items, like warm socks, teas and ginger for nausea, mouthwash and lozenges that help manage mouth sores and chemo burn/thrush, or a soft sleep cap or pillowcase for hair loss. You can find additional cancer-specific items at sites like CureDiva.com that also offer attractive hospital gowns, soft robes specific to medical treatment (compatible with drains and cords), or fashionable head wraps.
Above all, remember that your actions and care really do make a difference, even if they seem simple to you and the patient can’t express their gratitude at the time. If you give with a kind heart and true motivations, your actions will impact the cancer patient’s life and possibly even help them recover sooner – or at least make a hard time a little easier.