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Show ALL Forums  > Off Topic  > Cancer diagnosis, thinking of you basket OK?      Home login  
Joined: 6/25/2006
Msg: 1
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Cancer diagnosis, thinking of you basket OK?Page 1 of 1    
The wife of one of my husbands co workers has been diagnosed with breast cancer, she is a lovely woman and was very supportive to us when my husband had his own health scare and was hospitalized. She lives 6 hours away and has no immediate family in the area and obviously visiting isnt an option. I dont like the idea flowers as they seem a little too trite and impersonal. I thought about those baskets of the tulips bulbs that are just starting to sprout and grow to make you think of spring but it is too early for them here.

I was thinking about sending her a basket of items that may make her recovery time after the upcoming treatments a little more bearable. Things like fuzzy warm socks, gourmet hot chocolate packages, nice hand cream, aroma therapy things that just add a little bit of luxury to your day. Nothing cutesy, just those things that may help a little in a rough time.

Any feedback would be appreciated as well as suggestions for things to send her would be wonderful.
Joined: 2/12/2010
Msg: 2
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Cancer diagnosis, thinking of you basket OK?
Posted: 2/3/2012 1:28:59 PM
if she will be doing chemo, send her a gift certificate to jc pennys or sears to buy hats....
if she will be getting mastectomy too, she can also use the gift certicate for special bras and binders they sell online.
Warm socks are ok but best to let her pick them, so a gift certificate is a better idea. Hot chocolate not a good idea, sugar feeds cancer and besides it will most likely taste bad if she will be doing chemo.
Hand cream, not a good idea, most smells will nausete someone in chemo... so the scents are maybe not going to be good and you don't know what lotion she will be using.
If she is getting radiation certain lotions not allowed.

you want to give her luxury, give her a gift certificate for a store she can shop online and have stuff sent to her home... perhaps amazon. com

I am a breast cancer survior who had chemo, radiation, mastectomy

Perhaps for her something more meaningful will be books on hope and coping... so a gift certifiate is right again.
She may prefer relaxation vids, nutitional supplements, all sold on amazon and they will mail it directly to her home as shopping is not going to be on her priority list for awhile.
Sugary sweets, like hot choc a NO NO. Cancer loves sugar.

certain lotions have antioxidants which can interfere with radiation or even cause more injury to the skin.. so bad idea on any lotion.

aromatherapy BAD idea as she will be nauseated most of the time if she is doing chemo. Although you mean well, your ideas show you do not know anyone persoanlly who has gone through this.
You should not buy any gifts, but send gift certificate in my opinion, as your ideas will not work with cancer treatment.

basket of tulip bulbs> hell no......... she will be too tired to even shower herself let alone care for a plant.

My best friend for ahile was my soft hat... to cover my bald head. I got it at walgreens for about 10 dollars and wore it day and night until it fell apart.. or about 4 months
Joined: 9/17/2005
Msg: 3
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Cancer diagnosis, thinking of you basket OK?
Posted: 2/3/2012 2:17:26 PM
I am someone who has experienced cancer and I am currently in remission. Please do not take my suggestions as criticisms but rather advice coming from someone who has experienced the journey into cancer, chemo and the road to recovery/remission.

Please, please do not give a cancer patient scented items. While some patients can tolerate the smells and/or scents many others cannot. In the chemo unit at my cancer centre, they have signs posted asking people not to wear perfume or scented antiperspirant on the chemo unit. I know that when I was very sick, I would gag and vomit if I caught a whiff of an ordinary smell such as fresh coffee brewing or someone's perfume or fresh flowers or even a bag of McDonalds burgers and fries.

On my cancer unit, there was a volunteer who came in and gave manicures and pedicures to the cancer patients. I was the recipient of these treatments for several weeks and it gave me a real boost of positivity just when I needed it. Perhaps a gift certificate for a mani/pedi or a massage might be just the thing to boost a cancer patient's spirits. Another thing that I appreciated receiving was magazines and crossword puzzles to occupy my time.

Chemo caps - those were knit or crocheted by volunteers and donated to my cancer centre. They were put into baskets where the cancer patient was free to choose whichever took his/her fancy. If you knit or crochet, perhaps you could make a selection of caps for her. Or perhaps you could offer to pay a part or all of a synthetic wig for her. (Human hair wigs tend to be expensive.)

Juices - I don't normally drink juice but I was going through gallons and gallons of apple juice. I had friends that made sure I always had a supply of juices because that was about all I could ingest. Mild herbal teas were another beverage that I was able to tolerate.

As far as being nauseated by chemo, I went through 2.5 years of chemo and not once was I nauseated by the chemo. It depends on what type of cancer you have and the drug used to treat it. I do undertstand that the chemo drugs used to treat breast cancer do cause horrible nausea but my chemo drugs for lymphoma did not.

I wish every success for your friend in her journey through cancer.
 Lint Spotter
Joined: 8/27/2009
Msg: 4
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Cancer diagnosis, thinking of you basket OK?
Posted: 2/3/2012 2:22:11 PM
When a wonderful friend of mine was diagnosed with cancer, I made her a dozen different kinds of home made jam when I found out that it was one of the few foods that she could retain after her therapy sessions. I also got her cards for 30 days, and inside each card was an inspirational poem, a lottery scratch ticket and a penny to use to scratch. Silly little things, but they helped to improve her mood when she was feeling down.

Later on in her illness, I got her a silk dressing gown and a 'sounds of the sea' disk to soothe her to sleep... it was so difficult for her to get comfortable so anything I saw that I thought might help, I picked up for her.

My final gifts to her was a quilt that I'd made especially for her, a handwriting analysis and a psychic... all things that I know helped to make her feel better in her last days.
Joined: 5/24/2009
Msg: 5
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Cancer diagnosis, thinking of you basket OK?
Posted: 2/3/2012 2:53:43 PM
I don't have experience with cancer, but I do have experience with hair loss, and I was also going to suggest a wig, because my own quality of life and happiness has been so positively affected by them recently.

If you want to email me, I'll be happy to point you in the right direction regarding websites and brands.
Joined: 2/12/2010
Msg: 6
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Cancer diagnosis, thinking of you basket OK?
Posted: 2/3/2012 3:11:38 PM
Something very nice during my treatment was friends sending cards. I did not want to see anyone... and it was a nice way for them to say hello and let me know they were thinking of me. I got cards in the mail weekly, thinking of you type cards, funny cards... inspirational cards, often from the same few people. Was nice to get in the mailbox other than bills, which pile up so quickly, makes your head spin.

I also like to read about my cancer, bought lots of books, most from online to learn about what I had, amazon sells all those books and cheap too. Best part is they mail them right to you, no going out.... you get to stay home and rest. There are like 8 or 10 types of breast cancer, all different.
Worst gift ever were dvd and CD's of nature sounds... and waterfalls. Not interesting when you feel so bad. Also bad were candles... ugh, the smell made me feel sicker than I already did.
I sure did love my ultra soft hat. I wore it out.
Joined: 1/17/2007
Msg: 7
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Cancer diagnosis, thinking of you basket OK?
Posted: 2/3/2012 3:28:16 PM
I don't know if this would be appropriate for your friend or not, but when my mother went through her breast cancer chemo a trick she used to keep her spirits up was to get a book on tape she really liked that she only listened to while going to and from chemo sessions.

That way instead of just dreading the next chemo session she had something positive associated with it to look forward to.

I thought that was pretty clever, and it certainly helped a lot.
Joined: 6/14/2011
Msg: 8
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Cancer diagnosis, thinking of you basket OK?
Posted: 2/3/2012 9:21:12 PM
One of the things that my husband loved was a pair of really soft sock-like slippers that had little gel pads inside that you could heat in the microwave. The other was a beanbag that could be heated in the microwave. Chemo made him feel very cold, and these items were easy to carry to and from the hospital as well as use at home.

Hard for you to send popsicles for right after chemo to help with the metallic taste in her mouth, but we found that a selection of hard candies really helped with this. He could choose something that didn't make his stomach go off, and they were easy to pack around.

Really soft, one-size bathrobe, machine washable...SO nice to cozy into, and easy to slip on/off.

I think you're getting some great suggestions here, and it's so nice that you're being so thoughtful. Kindness goes such a long way!

Joined: 6/25/2006
Msg: 9
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Cancer diagnosis, thinking of you basket OK?
Posted: 2/4/2012 5:49:45 AM

I am a little surprised at the level of animosity by at least one respondent to this thread. You are correct, I do not know anyone who has gone through this, you say it like somehow this is a failing on my part. I am very fortunate to not have this be part of my life so far, but I have no doubt this will change.

I appreciate those that posted in the spirit that I hoped they would. I want to support this woman but distance makes that a little difficult as well as the fact that I do not know her very well. I will rethink this.
 Molly Maude
Joined: 9/11/2008
Msg: 10
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Cancer diagnosis, thinking of you basket OK?
Posted: 2/4/2012 1:01:26 PM
if you don't know ... you don't know ... no faults ...

when I first read your initial comments, I was thinking "what lovely ideas!" especially the bulbs idea ... and the fuzzy socks ...

but then I read real cancer survivors' thoughts ... surprise!

Allison, my step-daughter, just went thru a cancer experience that started over a year ago and which included a lumpectomy, all the radio and chemo therapies and even a hysterectomy ... the only things she wanted from me were my e-mails and warm fuzzy hats ... she rarely expressed anything else ... I wasn't in a position to do much more than write e-mails ... I called a couple of times but she was too ill to come to the phone ... her father was fortunately able to go stay with her in Simi Valley near Los Angeles ... where he and her step-sister took care of her thru this experience ...

thank GOD, she's in remission now ... she came to visit me a couple of weeks ago ... her hair is growing back in silvery color instead of its original red! and she is, this weekend, moving to another house in Oregon where she and her daughter can live with her brother as she continues in her path toward good health ...

but ... I am surprised that more of us DON'T know what NOT to send cancer patients ... why don't we know? why isn't that information made more public? strange the no scents thing isn't more commonly known ... I would have thought hyacinth bulbs would be wonderful ... what a surprise ...

Joined: 10/30/2010
Msg: 11
Cancer diagnosis, thinking of you basket OK?
Posted: 2/4/2012 4:19:30 PM
Maybe don't add a pack of cigarettes to the basket. Could send the wrong message.
Show ALL Forums  > Off Topic  > Cancer diagnosis, thinking of you basket OK?