I love gift giving. Well, scratch that…I love being thoughtful and making people happy—it’s really not about the gift at all. That being said, I hope no one ever has to give a gift like this, ever.
If you told me that by the time I was 30 I would know 3 people (who are younger than me) who were diagnosed with breast cancer, I would tell you that you were crazy. I guess I’m the crazy one.
I just went to grab some bubble tea and chat with one of my friends who has breast cancer. She’s in amazing spirits and keeps close tabs of her journey on Facebook, so I know how she’s doing even though I don’t see her everyday (we used to work together). I snagged some ginger sodas at a local store and immediately thought of my friend and her severe nausea. She was very appreciative for the soda and we got to chatting about how she was feeling. I immediately thought of a couple of nice things that could be made into a gift basket to help with the things she was dealing with. Anything to brighten someone’s day, right?
So again, I hope you never, ever have to put something like this together, but if you do…here are some suggestions:
Ginger Lollipops – This is a great gift that naturally helps alleviate nausea. Quite a few of my friends who have been through chemo say hard candy is a gem. Bonus: these are organic and if you over-purchase they are always handy for a pregnant friend or anyone in your house with a tummy ache. Caramelized Ginger Lollipops via PopOrganic.
Aloe Infused Socks – Hospitals can be drafty and when you are receiving chemo you want to be comfy! Additionally, many rounds of chemo can dry your skin out. Dry, cracking feet sound painful to me—so why not skip it! Winter Aloe Infused socks from Bath and Bodyworks.
Games For Two – Hopefully, whether it’s you, a family member, or a friend, someone is there to hang out during chemo. It’s a long process and passing the time with fun things is better than sitting there. Again, depending on the medications applied in addition to chemo (steroids and allergy meds to name a few), games might be out and restful quiet moments might be in, but it really just depends on the person. Also, who doesn’t love Uno!? Find Uno and more two-person games on Amazon.
Lotion – It’s winter and that means dry skin as it is, but chemo adds to this. When I was at lunch the other day my friend’s hands were so dry and she was wanting some lotion stat! I really recommend Philosophy’s Amazing Grace because it’s mildly fragrant without being overwhelming, strong scents are no good for anyone with a weak stomach. Also, I just love Philosophy’s skin care products. I highly recommend them! Find anything Philosophy at your local Sephora or sephora.com.
Aloe – After a coworker of mine went through chemo and radiation, she told me that her skin actually burned. I usually have lotion with aloe at work, but didn’t this particular time. Needless to say, this is always a good option to throw in there. Try to purchase 100% aloe vera and while you’re out snag some aloe juice. It’s delicious and wonderful for you! You can purchase aloe at any local hodgepodge store.
Last, but not least and most importantly…
Yourself! – Think about how you would feel if you were faced with a scary diagnosis. Now magnify it by 100, because you really have no idea unless you’ve been through it. I, for one, would totally loose my sh*t. I would need my friends and family to be there to be positive and occupy my time with really happy things, because thinking about the alternative isn’t an option. Don’t be afraid, offer to go to chemo, play games, compliment your friend on the perfect shape of her bald, beautiful head.
Most importantly, don’t make it about yourself and don’t let it scare you away. People feel awkward about emotions and need to talk things out. Understandable, but don’t talk to your friend about how you need to do a better job remembering your monthly breast exam, about how you need to make a gyno appointment immediately, or tell them about the one time you found what you thought was a lump, but it tuned out to be nothing. That is making their diagnosis about YOU…and let’s face it, we live in a world where we’re all a little too focused on ourselves anyways. I know a few people like this, entirely focused on how things effect them and just generally self-important and really good at making everything about them. It’s all I can do to grin and bare being around them without wanting to scream, so imagine how someone who is battling cancer feels!
So, turn on the cheesiest music you can find and moonwalk past your friend’s office, start a countdown to their last chemo appointment, hide Hershey kisses in their office/room, anything to make someone’s day a little brighter—and yes, I have done all of these things listed above. Worth the embarrassment of everyone in my office seeing my horrible dance moves? Totally. ❤
Also, if your friend is facing a difficult diagnosis, it is always a great idea to learn more about it. This by no means makes you an expert and you should not be giving advice, but just understanding what someone is up against, no matter how scary, is always a good idea!