I have been asked so many times, by friends and family, what they can buy for people going through a cancer diagnosis.
First and foremost, I would always say, your time, patience and love, but you can’t wrap that up with funky wrapping paper and leave on a doorstep with a card, and sometimes just the action of handing over a surprise in a pretty bag, is enough to bring a big smile and feelings of gratitude, importance and happiness.
For friends and family, it can be really tough watching someone they love going through a diagnosis and treatment but to have a list of practical, useful and recommended, as well as thoughtful gift ideas, can be a real comfort to them, helping them to feel a little more useful, pro active and positive.
Below is a list I often send to anyone who asks for inspiration. I will often make a little First Aid/Cancer Survival kit for friends at the beginning of their treatment with face wipes, healthy snacks, straws, lavender oil, arnica and a magazine for any hospital stays or periods of convalescence. It doesn’t need to be anything snazzy, just a reused paper bag with a little ribbon is enough. I would then, if they lived near by, leave a little something on their doorstep every chemo session, or beginning of a new week of radiotherapy, scan days or times when they had important appointments. It could be anything from a bag of chocolate balls to a simple card.
Any of the below ideas will bring a smile and a sense of spoiling;
1. The website Beauty Despite Cancer has an amazing range of beauty products specifically for patients to help with itchy bald heads, sore dry chapped hands and skin etc etc. They have published a book which is all about recognising yourself through treatment; surgery, radio and chemo and hair loss and would make a lovely pressie for a close friend going through it who might want a little resource to have to hand.
The website has amazing products specifically for people going through cancer treatment and the itchy skin oil is amazing for a bald head or just anywhere that may become irritated. Chemo really dries out the skin so the hand and nail balm could be useful too;
2. An Itunes voucher (from any supermarket, so they can download audio books or movies etc)
3. A good book. A trilogy is always a good idea!
4. A lovely cashmere beanie hat (if they have lost hair) or a lovely poncho in a bright lovely colour. Birds Of Paradise have some lovely ones on line and really useful for pulling on and off with hot flushes/hormonal temperature changes.
5. Green and Black chocolate (you can get the mini ones in a set)
6. Worthers Original toffee (you get a horrid taste in your mouth sometimes and these are genius!)
7. Ginger tea bags (really helps with any nausea) Pukka do some brilliant tea’s and their boxes are gorgeous too!
8. Lavender oil – always!!
9. A really good website for cards that say just the right thing and other useful gift ideas is; http://www.notanotherbunchofflowers.com
10. A nice pair of slippers or cosy socks! Always a winner and something you can go to town with!
11. A note book and nice pen (if they like writing or want to keep a journal)
12. A voucher for some reflexology or indian head massage or just a manicure? Always such a treat and some pampering always works.
13. A lavender heat pack (that you can pop in the microwave and cuddle up with)
14. A little teapot and matching mug/cup with a packet of biccies.
15. An iPad holder, very useful for watching tablets in bed! https://www.notanotherbunchofflowers.com/collections/surgery-get-well-gifts/products/coz-e-reader-huggable-tablet-stand-blue-denim
16. Organic Rosehip oil is great for any scaring and nourishing dry or sore skin. Available on Amazon.
17. A candle (you can never go wrong)
18. A good pair of ear phones
19. Milk thistle and acidophilus are vital for supporting gut health as the treatment and surgery drugs can play havoc with our tums. Bio health are one of the most reliable brands.
20. There are some lovely cookbooks that can be useful too;
Nourish & Flourish, recipes and nutrition to challenge cancer by Samantha Ford
The Happy Kitchen by Rachel Kelly
The Cancer Fighting Kitchen by Rebecca Katz
21. An eye mask
22. A 1:1 yoga voucher for when they feel stronger
23. Box Of Hugs is also a brilliant website with some lovely collections that can be ordered and sent straight to them.
24. DoTerra are fabulous healing essential oils. Ty Bollinger suggests Frankincense, Myrrh, Tumeric and Peppermint in addition to Lavender as excellent cancer fighting oils. They can be dropped in the bath, humidifiers, on a tissue, rubbed in the palms of hands or on the pillow at night to help sleep.
25. A nutribullet or simple blender for smoothies, soups and dips.
26. Seedlip (as a non alcoholic alternative to Gin and full of botanicals!)
27. A magazine subscription (Breathe is a brilliant one)
28. Mouth wash, to help teeth hygiene and help with any horrid tasting drugs
29. A letter box flower delivery subscription.
30. A cuddly toy (well why not?!)
I will update and revise this list as often as possible, so please do comment below if there is anything you may like to add. It would be wonderful to hear from you and offer as many ideas as possible.
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Over the course of all my cancer experiences I kept a diary. These are the blogs I have written from the thoughts and feelings I recorded there. xx