Some Chemo Gifting Ideas

Before my mom began her chemotherapy treatments, I began to do a great deal of research to find ways in which I could help her through this process. I created a couple of fun ideas that really worked for her and I hope can help someone else.

When I asked my mom what I could do for her, she requested that I make her a “Chemo Countdown” chart. Something where she could rip off the page each week and have one less chemotherapy session to go (like a visual aid to see that she was making progress).

Instead of simply making her a chart, I really wanted to make this a celebration. A celebration of one more treatment down. So I set a budget and purchased eight different treats for my mom; items I knew she would love and that would be a great surprise after returning home from treatment.  Some of the gifts I bought her included:

 

o   A strawberry strainer (it rinses your berries clean and allows them to not go bad in a strawberry shaped container).

o   An avocado pod (an avocado shaped container for you to store your remaining avocado in; it helps to make it last and not turn brown as quickly).

o   A new candle.

o   New decorative napkins for fall

o   New wallflowers refills from Bath & Body Works

 

After purchasing her eight different gifts (some being more practical than others), I purchased neutral colored bags and decorated them each with a different number and an inspirational quote.

On the eve before her first chemotherapy treatment, I snuck over to my parent’s home and decorated their fireplace mantle with her “Chemo Countdown.” Before I left, I wrote my mom a little note for when she woke up that said, “No ordinary countdown for you, Mom, as you are the furthest from ordinary. Something fun and to help find the silver lining in all of this. Go to the mantel.”

She was absolutely delighted and surprised to see the special countdown I made just for her. And we began a tradition:  Every other Wednesday, we would grab lunch together, head to chemo and return to her house to open her “Chemo Countdown” gift.

In case you were curious, in bag number one is a bottle of champagne. I wanted this to be a true celebration and I wanted her to finish her treatment and celebrate that the worst is over!

 

In addition to my mom’s “Chemo Countdown,” I also made her her very own “Chemo Kit” that I would bring with us for each session. From researching, talking to her doctor and friends and family, I knew she would need some additional items to assist with the side effects of chemo. The items I purchased for her (and the ones that worked best for her) included:

o    Biotene Toothpaste

o   Spare Toothbrushes

o   Sunscreen, preferably SPF 30

o   Extra moisturizing lotion (Eucerin brand is the best, especially ‘Calming Anti-itch’)

o   Hydrating Lip-gloss (Neutrogena Lip Moisturizer worked best for my mom)

o   Unscented Body Wash

o   Ricola Natural Lemon Mint Herb Throat Drops (to alleviate the taste of metal)

o   Tissues

o   Ginger and/or Peppermint Teas to assist with nausea

 

I also reached out to many of my mom’s best friends and family members and asked them to write my mom a little note or letter with a favorite memory or funny story; something that she could read during treatments and would take her mind off of what was happening.

I was truly touched with the creativity and thoughtfulness of her friends, as they went above and beyond what I had even imagined.  They sent me books, headscarves, hilarious cards, cookbooks and beautiful new accessories.  They wrote her poems, gave her pep talks and baked her tasty treats. As the items began to arrive to my home, I divided them up and included them in her “Chemo Kit.” She has enough surprises from her loved ones to last throughout all of her treatments. 

What is really special is how it is a sweet reminder of her cheerleaders standing behind her supporting her throughout all of this. And these gifts came from all throughout the U.S., which makes it so special to see how people send their love from afar.

The “Chemo Kit” is a huge hit in the hospital. She shares her treats with her nurse and new friends who are undergoing chemotherapy with her. All she has to do is pack a blanket and a water along with her “Chemo Kit” and she is good to go.

 

The one thing my family and I are realizing throughout all of this is how lucky we are to have a support group. It saddens me to realize there are some people who may be doing this all by themselves. Even running around to grab my mom lotions and sunscreen was not ‘easy,’ as I had to go to multiple stores for everything. It opened my eyes that there should be a one-stop destination shop to assist those going through this to make it easier on them.

 

If you are interested in assistance in making a “Chemo Kit” or “Chemo Countdown” for someone you know and love who is undergoing chemotherapy, it would be an absolute pleasure to assist you in making this happen. I know that as caretakers we often time feel helpless in knowing what we can do to assist those undergoing treatment. Seeing my mom’s happiness in all her surprises helps to make this a little bit easier. Please feel free to contact me to help you make your loved ones experience unique and special: Meaghan@m-of-hearts.com.

Thank You,

Meaghan

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