Chemo Care Gift Package Ideas
Where to start?
Stress. Nausea. A need to nap. A sudden feeling of being chilled to the bone. Let's be honest, chemo is challenging and harsh.
We researched for you. Here's a comprehensive list compiled from 20 influencer chemo patient wish-lists, advice from cancer survivors we know, family experiences, medical professionals we know and 6 hospital recommended checklists...
Chemo clinics can be noisy, bright and cold during the day and at night. Create a cocoon of comfort and warmth with these simple items.
“A warm blanket - There’s something about cuddling up with a nice blanket that brings instant comfort.”
"Socks and/or close-toed shoes - The hospital or clinic will be chilly. The softer and fuzzier, the better."
source - Stephanie Madsen 4x Cancer Survivor
- Sleeved Blanket
- Ear Plugs
- Eye Mask
- Cozy slippers
Chemo appointments can be long. Consider funnier reading material to keep the mood bright.
- Reading glasses
- Puzzle Books
- Reading Material
- Your tablet, smart device
- A digital reader
- Drawing/painting kit
- Music playlists
Many items are needed to stay hydrated during chemo.
Chemo side effects can lead to dehydration. Some reasons for this are unavoidable but forgetting to drink is avoidable.
- Lip Balm
- Xylitol Mints: creates saliva which soothes oral tissues, freshens breath and prevents cavities. (Very important that xylitol is the only sugar added. Brand names: PUR, X-Pur, Xyla, Spry).
- MI Paste (from your dental clinic): helps fight enamel erosion/cavities, soothes mouth sores, increases saliva.
- Biotene rinse/toothpaste/spray: formula made for dry mouth.
- Cuticle oil: many chemo patients experience nail changes and damage
- Water...Water...Water: consider flexible straws just in case you are too nauseous to move.
It's very difficult for us to live without our smart phones these days. Make sure that while your phone is charging you are still able to use it with an extension cord. It would be sad to be without your phone for hours when there are music, movies or books to distract... friends to keep in touch with and games...etc.
Music filters out the sounds in the clinic, a great pre-downloaded playlist or two really helps.
- Extension Cord
- Charge Cord
- USB Wall Plug
So much new information and tests are being discussed. How to remember it all and keep it organized... Don't rely on your memory or your smart phone. Old school paper and pen are sometimes more reliable.
- Schedule book
- Pill organizer
- Prescriptions and receipts folder
- A friend to catch what you missed
Your body needs to prepare before and heal after chemo. That requires good nutrition. It's not the time for candy or chips from the typical hospital vending machines so consider bringing healthier treats.
If you do want a treat: keep in mind, many patients say that chocolate tastes awful during chemo (sorry). Try ginger chews or lemon drops instead for a better tasting treat.
Prepare snacks with some of your favorites from home and you will be happy you did.
- Protein Bars: Your body needs the extra protein right now.
- Granola Bars
- Fruits - fresh and dry
- Nut mix
- DIY salads in a jar
- Hot Oatmeal
- Non-Metal Utensils: Some treatments cause a metallic taste in the mouth and patients ask for non metals.
Unfortunately this is a side-effect of most Chemo treatments.
- Hot/cold drinking bottles
- Sea-bands: many swear by them and they are clinically proven to help relieve nausea and vomiting.
- Lemon drops candy
- Ginger anything: tea, soup, ginger chews
- Sickness bags
- Tea bag portfolio: Rooibos, peppermint, green, chamomile, ginger, licorice, all have been said to help some patients- try them all and see what works best for you.
- Check with your doctor for food or tea contraindications.
Foods to Avoid - Foods to Try
Nutritional advice is best if tailored to your specific situation, treatment, medication etc. Please confirm with your medical professionals.
A nutritionist specializing in Chemo would be great. Keep a log of how you feel around the time you digest the foods you eat.
Experiment with small amount of anything you try. Maintain a balanced routine.
Once you find one that works for you, introduce new things a little... at ... a.... time and gauge the effects.
Trying too many things at once makes it difficult to know which reacts badly and may cause you to avoid some that actually work for you.
The foods/drinks to avoid are notoriously known and easy to identify. The foods that benefit you while simultaneously being palatable during this unusual phase are more of a challenge to identify.
- Artificial flavors
- Artificial Colors
- Processed foods
- Deli meats
- Microwave food
- Artificial sweeteners
- Fried foods
- Trans fat
- Sweet potatoes
- Berries in general
- Pumpkin and other seeds
- Red, yellow, orange peppers
Other items for your chemo appointment bag
Some useful items you may like
- Stress ball
- A box of surgical masks to reduce risk of viral infection from others
- Cold caps have been said to reduce hair loss for some - The American Cancer Society has more info here.
- A small towel in case of hot flashes
Nurses work very hard. Nurses are the ones who manage and make things run smoothly in their departments and therefore influence greatly your hospital life while visiting. Keep them happy and make a new friend. Any small treat/gesture will do. It's the thought that counts. My mom was a nurse for over 40 years.
- Treat for the Nurses