Cancer Gift Guide
Hearing the word Cancer can be hard. All the appointments, treatments, surgeries and recoveries that come after are even worse. Giving gifts to your loved ones during this difficult time is a way to say ‘I’m thinking of you. I’m here for you. I love you.’ But finding the perfect gift to say that can be a minefield, especially when you want to be sensitive about what your love one is going through. Hopefully our Cancer Gift Guide can help make the search easier.
Sometimes, the practical things often go overlooked in preference to typical gifts like sweet treats. Don’t underestimate how much a practical gift can change your loved ones life. While they’re darting from appointment to appointment and feeling like they don’t want to leave the house, they might not have time or the thought to go shopping. These items will definitely ease their journey.
Short Sleeve T-Shirts
When you’re having tests done so frequently it can get annoying to strip off and even more annoying if the only comfortable short sleeve t-shirt is a raggy pyjama top. Some high quality comfortable t-shirts aren’t going to change the world but they will make the moments when a needle comes out a little bit easier.
Help Around The House
Unfortunately, life’s pressures continue on when you have cancer. Laundry, washing the windows and cooking dinner are all still there waiting to be done. Make a coupon to help if you see they’re struggling. Try to be as specific as possible with what you’re offering e.g. I will bring you a cooked meal every Wednesday. This lifts the mental load of them having to decide when you can help and how you can help.
Not everyone gets this but many experience mouth sores or dry mouth during and after treatment. Ice lollies can really help soothe the pain. Even if your loved one doesn’t have these side effects a nice ice lolly never goes a miss.
Cotton Caps & Scarves
Many people lose their hair during their cancer treatment but you can’t shy away from that. Scarves and other hair accessories are a great gift. Losing hair can be overwhelming and also feel like a loss of identity. A fun scarf and other head wraps can still make your loved one feel like them and feel beautiful.
Books, Magazines, Puzzles
Waiting on appointments is long, chemo is long, having to isolate because your immune compromised is long. The mind can only wander so much before boredom (and negative thoughts) start to kick in. Books, magazines, puzzles, crosswords, anything that keeps the mind occupied and is portable is brilliant. If you can replenish the stock once they’re done, even better.
There’s a lot of sofa days during cancer because of both the physical effects and the mental toll it takes. As well as the back and forth from the hospital. Comfort is key during this time. Leggings, jumpers, pyjamas, furry socks anything that can make them comfortable during an uncomfortable time.
Not only are creative outlets fun but they’re also incredible cathartic. People can take comfort in seeing their creation and also that their intrusive thoughts have been released from their head and body. Adult colouring books, painting tools, journals are all ways for people to express themselves.
A travel pillow can really help your loved one get comfortable during chemotherapy and even nod off for a nap.
Stitches of Support Blanket
We’ve been putting together knitted/crocheted squares from all over the world for the last two years to create loving blankets for those going through treatment. We’ve given out hundreds of blankets already, many using them during chemo and at home. They’re a small reminder that a big community is behind them and thinking of them, giving them love in a hug.
This wouldn’t be a Gift Guide without some tea on the list but in all seriousness tea can have the most wonderfully calming effect. Ginger tea can be effective for easing nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy.
Who doesn’t like a sweet treat?! We don’t really need to explain that one further, do we?
Remember, gifts don’t have to be physical. Think of the phrase ‘your presence is a present’. It sounds lame and cliché but it’s true.
Keep in Contact
Sending a thinking of you text or a random phone call shows you’re there for them. You need to approach this with no expectation of a prompt reply or any reply. Your loved one is going through one of the toughest times of their life and what seems like simply answering the phone or responding to a text could feel like climbing Mount Everest for them.
Don’t take the fact they might not answer personally and persevere. They will so appreciate the constant support they’re getting from you even if they don’t say it.
Contact doesn’t even have to be about cancer, send them a joke or tell them about your day. Though their life isn’t the same your relationship is and they still want to hear about you and funny, silly things. During this time treat them as more than just cancer.
You can’t fix everything. Don’t pressure your loved one with positive thoughts or claims that ‘Things will get better’. You don’t know the future. Sometimes just listening is enough and sometimes a simple ‘That sucks!’ makes your loved one feel seen and heard.
Out And About
If your loved one is able to, get them out of the house, even for a short period of time. A walk around the park, go for lunch, watch the latest film at the cinema or just going to the supermarket. When all your loved one is seeing is the four walls of the chemo ward and the four walls of their living room, they might become stir crazy. Taking them out can really change their outlook and give them a positive mental boost.
One More Thing…
You’ll notice we haven’t mentioned a certain gift. You might have thought we’d forgotten about them but we thought they needed a special mention; Flowers. This gift really is based upon each individual and some people may love flowers no matter what. However, once you go through treatment your smell changes. Flowers can be a horrible overwhelming smell.
Flowers and plants also carry bacteria and pollens; combined with the lowered immune system due to chemotherapy and cancer, flowers carry an increased risk of infection. Plus, many hospitals don’t allow flowers in patient rooms and wards.
Finally, for some flowers can remind them of their illness and how fragile they are. Especially when the flowers die. If your loved one is struggling with everyday tasks, they may find taking out wilted flowers another task they have to add to their burdening list.