These are the things that got me through chemo (alongside all of the medication and more clinical products that I wont go into as this is a gift website, not a pharmacy, and much of it borders on TMI!). Hopefully this is a useful list for those facing chemo and for those with loved ones facing chemo who want to get them a gift to help them through and remind them that you are thinking of them. Useful bits and bobs to help someone through treatment really do make an excellent and thoughtful gift, and is incredibly helpful, as the last thing on your mind when you receive a cancer diagnosis is shopping! It is actually really stressful, dashing around buying things you think you’re going to need during treatment, so useful, practical gifts are really, really appreciated.
- Digital thermometer - To check whether neutropenic or not.
- Remedies to help aid side effects:
- Sickness and nausea - Queasy Drops, mints, anti-sickness bands, ginger biscuits.
- Yucky taste - Chemo can leave a yucky taste in your mouth. Nice cordials and squashes can help make water taste better and Queasy Drops cut through the taste. Queasy Drops ROCK. They totally got me through chemo.
- Sore eyes and headaches - Daydream sleep mask with cool pack.
- Fatigue - Daydream sleep mask and ear plugs and all things cosy (pyjamas, calming candles etc) to naturally encourage sleep.
- Runny nose - Lots of tissues to hand and pocket tissues for when you're out and about.
- Hot flushes – A totally natural cooling spritz and a Chillow.
- Sore and dry skin - A natural soothing balm - it is very important to keep skin moisturised, but be very wary of ingredients. Some people may also find fragrances nauseating.
- Brittle nails and nail loss - A natural nail oil to keep them as healthy as possible. Pretty nail varnishes would also make a great gift.
- Chemobrain – pretty notebook and pen.
- Hair loss - Clippers, scarves, hats and beanies. A wig is a personal choice, so a voucher for a wig company would be a more appropriate gift. My website has a few gorgeous scarves, cotton hats and cotton beanies.
- Toiletries - Lips, hands and feet suffer terribly, so a nice, natural lip balm, hand cream and foot balm are essential. Chemo dries the skin and is very aging, so invest in a good, natural moisturiser - and apply frequently! I stock some completely natural and organic beauty products that are specifically formulated for people undergoing chemotherapy treatment.
- Antibacterial spray or gel - to reduce the risk of catching something nasty from germs. The more natural, the better.
- Beauty treats - in particular a good eyeliner and eyebrow palette or pencil, but anything to add a bit of colour and sunshine will be very appreciated I am sure.
- Cold cap - Natural pH-neutral shampoo and conditioner and a hot water bottle and hot drinks to keep warm.
- Chemo bag - A pretty bag to take to chemo (it somehow makes things slightly nicer when you're packing up a nice bag!) full of useful bits for a few hours in the hospital - antibacterial hand gel, wipes, tissues, Queasy Drops, lip balm, hand cream and lots of entertainment!
- Overnight bag - Keep a bag packed in case of an emergency hospital visit with eye mask, ear plugs, spare knickers, pyjamas, face wipes, tissues, compact mirror, dry shampoo, antibacterial hand gel or spray, toothpaste and toothbrush and lots of entertainment.
I blogged about my top tips to cope with chemo at Chemo For Beginners: An A-Z of All Things 'C': http://chemoforbeginners.com/2012/11/20/chemo-shmemo/