Going through treatment for breast cancer slowed me down and allowed me to think. Think more clearly than I had done in a good while. And to think a lot. One of the things that I thought about a lot was that everyone needs to know that they are cared about. It is one of our basic human needs. We need food, water and to be cared about. It helps us to get up in the morning, get through the day, and go to bed at night in the comfort of knowing that we matter.
Most of the time, as we trudge, pace, run along life’s treadmill we do not give this caring malarkey much thought. We rarely need to put it to the test on a day to day basis. Friends and family, by definition, are people who care about us. But throw cancer into the mix, turn life upside down, press the pause button on life’s treadmill and it suddenly becomes incredibly important to know that we are cared about, and to be on the receiving end of some kindness. It means to world when friends and family step up, help out and are there at a time like this.
So how do you show someone who is going through cancer treatment, that you care? Well, I was recently on the receiving end of an incredible amount of care, kindness and support due to my own experience of breast cancer and I have recently added a new section on this very question over on my website www.tickingoffbreastcancer.com which is a site that I have set up to help women (and men) get through breast cancer treatment. It is a site of practical advice, tips, checklists, shopping lists and links to other online resources for those who have been diagnosed with breast cancer and do not know where to turn for help and support.
The site is also for friends and family of those going through breast cancer treatment. If you have a friend or loved one going through cancer treatment and you are not sure how to help them, you can read my tips for giving practical and emotional support here: What To Do (and what not to do) For Someone With Breast Cancer.
And why not treat your friend or loved one to a gift? Gifts are in no way expected, but there is no doubt about it: a gift is a lovely way of showing that you care and would most definitely be gratefully received. Take a look at my list of ideas (Gift of Kindness) for some suggestions. And this is where the wonderful online store “Not Another Bunch of Flowers” comes into its own. Not only does this site have a super name, but it has the most amazing selection of gifts suitable for someone going through cancer treatment and I think it is fantastic. It was a difficult choice, but below are my top five gift suggestions from this super site for your sister/mum/daughter/girlfriend/wife/friend who is going through breast cancer treatment.
- First up is something to make her feel that little bit nicer than she might be feeling. I am thinking here of “smellies”. A body lotion, bath oil, face wash or perhaps some hand cream. The key is to get something which is going to be super gentle on chemo skin (because one of the main side effects of chemo is dry, flaky and sensitive skin) but at the same time has a luxurious feel to it. Not Another Bunch of Flowers has the perfect solution: the Defiant Beauty range. Not only do they stock a great selection of Defiant Beauty products, but they also have a fabulous choice of Defiant Beauty gift sets. Defiant Beauty make beauty products specifically aimed at women going through chemo so they are gentle on the skin, don’t contain any nasties but still bring that air of pampering with them. The Defiant Beauty Balm gift set would tick all the boxes for me.
- My second choice would be something soft to lounge around in. Think warm, snuggly, soft pyjamas, socks or a robe. As I point out on my website, chemo can make you feel dreadful and all you want to do is stay in bed or lay on the sofa - which is much easier in something soft and elasticated rather than jeans. Having something soft and nice to lounge around in can help lift your spirits a little. The choice of items within this category is huge, but I must admit to being particularly smitten by the cosy mohair bed socks.
- Third on the list is something for her to do. I am always banging on about the importance of distractions during breast cancer treatment, and Not Another Bunch of Flowers does not disappoint in this category. There are a lot of choices here (puzzle books, tablet stands, crossword books) but I would go for a jigsaw puzzle. The concentration required to work on a tricky puzzle will help to momentarily distract her from the world of cancer and a puzzle is something that can be started, left out and returned to as and when she feels like it.
- My next choice would be something practical. If your friend or loved one is going to have chemotherapy then she will need to take a bag of “chemo stuff” to the hospital each time, so why not treat her to a new bag? There are a few to choose from on the site, but my favourite is the star tote. And why not pop in a few practical items to help her during chemo like: hand cream, queasy drops, a beanie hat and nice notebook in which to record details of all her medical appointments.
- And my fifth choice of gift would be something to help her to relax. Relaxation is so important during cancer treatment. But, it can be very difficult to relax. Anything which can help her to relax would be a wonderful gift: bath oils, mindfulness books, body lotions and oils. But my choice would be the Beefayre Bee Calm Scented Candle in lavender. Your sense of smell can go crazy during chemo, but for me lavender was one smell that I could cope with. It is also known for its calming properties which is ideal for helping her to relax.
Love, Sara x.