What Can I Buy My Loved One With Cancer? | Guest Blog By Ticking Off Breast Cancer
What can I buy my loved one with cancer?
It’s really scary when you hear that a friend or a family member has been diagnosed with cancer. Of course you’re immediately concerned for your loved one… How are they feeling? What is the prognosis? How will this affect them? And, very close to the top of your list of concerns will be… what can you do to help them, support them and show that you’re thinking of them? I’ve written extensively on this topic in my new book, Ticking Off Breast Cancer (Hashtag Press), on my website www.tickingoffbreastcancer.com and for many cancer charities and organisations. But what I’m focusing on in this article, is the question of what sort of gift you could get your friend or family member.
First of all, you need to rule out what not to get them. Avoid flowers and plants. These can cause health problems for someone who has a reduced immune system due to cancer treatment. So, what can could you buy? You don’t need to spend a lot. In fact, you don’t need to spend anything because a brilliant gift would be a stack of magazines and books that you’ve finished with. But if you do want to spend some money, here are some ideas:
Why not buy a few things that will make life that little bit easier during their treatment and recovery time at home? You could even get a few items and make up a little basket of useful items, including things like: a nice water bottle, tissues, lip balm, hand cream, hand sanitiser, wet wipes, a battery operated hand held fan, roll on lavender essential oil and mints.
Anything that shouts ‘comfort’ is the perfect gift for someone going through cancer treatment. A fair bit of time can be spent in bed or on the sofa, so a gift making the resting days a little more comfortable will be really appreciated. Think about:
Hot water bottle or microwaveable hottie – there are lots available with lovely soft covers.
Scarf – scarves are useful both for wearing on the head to cover hair loss and as a wrap to keep cosy and warm.
Blanket – who doesn’t like a nice soft blanket when they’re recuperating on the sofa?
Eye mask – these are really useful to have for hospital stays and for sleeping during the day.
Top Pick: Cara London Blue Beautiful Eye Mask
PJs – a new pair of pyjamas can bring real joy!
Entertainment and distraction
Going through cancer treatment is exhausting and can take a long time. Consider buying something that will help distract your friend and take their mind off what they’re going through. Maybe:
Colouring book and pencils – there are mindfulness colouring books for adults which help focus the mind.
Beautiful notebooks and pens – someone going through a traumatic time will often turn to writing as therapy.
Books – books are always a good choice of gift.
When is someone more worthy of being spoilt by a luxury gift, than when going through cancer treatment? Go on, spoil your friend or family member with something extra special. How about:
Cashmere/mohair socks – there is something so luxurious about wearing these soft socks!
Top Pick: Cosy Mohair Bed Socks
Luxury toiletries – it’s possible to get some really gorgeous toiletries that are suitable for someone going through cancer treatment, ones which are organic, contain natural ingredients and are gentle on the skin.
Top Pick: Trust Organic Skincare - Hand & Foot Rub
Candles – choose one with a relaxing scent like lavender.
Food and Drink
Before buying food or drink, I suggest you check with your friend or family member as to whether they are experiencing any taste issues or mouth sores. This may affect the type of gift you buy them. If you then go on to buy food or drink, consider luxury items and things that they can share with their family like:
Luxury chocolate or sweets – these are often very popular with partners and children.
Top Pick: Keep Your Strength Up Milk Chocolate
Hot chocolate – hot chocolate is the ultimate recovery drink and there are some gorgeous options to choose from.
Top Pick: Hot Chocolate Spoon - Milk Chocolate
Tea – a cup of tea is the go-to drink for most of us, so perhaps give some nice herbal tea bags such as ginger, chamomile or peppermint.
Top Pick: Keep Calm & Carry On Afternoon Tea Kit
Little biscuits or cakes – people going through chemo often find it easier to eat a little and often. A box of small edible items would be perfect.
The wonderful thing about a website such as www.notanotherbunchofflowers.com is that they have done the research into suitable gifts for someone with cancer, so you don’t have to. They have every single type of gift that you could possibly want to buy your friend or family member. And for more gift ideas, check out the Family & Friends section of my website, www.tickingoffbreastcancer.com.
Sara is the author of Ticking Off Breast Cancer, a book about juggling life with treatment for primary breast cancer at the age of forty-two. This book follows the physical and emotional impact of breast cancer on Sara’s life, and provides practical help by way of checklists at the end of each chapter. Sara is also the founder of www.tickingoffbreastcancer.com, a website dedicated to helping people through their breast cancer treatment and their friends and family. It’s a website supporting those who do not know which way to turn for help after receiving a breast cancer diagnosis; those who are overwhelmed by the breast cancer resources online and those just looking for a comfortable, safe, calm place to turn for help. Follow her on FaceBook, Twitter and Instagram.