It's inevitable. At some point in our lives, we are all going to know someone that has been diagnosed with cancer. And for many of us, we struggle to find the right words to say or the best way to show we care. From personal experience and talking with many women who have been in this situation, I have put together a brief list of gift ideas and thoughtful gestures to show your love and support.
1) Audio Books ~ these can help pass the time without straining the eyes or requiring your friend to be in an upright/uncomfortable position to read.
2) Scarves ~ a great way to add color and pizazz if your friend is losing hair.
3) Unscented Lotions ~ lotions can be a great practical gift, as many cancer treatments can be very drying to the skin. (but remember that oftentimes cancer patients become hyper-sensitive to smells, so it is best to avoid scents)
4) Lip Balm ~ another great way to help with dryness.
5) Jewelry Item Representing Strength ~ encourage and empower your friend in their fight. Cancer Cuff Bracelet with"What Cancer Cannot Do" offers a strong reminder of the power of positive thinking with uplifting words.
6) Jewelry Item Representing Prayer/Faith ~ a reminder of faith can bring peace and comfort during this difficult time.
7) A Shawl or Comfy Throw Blanket ~ staying warm can become increasingly difficult as treatments progress. Patients can experience chills as a side effect of chemotherapy. Additionally, most treatment rooms are a much cooler temperature than people keep their homes.
8) Soft Socks ~ another way to help keep your friend warm and cozy while undergoing treatment.
9) Gift Certificate for Reiki ~ some people have found relief from this Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that is said to promote healing.
10) Empathy Card ~ sometimes the best gift you can give is kind words! However, most of us find it very difficult to find the right words to say. Empathy Cards by Emily McDowell is a great collection of cards that provide just the right language to help you convey your love and support.
Receiving a cancer diagnosis can be so overwhelming that the person does not know what they want or need - or may not know how to ask for help. These are just a few ideas of things you can offer to do (or just do them)
1) Make meals
2) Help with or hire someone to do housekeeping and/or yard work
3) Run errands
4) Help with kids
5) Volunteer to drive and attend doctor visits
6) Check in on them often - and let them know you don't expect a response
7) Rent a movie and just be quiet
8) Bring over a basket of magazines
9) Donate to cancer research
10) Have a bunch of friends send cards on the same week or get a giant card for all to sign
THINGS TO REMEMBER
~ Talk about things other than cancer
~ Let them know they can vent to you anytime
~ Tell them you are okay just being near them and silent
~ Sense of smell may be heightened so strong scents on you might make them nauseous
~ Let her know she is gorgeous and can take her hair off with you
~ Be a good listener - sometimes your role isn't to cheer them up
Everyone needs support and encouragement - especially someone dealing with cancer. Even if your friend finds it hard to accept help, know that every little bit helps.
By providing good emotional support you can help them adjust to the changes in their life, enable a more positive outlook and keep them strong for their fight.