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Ideas for an Encouragement Basket

desertgirl947's picture
desertgirl947
Posts: 435
Joined: Oct 2012

A young woman I know -- not too well, but know -- is just now recovering from a double mastectomy, with the added promise (based on pathology) of chemo and radiation.  She is in her early 30s.  She has two young children and husband who are concerned.   Just this week she had problems surface due to the DR not inserting her port correctly.  This put her back in the hospital.

There are a group of us  ladies who would like to send this woman (even her kids) some things to cheer and encourage her.  Any suggestions?

I was thinking a mastectomy pillow or two -- I found mind was helpful to me not just as I recovered from the surgery but also as I dealt with the burns I had from radiation.

Thanks. 

CypressCynthia's picture
CypressCynthia
Posts: 3982
Joined: Oct 2009

Pillows are a great idea!  They also make a velcro deal for the JP drains that my sister went on and on about, but she may be about done with her drains?  They didn't have such a thing when I had my mastectomies (1987 and about 1993).  Here is one called a Prody: http://promedicsproducts.com/Order.html 

I have a bag that I take with me to chemo and here are some things in it: a glitter Disney wand that little Bella gave me because she said to take it with me cuz "It's magic" and will help with "the medicine"; a pair of snoozies socks (they are very warm and plush and they make them with the non-slip bumps on the bottom so they can double as slippers); a black out mask because my chemo center is bright and if I have nausea or a headache, it helps a lot, a fleece blanket (it has to be 2 yards for snuggling), many books (I have a kindle), ear plugs if I want to shut out, a squishy old down pillow for my neck.

Some other thoughts: a journal and pen (research is showing that journaling can help cancer survivors cope; see https://www.givingcomfort.org/how-journaling-can-help-cancer-patient-cope), a snack bar with protein (if I get too hungry, I feel ill) and/or peanut butter crackers, ginger ale, meaningly good luck items such as crosses, my lucky bean, a Boston Strong rubber duckie, a brooch from Great Aunt Tilda (in other words - something personal for them).

I make the fleece blankets for my local cancer center and label them "Warm Fuzzy."  PM me if you want me to send one.  I would be happy to help! Smile

SIROD's picture
SIROD
Posts: 2174
Joined: Jun 2010

I don't know what I would have done without your Warm Fuzzy during this awful winter weather.

My cancer center is brand new the chairs give you heat should you want it and one time when I had the chills, they gave me warm sheets and a quilt to cover me.  We have private room if we are there early enough.  The curtains around each chair close for privacy too.

Doris

 

 

desertgirl947's picture
desertgirl947
Posts: 435
Joined: Oct 2012

I had a chemo bag, too.  In it I had pens, pencils, Kindle, puzzle books, my pre-planned lunch orders when I was feeling up to it, my small clip board where I kept a list of things to ask on my next chemo day, and some writing paper.  On chemo day, I tossed in my Tracfone, my money, and sometimes a yogurt.  The chemo place had snacks, water, colas, and ginger ale I could have.  They also had fresh, clean pillows and blankets.  I never seemed to need the blanket.  I tended to use a pillow to make it easier to watch TV.   (Each room had a small TV.   I usually watched HGTV, if not visiting with my companion for the day.)

My church arranged for volunteers to drive me to appointments that my husband did not need to be at.  Friends and family jumped in as well.   (I live 30 minutes from my DRs.)  I had volunteers to take me to chmo, to get my shot, to get blood work done.  When I was doing rads, I drove two days and had volunteers the other days a week.  I only gave up those two days near the end when the seatbelt and burns were too uncomfy.  I had friends step in.  My drivers would stop at the drugstore for me.  They also would take me anywhere else.  If I was feeling good, my driver would stop at a coffee shop for a treat.  There were other things done to help.

I think this is what motivates me to want to help someone else when I can.

Tomorrow marks the day I was told I have cancer.  That was in 2012.  Things are good.

 

SIROD's picture
SIROD
Posts: 2174
Joined: Jun 2010

Gift certificates for food, I found helpful when I went through cancer the first time around.  Or people can sign up to make a meal a night while doing chemotherapy.  That is a great help when you are to tired to make dinner.  Save's the husband having to make dinner after he comes home from working all day.

Dori

CypressCynthia's picture
CypressCynthia
Posts: 3982
Joined: Oct 2009

Aw, I am so glad that you like the fuzzy!  They are magically dusted with hugs. Wink

I love the idea of heated seats, because air conditioning in the South can feel way too cold for chemo patients too.  Sometimes I have them bring me a warm blanket and put the fleece on top.

Food gift certificates is an awesome idea too.  My local onc once gave me a gift certificate for a Swedish massage.  I liked that too although I didn't use it until my white count was back up and I was off taxotere.  But it was my carrot and stick incentive...Lol.

SAvent's picture
SAvent
Posts: 51
Joined: Nov 2013

First off I just want to tell you how extremely awesome it is for you to do this. We need more people like you!

Since she is married I would say some nice candles & massage oil.. Im sure she is probably achey and who doesnt enjoy a good rub right LOL

Since she has kids maybe some games they can all play together.. they have alot of games in DVD version now that can be alot of fun for a family.

Depending on where they live (the weather) picnic stuff is nice too. maybe a nice BC drink bottle...  If I think of anything else Ill post again :)

 

desertgirl947's picture
desertgirl947
Posts: 435
Joined: Oct 2012

Thanks for the ideas. The fleece blanket is  a great idea.  A friend of mine who sews is making a pillow, as I found a pattern.

I was not thinking gift certificates; but now that you say that, I know I received several gas cards -- including one from my rad onco.  I remember that someone gave me cash, which I used for quick lunches for me and whoever happened to be my volunteer companion for the day.  I found I was more likely to eat if it was not something from home.  Down an exit from where I did chemo were McD's, BK, Taco Bell, Wendy's.  I'd jot down what I wanted (salad, tacos, chili, wraps), give my companion money and tell her to get what she wanted -- my treat for her giving up hours for me.  I did not do that when I was doing AC; but when I was on Taxol, I could do that as Taxol did not make me queasy like AC did.

camul's picture
camul
Posts: 2071
Joined: Dec 2010

That was a great.one for me and Worthers hard candy, Sudukoi and word search, crossword puzzles. I do cross stitch and crochet some. They have some really cute little cross stitch kits that are not overwhelming. The first time in chemo, I started Christmas stockings and have one left to go hand will have them for all of us. A FRIEND downloaded.some meditation and visualization CD 's. I had chemo for 2 1/2 years. All of these were really nice to have in my 'just in case bag'. This is such a kind gesture, she will love it. I also had the citrus balm and chap stick from The bath shop. I always could smell the chemicals when I walked into the infusion room, and this masked it for me. You are so thoughtful!

disneyfan2008
Posts: 5385
Joined: Oct 2010

I highly recommend JOURNAL...I rec'd 2 as gifts (one from friend and one from Radiation Ctr) I thought it was kind of goofy for write in them-but I did most days. In hind sight they were very helpful and at times I look back at things i wrote.

 

Denise

desertgirl947's picture
desertgirl947
Posts: 435
Joined: Oct 2012

I have had a number of people recommend journals.  I received at least one, too.  I ended up doing mine in document form on my computer.  A lot of that I then copied over, creating a blog that I share with ladies I hear of just starting the battle -- ladies that I know of or ladies that people I know put in touch with me.

I know that there are things I have forgotten about, until I go back to read what I wrote at the time.  I still add to it, probably because I still have appointments and there are other things that come into my life that remind me of my fight.  I have a few things to tweak on the blog.

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