What item to buy someone to make them feel good through chemo/radiation

This is such a difficult question to ask, and I feel that the answer may be non-materialistic. But please help if you can.


My Father in Law just had cancer surgery and had his jaw bone removed. He is going through chemo and radiation tomorrow.


I am going to visit him and wanted to know if I can purchase anything that would lessen his pain or soothe him any?


Even if it's a home made concoction, please share your opinion.


My heart goes out to you whether you are a caregiver or fighting cancer. I wish you the best.




  • LorettaMarshall
    LorettaMarshall Member Posts: 662 Member
    rrwins~B N there 4 the duration of the treatment is A good gift

    Hello “rrwins” ~

    I can only answer from my perspective as a female cancer patient myself.  If I were recovering from surgery and now going into chemotherapy, which I have been already, and will be entering another session, Lord willing, in January of 2018, what would I like?

    First of all, if I were your FIL, I would enjoy the presence of some caring son-in-law to tell me how nice it was that you were appreciative of my successfully raising a daughter that made the SIL’s life complete.  Wink Short of that, not knowing your FIL, I wouldn’t have a clue except to say, there probably isn’t any kind of “concoction” you could make that would make him feel better tomorrow. 

    Frankly, just being there, and sitting with him, while he is “enduring”—“not enjoying” the poison that is going through his system shows compassion.  Compassion can’t be bought and wrapped up in a box with a pretty bow.  Chemo is never a joyous time, but it is often necessary to prolong one’s life and hopefully give him some quality of life that he would not enjoy otherwise.

    First of all, what is the age of your father-in-law?  That would be one factor—that would give me more of a clue as to what you might give him.  And then, does he have a good prognosis?  If so, you could give him something that he could actually use that he might not buy for himself once he is more able to enjoy it.

    When all else fails, you could give him a “certified check” and let him buy his own gift.  I say, “Certified” because when I get a “gift card” sometimes it is not a place I would normally go, but I have to spend it there.  Furthermore, if you should give him a check inside a meaningful “Get well card”, he might never cash it.  That, of course, would depend on your own finances, which he would be aware of.  He might not want you to “spend money on him”, but if it’s “certified”, only he can cash it.  Now if he were like me, if I accepted it, I would probably turn around and purchase something for you and your wife that I know would make you happy.  Kiss Parents are like that you know.

    My husband and I have mentored a young man of 57 who underwent an Ivor Lewis Esophagectomy this past Tuesday.  He is still in ICU, but we’ve now visited him 3 times.  First we visited with his wife in the “family waiting room.”  And don’t we all know what an anxious time that can be?  CryThen we’ve visited him twice—the last time being today.

    Since he is a man of faith he was happy to have us just come and spend some time with him and pray with and for him.   We spoke about the Lord and how important it is to “put it all in God’s hands” and the peace that this brings.

    So—afterwards we went to the store and purchased a devotional book that has given me so much peace in my own life.  It is a 365-page devotional book by Sarah Young entitled “JESUS ALWAYS – Embracing JOY in His Presence.”  Now there will also be one that is entitled “Enjoying Peace in His Presence” by Sarah Young.  It is written in the first person as though it were just the Lord speaking to me each morning, and reminding me that He is with me always even as I am going through a fiery trial.  And indeed cancer patients are going through “fiery trials” not of their own making.  Frown

    Now I happen to have purchased this gift at Sam’s Club.  The store I went to had a wide variety of books—even more than usual—and I suppose the extra inventory is in anticipation of gift giving at Christmas time.  This same book was mailed to me back in 2012 by a young woman who lives in Hawaii.  We met on this Esophageal Cancer site because of her father’s EC diagnosis.  When she heard that I was diagnosed with cancer, she sent me this book.  It has really made me even more aware of God’s presence in an intimate way.  So if your FIL is a man of faith, this is a book that will speak to him day after day and give him HOPE and PEACE.  That’s something that money can’t buy, but for me, the PEACE that God has given me is the key to my happiness even with my Stage IV Ovarian Cancer terminal diagnosis. 

    If I knew your FIL personally, I would have a better idea of what he might like.  But as for tomorrow, simply your presence, if possible for the duration of the treatment, would be a gift long remembered.  Now depending on where your FIL lives, does he have work at home that is languishing while he is unable to do it?  If there is something that needs doing at home and you’re capable of doing it for him, like the Nike logo—JUST DO IT!

    So spend as much time as you can with him tomorrow, and then set a time to help your FIL with something that absolutely must be done at home.  I should think that this would also make your wife and your MIL happy as well.  Perhaps it might be something that he has been needing and putting off purchasing that would make both he and his wife happy.  That is, of course, if his wife is still living.  You’ve heard the old saying, “If Mama ain’t happy—ain’t nobody happy!”  (Works for me!) There just might be something that you could do that would “make mama happy too!” This is an “uptight” time for the entire family, of that I am certain.

    Obviously I’m hoping that these treatments will enable your FIL to enjoy a better quality of life, but for now, he could be in for a lot of discomfort.  But most of all—knowing the anxiety that the whole family is going through—remember—a gift of “oneself” is always the best gift.  Just BE THERE!

    Love Loretta (Wife of William who is enjoying his 15th year of being cancer free after his surgery May 17, 2003 @ UPMC. I’m enjoying 5 years of life after my November 2012 diagnosis.  God is good!)


  • rrwins
    rrwins Member Posts: 5
    I love you!!

    Dear Loretta,

    First of all, THANK YOU and second of all sorry for the delay. I was traveling internationally to see my in-laws and it has been a bit chaotic.

    You may be one of the sweetest person I have met virtually. What a lovely spirit you have and your wisdom and compassion just melted my heart. If the way you write is so soothing, I can only imagine what a delight you would be in person. Mr. William did the smartest thing a man can do., marry right :)

    After being through multiple hospital visits, the prognosis for my FIL looks good but it has only been one week since his surgery.

    I went through each points you advised on, and thankfully I have been following all of them Smile. My in-laws have been retired for a while, so when we heard about the diagnosis, first thing we told them is that we will take care of the entire bill. Thankfully my Brother-in-Law had purchased insurance for them and that has helped burden the cost significantly. Not to go on a tangent, but our system in the US can wipe a family's savings out with one illness and that is very sad. 


    My wife is the primary caregiver and I've asked her to stay with him as long as it is needed. Unfortunately I have to return back to work and grad school, but if given a choice I would stay back with them.

    I must say again, the way you write is so soothing, filled with clarity, compassion and love. I'll probably read it many more times :)

    Our utmost love, good wishes and respect to you and Mr. Marshall.

  • Mary H.
    Mary H. Member Posts: 17
    Something my husband enjoyed

    Something my husband enjoyed was being read to.  I found several books on subjects that he would like, downloaded them to Kindle, then sat by the bed and read to him.  Fortunately, I was able to find ones that were of interest to me, too.  We went through an autobiography of William (Buffalo Bill) Cody and a book of short  stories by Elmore Leonard.