Breast cancer treatment care package

lpinkmountainNovember 12, 2011

Dang! One of my best friends had breast cancer surgery yesterday and will be coming home today. She's my sixth good friend to go through this. She's in Michigan and it is killing me to be so far away, here in PA. Of course next will come chemo and I guess radiation, or is it the other way around? Either way it will be no fun. I would like to send a care package to let her know I am thinking of her. She has a huge support network, so whatever I get her will just be more of what she's getting already. She has elementary-school age children and a wonderful hubby. I'm thinking some music, although I don't know what they use, MP3 or somesuch I guess. I'd like something foodie, maybe some ginger tea and some ginger candy which I can get at the local health food store. Anyway, I know LOTS of you brave women have been down this road before so maybe you have some suggestions for me.

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Oh for crying out loud, too much multi-tasking. This was supposed to go in conversations!!!! Don't reply, or reply on the conversation side. This should be removed.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2011 at 1:23PM
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It isn't on the other side, so I'll reply here. I gave a CD to three friends this year, and they love it. It's new-agey, which is not my style, but I love this. Chants for healing, you can listen thru the website.

My friends all thought that this was truly helpful.

Scroll down to "The Heart of Healing".

Here is a link that might be useful: Karen Drucker music

    Bookmark   November 12, 2011 at 1:56PM
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I got to the point where I just dreaded opening packages from people when I was going through the surgeries/chemo/radiation - it got to the point where I couldn't stand any more pink $h!t. And just for the record, pink isn't an angry enough color for breast cancer.

I did have a long-time male friend mail a big wild afro wig from a costume party store. That made me laugh. I still have it. I also loved the soft, colorful head-caps/head warmers that another friend sent me since I was not inclined to wear any kind of itchy wig since I just really didn't care about making other people comfortable with my situation. I always felt like I had a dead squirrel on my head when I put it on.

I went through my ordeal in the winter. Etsy has some really amazing hand-knit caps for winter-time chemo baldness. Some of them make you look like you have some hair. Some look like a Mohawk. What fun :0) Why not, I said. And I always wore fancy, funky earrings.

Apart from losing my breasts and my hoped-for nice life near retirement, the thing that bothered me the most was losing my hair and eyebrows. It's cold without hair in the winter and without eyebrows I looked like a dried out human being. Some creative headgear and some make-up (eyebrow pencil or brush)???

Every woman is different. I don't know your friend, but my head was always cold.


    Bookmark   November 12, 2011 at 6:25PM
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Losing one's hair and eyebrows is annoying enough, but have you ever given any thought to the function that those little hairs in your nose provide? Anyways, what I really appreciated, and give to others who are enduring chemo, are nice soft linen handkerchiefs. My nose ran constantly for at least 6 months, and linen hankies are sooooo much softer and less likely to chafe than Kleenex. I'm still addicted to them, and check all the thrift/collectible shops I encounter for more. And I don't like the colour pink any more now than I did before my diagnosis. I'm still a blue gal...

The tea idea is nice as well. A selection of caf as well as decaf should cover most bases, as it is so difficult to guess which will go down easiest.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2011 at 7:17PM
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My friend is undergoing chemo now and she was told to keep her skin moist, lips moist, mouth moist. I gave her some Tazo tea called Calm - she has troubling sleeping due to some of the medications she takes. Lip balm, Biotene for dry mouth (a rinse, not prescription), unscented lotions (she has hyper sensitivity to odors, fragrances due to chemo), lemon drops (for some reason lemon is a good taste to them)are things she could use. My friend is nearby but I often send her cards. Just to say I'm thinink about you - nothing heavy. I help by picking her up from her Chemo treatment as they won't let her drive herself. If she has a Kindle or Nook, you could send her a book to read. My friend takes hers to her treatment to read to help pass the time.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2011 at 7:46PM
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I agree with every word Seagrass wrote hahaha! Especially about pink not being an angry enough colour and having a cold head!!!

Send her a really funny film on DVD. Anything to take her mind off it.

I got my hats and scarves from the link below. Get her something nice and soft in jersey that she can just pull on her head.

What she needs most is what she's got. A good friend!

Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   November 13, 2011 at 3:59AM
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I wonder about some retro candy- something that might provide a couple minutes of silly fun, and would be easily digestible in case of queasiness. I've seen sets on Amazon and such. Hopefully someone with more experience will weigh in if that's a terrible idea. I think the ginger candy is a good idea too. In Australia, they had super-strong ginger tablets for seasickness. They worked!

    Bookmark   November 13, 2011 at 8:44AM
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I'm sorry that your friend has to go through this. I hope once it's behind her that she can look forward to a long, happy life.

Everyone has their own sense of style and humor. But just for fun, I would have loved to have received something like this with a pair of earrings to go with it. I usually wore a cotton headband under the hats to cover some of my forehead and the area around my neck where there should have been hair - they helped the hats stay on my head better. I've kept some of the hats and have worn my hair very short since it's quite thin now. I still enjoy wearing them in the winter. I'm an old hippie, so this style works for me :0)


Here is a link that might be useful: Fun and funky

    Bookmark   November 13, 2011 at 10:16AM
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I'm sorry your friend has cancer, lpink. It may be comforting to her to know how many BC survivors are out here.

As a breast cancer survivor and volunteer who works with newly diagnosed cancer BC patients, I would reiterate what others said above. No two people are going to handle their cancer in the same way. Some like gifts and some just want to be left alone to heal.

If she just got out of the hospital, she probably is getting food gifts that she has to deal with so I'd wait for a while until her local ones stop.

My best advice would be to send her a "Thinking of You" card with a letter now and mark your calendar to send her a cheer-up package a month from now. Make sure she's receiving chemo before you include any type of headgear. Not everyone chooses it as a part of their treatment.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2011 at 10:38AM
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My MIL is just finishing cancer treatment. Not BC, but cervical/uterine. Yes, both. Rare form where the tumor has parts of both types of tissue.
She's 87.

Biggest issues for her during chemo were dry/blistered skin and nausea. And just feeling tires all the time.

I think the ginger is a great idea! Maybe a basket with a snuggly blanket and super soft pillow for catnaps. Add several lotions and lip balms. Just something to pamper.

MIL's food tastes changed drastically so things that used to be her favorites no longer appeal to her.

I love the idea of sending frequent cards to let her know you're supporting her.

Sorry you've been through this so many times.


    Bookmark   November 13, 2011 at 11:55AM
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I think the cards are the best thing, and as others said, delay anything else til later.

There will come a time when she wonders where everyone went. I got calls and cards (no gifts, my friends don't cook) for the first 2 weeks, then nothing at all to carry me through treatment. It was like everyone had decided they had done what was called for, and they were "done". Adrenalin carried me through my first two surgeries (I did not have chemo), it was not til halfway through radiation that I hit the wall of reality and having - only then - zero energy.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2011 at 2:45PM
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The "care packages" came in different forms. Sound like you're not in driving distance from your friend. I was blessed with a friend who came sometimes and helped clean my house!!

I agree with the handwritten notes in sweet cards (don't be afraid to make her laugh). Call her just to talk. Talk long enough to let her cry if she needs to do that. My experience was there were some people who were afraid to see me. Then there were others who wanted to do too much (like, shave their head in solidarity).

Chocolate. Yeah.


    Bookmark   November 13, 2011 at 6:27PM
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Seagrass, you made me smile with the "old hippie" reference. That's what my kids call me and I remind them that I'm not THAT old, geez.

When my Aunt Ronni had her mastectomy, nothing tasted good except chocolate milk, I think she lived on it. Nothing I could cook, bake or buy sounded good, except that chocolate milk, so maybe chocolate really does have medicinal qualities.

I think the hats and scarves are a good idea, it's getting cold here, as well as a funny video or two, something family friendly since she has small children. I think letters and cards with maybe an occasional "I'm thinking of you" surprise would be nice, not overwhelming but enough to let her know you're thinking of her.

Good luck to your friend and her family, she (and they) will be in my prayers.


    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 3:16PM
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Does she have other family/friends that are far away?

Calling cards might be nice so she can call really cheap and talk as long as she needs to people who care, including you!!!

There are many out there. I use one from that is about $20 for 2000 minutes.


    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 4:59PM
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I'm with Linnea...thinking-of-you cards or a phone call after the furor is over mean a lot. I didn't do chemo either, so I can't add to the suggestions. I powered through 40 miles to radiation, then 50 miles back to work. It was after that when I crashed and burned. Restorative is good. Music is a wonderful idea. Are there any yoga classes near her? Maybe a gift certificate? It helped me deal with the stress (still does!). Aromatherapy? Herbal teas, bath salts....

I hope your friend will be fine. Just knowing you're thinking of her will mean a lot.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 7:53PM
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They're like family to me. If I lived less than 600 miles away I could show up and watch the kids, make dinner, run errands, do cleaning, whatever. That's the frustrating thing, I feel most comfortable doing rather than talking, but words and material items are the only things that can bridge the distance right now. I'm sure she will appreciate whatever thoughts I send her way, but for me this is so frustrating! Well, all you can do is all you can do!

    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 9:49PM
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I love that ponytail hat. I can certainly understand not wanting to wear a wig, and that seems like the perfect thing.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 10:11PM
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The movie idea reminded me of a funny story. My DH had a co-worker whose mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. This was several years ago. She decided to take her mom to a chick flick to cheer her up, Without knowing anything about it other than it had Shirley Maclaine, who her mother adored, she took her to see Terms of Endearment. When the movie was over, her mother told her that she didn't need any more cheering up!

I guess just make sure if you give a movie, to screen it first. lol

LPink, I wish your friend wasn't going through this, and I wish you weren't either. I'll keep you both in my thoughts.


    Bookmark   November 17, 2011 at 10:15AM
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How about a shawl or light blanket? My friend was always chilled during her chemo so I knit her a shawl - NOT in pink! Did the same for a friend undergoing dialysis and included a tote bag in a fun color to carry it to treatments. She also loved light cotton gloves and unscented hand lotion as her skin was dried out and her hands were always cold.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2011 at 9:53PM
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