Cancer Care Guide: How to Get a Free Chemo Care Package
Posted by SYLVIA NG
How to Get a Free Chemo Care Package
Cancer changes a person’s life really quickly. One doctor’s visit turns into dozens, and before the patient knows it, simple pleasures like family time or hobbies become burdens because of busy schedules and low energy.
But many patients say the hardest changes came when they started their rounds of chemotherapy. Although chemo treats fast-spreading tumors, its side effects are rapidly debilitating. So often, the best way to support a chemo patient is by offering a package that makes their treatment less taxing.
In this article, I’ll give you the rundown of the most helpful gifts to include in a chemo patient care package and show you how you can win a free chemo box for your loved one. Be prepared to take notes!
What is a Chemo Care Package?
You’ve probably seen me mention in other blogs that I didn’t do any chemotherapy for my breast cancer. Yet some of my closest friendships throughout my diagnosis were with people who needed this treatment. And I’ll tell you one thing: chemo is intense.
Hair loss is one of the first side effects everyone thinks of because it’s the most obvious. It’s also the one that gets emotions running high because it causes many women I know to lose their sense of beauty and self-worth. However, other side effects like brain fog, nausea, and fatigue are just as common. Before I got cancer, I used to think that neuropathy was a condition for diabetics only. Then I joined the cancer community and started noticing more and more patients complain about having tingling toes and numbness. Chemo does a number on their nerves, too.
Those are just the tip of the iceberg on chemo after-effects. One of my friends couldn't even sleep because she was so anxious about the changes she was experiencing. Having someone to talk to in those moments really helped her bounce back. But imagine the frustration of patients who feel like they’re dealing with all these new issues on their own.
That’s where your care package comes in: as a small gift to remind your friend or family member that you see what they’re going through and you’re here to help. Elizabeth E., who’s just about to start her next round of chemo for appendix cancer, says: “Just knowing someone thought of me and was praying for me meant the world to me.”
A care package can be great encouragement for patients to stay strong during the most challenging phases of their diagnosis. Sometimes, it even distracts them from the experience.
“What items give that kind of sentiment?” you might ask. I’ll let you in on that secret below.
What Should a Good Chemo Care Package Include?
Ideally, a care package should include items that help patients cope with chemo from all angles – whether they’re at the doctor’s office, back home, or in between treatment appointments. It’s a combination of small gifts that can carry them through this part of their journey.
Your chemo care package can be creative if you want it to be. There are lots of gift options to choose from but it should, ultimately, contain a mix of items from these categories:
- Handwritten cards add extra meaning to any gift you decide to give. They show that you dedicated time to not only buy care items but also to internalize your loved one’s situation. If you’re lost for words, including affirmations on your card can make up for whatever else you think is missing.Never underestimate the power of word therapy. Body changes from cancer can quickly lower patients’ self-esteem and make them feel unlovable. Affectionate notes from a partner or close friends usually help them deal with these insecurities. My husband printed out colorful affirmations on big pieces of paper and posted them all around my house during my treatment, and it worked! Nothing like getting encouragement every time I reached to turn a light on or open a cupboard.
Distractions or Entertainment
- Crossword puzzles help patients pass the time during long doctors’ appointments. Some of them end up lying in bed for days due to treatment-induced nausea. Having content - whether digital or paperback - to entertain and distract them in the comfort of their rooms supports smooth recovery.
Patients can get incredibly anxious before they start their rounds of chemo, so coloring books are great for keeping their minds busy – it’s also one of my favorite resources for art therapy!
- A pair of headphones can be invaluable for patients who prefer to listen to music or watch series on their devices while they’re hooked up for their infusions. And they make the perfect gift for those who practice guided meditation to ease their anxieties.
Relaxation and Mindfulness
- Owning a diary encourages patients to journal their thoughts and feelings throughout their chemo experience. As part of their recovery regimen, therapists sometimes encourage them to make lists of all the things they’d want to do – or get back to doing – once they’re in remission. So by including a diary or tiny notepad, you may actually be helping them mentally heal from cancer traumas.
- To make your package more personal, you could create a mix of guided meditations, maybe with imagery or music that you know your friend or family member enjoys. Then, save it on a flash drive or save it to DropBox or another file sharing service for easy delivery.
- I remember one of my chemo cancer friends complaining about how sick she always felt at night, which really messed with her rest. She swore by getting a diffuser for aromatherapy because rose scents helped with her nausea and would put her to sleep. It might be a good idea to include your package if your friend or family member is open to using essential oils during their treatment.
- Squeezing a stress ball stimulates nerves and balances stress hormones, which helps patients with pain relief. They’re also a substitute for patients who really wish they could grab their supporter’s hand during daunting procedures. I consider it one of the essentials for any cancer package.
- Snacks, candy, and herbal teas work wonders to relieve nausea.- Elizabeth also appreciates whenever someone sends her gifts that make treatment easier. “Soft, creamy chapstick was also nice. Chemo can be so drying, and someone had gifted me an oil which I tried and loved! It was instantly moisturizing.”
Scentless, alcohol-free moisturizers are best for cancer patients since treatment makes them queasy and prone to skin irritations. Coconut oil is a good option for those who prefer mild, natural products.
- One study published in the Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing revealed that deep pressure from weighted blankets could relieve patient anxiety. Some chemo patients also experience neuropathy-induced sensitivity to the cold (cold dysesthesia), but treatment rooms are generally chilly anyway, so blankets are great for any cancer patient.
- Ovarian cancer patient Alison B. got personalized gifts that came in handy when she started treatment. “My sister sent me a cat scarf and a cat top, as I'm cat mad [and] a friend bought me a brightly colored scarf when I was going to lose my hair.” I love that.
- A few caregivers also said warm hats and socks helped keep their loved ones snug and comfy, especially with all the muscle aches that come with taking IV drugs.
- Journals help patients keep records of important details, medications, and doctor’s appointments. Many of them suffer from short-term memory loss and other cognitive symptoms termed collectively as ‘chemobrain.’ So it’s important that they take notes to reference later.
- Face masks are very timely gifts to include. Cancer patients are immunocompromised, making infection control is a top priority.
Where to Find Chemo Care Packages
It’s a sweet gesture to handpick each item in your care package, but we both know that’s not always possible. Cancer shopping can be tedious for patients and supporters. Plus, it can be challenging to find a convenient time to package and ship your gift for yourself.
So here’s a list of convenient online shops that specialize in different boxes your dear one might like:
- Joyful Packages - for adults and children with cancer
- Viva Kits - for managing a multitude of chemo side effects
- Give-A-Care - for breast cancer patient journeys
- Rock the Treatment - for bringing the fun back into patients’ lives
- Humankind Box - for chemo patients, from a chemo patient
- Amidira - for cheerful gifts, backed by research and personal experiences
How to Win a Free Chemo Care Package from Amidira
I founded Amidira because I know how hard cancer gets for so many of us in this community. Every patient deserves the support of a circle.
Every month, we give away a free chemo care package with treatment essentials to keep cancer patients in high spirits during their battle. This could be your chance to win one for your dear chemo friend, too.
We’ve made the process simple – follow Amidira on Instagram, like us on Facebook, then fill out this form so we can learn more about the patient’s story. And voila! You’re in the next draw.
We’ll announce the winner on the last week of the month. We’ll also deliver the box ourselves to complement your sweet gesture and relieve you from drop-off commitments.
Are you in or what? I can’t wait to read your entry!