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patsylabrador

Help please. Care package ideas.

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My sister has recently been diagnosed with hodgkin's lymphoma and will start chemotherapy tomorrow. I'm reading everything I can and although it's very treatable she is both in her sixties and has type 1 diabetes which I think I'm right in saying makes a grim situation worse. 

I thought I'd send her regular care packages. I can't visit and anyway we've become pretty estranged. I've got in touch but want to do more. 

The thing is that I have zero knowledge of how someone feels at this stage and what would be good things to receive in the post or even if it's a good idea in the first place. What is someone's skin or energy like. It's a minefield and I don't know where to tread. So I would be very grateful for ideas. We're very different characters, she's more like a rose to my daffodil if you know what I mean. I'd like to send her pretty, delicate kind of things. 

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Oh PL, sorry to hear that news. How very lovely that you are researching things to brighten her day up - I wish I had a sister like you!

Personally I am a great fan of L'Occitane....they have lots of lovely treats and do a selection of things in pretty bags. Lots of floral scents.....I love their lavender but they have rose, cherry etc too. If she likes flowers then I'd really shout out for Bloom and Wild and their letterbox flowers. As the name implies, they are boxed to fit through a letterbox and come with ideas on how to arrange them. I use them for OH's dotty old aunt and neurotic step mother (but don't tell anyone I said that!!!)

Having said all that, she may not cope very well with strong scents as chemo can make you feel icky and sensitive to strong smells....but might not. It's very individual. Not On The High Street have some very individual things (as the name suggests!!) so may be worth a trawl? Is she a scarf person? Seasalt have some nice ones, if so. Their handybands are tube scarves that can be pulled up over the face in lieu of a mask.

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Sorry to read this about your sister - what about a firm sending a meal round once a week to save them cooking!

 

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I’ve had several cycles of chemo.  Each type of chemo has different side effects and each person reacts differently so it’s not easy to generalise.  I think there is a website with suggestions for gifts for people on chemo. Google it.   My best presents included Berts Bees Lip salve, body lotion, body wash, shampoo.  Problem now is the smell brings back memories I’d rather forget so can’t use it anymore!   I also used Atrixo hand cream as my Chemo had the side effect of peeling and tingling hands.  Also, a holder for my IPad so I could use it lying down.   

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Just remembered from Reading Soapy’s reply.  Scarves, long and silky.. Can’t have too many.  Wrap round your arm to keep it warm so they can find a vein, and round your face when cold air is uncomfortable.  And they’re pretty!   Food wouldn’t have helped me.   I had to eat little and often to get round the sickness.  Amazing what you forget though 

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I'm trying to send regular useful things to a friend going through very intensive radiotherapy + chemo at the moment so have been looking into what might help

various places sell queasydrops which are sweets designed to help with queasy feeling

good quality ginger beer can also help with queasiness I sent this when she first complained of queasiness  https://smile.amazon.co.uk/Belvoir-Fruit-Farms-Ginger-250ml/dp/B07TG56TVD/ref=sxts_sxwds-bia-wc-p13n1_0?cv_ct_cx=Ginger+beer&dchild=1&keywords=Ginger+beer&pd_rd_i=B07TG56TVD&pd_rd_r=9bc7a947-7621-4c7e-88df-919699da4b6b&pd_rd_w=VFFlF&pd_rd_wg=tqzbb&pf_rd_p=fd5dad59-261a-423d-9e6c-7be719d7fb65&pf_rd_r=9FJHAAE6GH93DXJQ7FGZ&psc=1&qid=1594037107&sr=1-1-91e9aa57-911e-4628-99b3-09163b7d9294 

For Radiotherapy you have to be careful what you use on your skin, not sure if it's the same for chemo but I'd avoid non scented. I sent creams from MooGoo which were very well received as her treatment started so quickly she hadn't had time to buy any.  https://moogooskincare.co.uk/ 

your local pharmacist may have other options in store

non scented natural soaps (lots out there)

my friend is now having problems sleeping so I sent https://www.thewhitecompany.com/uk/Sleep-Diffuser/p/SLDDF?swatch=No+Colour (search online for current discount codes, I got 10%off with code)

There are chemo gift packs out there as well, another friend sent one (which included the queasy drops)

Be careful about books particularly if buying off Amazon and not able to check the blurb, my friend was sent one book on positive thinking for cancer 🙄 (by someone else) where the blurb on the back talked about having terminal cancer 

 

I'll be checking back in for everyone else's ideas

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I'll probably look for a pretty lightweight shawl next, hospitals can be chilly with the ac 

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Its a lovely idea PL, and I think this could be a very useful thread.  I don't have direct experience but when my Dad had radiotherapy and chemo, his sense of taste was completely off, and so food was no longer a pleasure.  I also get the caution around smells from anything and personally I'd steer clear unless there is something you know she likes or feels like she wants to explore.  I like the practical ideas about scarves and shawls and I might think about things to make the bedroom, or wherever your sister is relaxing/recuperating/sleeping, into as calming and welcoming a space as possible.  Flowers if she likes them, always make you think somebody is thinking about you, not for the scent, but the colour and cheer.  Does she have comfortable earphones if she likes to listen to music/radio, or would a TV help?  I know this might sound idiotic, but I think I'd value a really good pillow(s) for sleep and sitting up in bed, and nice bedlinen if I didn't already have it, because that makes me feel good, assuming there is somebody around to do the chores.  Also I have a selection of lightweight and heavyweight blankets and throws for the winter, on the sofa.  I know my Dad felt the cold a lot, and took to wearing a sleeveless gilet a lot, so he had a few of those, or perhaps a poncho, I like the feeling of being cocooned.  I'm sure a card/letter/photos or regular email bulletin might cheer her up as well.  Bedsocks?   I'm sure the knowledge that you are taking time to think about her and do some nice things for her, will be worth its weight in gold.

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So sorry to hear this too. My daughter when she was very ill last year enjoyed adult colouring books. She couldn’t settle to watch TV or read but she found colouring in very relaxing. 
Perhaps  a journal where she can note things the doctor/nurse says, treatments,side effects and her own thoughts. Sometimes you get home and can’t remember all the bits you were told. Lip balm was also something she liked and wet hand wipes.

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What about those audiobooks? Something to listen too and get your mind of things, without having to focus too much. Some websites offer coupons for a number of books of their own choice.

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Yes!  That’s the one.  Great ideas on here.   By the way, one thing that REALLY irritated me when I was on chemo, was constantly being asked ‘How ARE you?’usually said with a pitying tone.   I don’t think any of you would do that but many people do.   Or cross the road, or disappear - in case it’s catching. 

Frankly, I never wanted to go into a long discussion of my woes.  What I wanted was to be treated as normal, hear about current news, not pussy footed around or pitied.  The problem I found, and to some extent still find, even though I’ve been in remission for 5 years, is that you become defined by your cancer.  You’re still the same person.  

So, once you’ve given that gift, forget the cancer, and just go back to normal interactions.  Please. 

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Patricia W, that is very good to know. I didn't want to avoid the subject but equally I thought that maybe with someone she's not especially close to like me for example, it would be nice to talk about other normal things. We had a good text convo about Downton Abbey yesterday which was good fun. I think that's the way forward for me. 

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