Sunday, April 13, 2014

What To Include In A Chemo & Radiation Therapy Cancer Care Package

Hello blog readers.  Recently, I did some research to find out what a person would need while they are undergoing cancer treatments.  I wanted to do my best job to include items that would help to comfort my mother-in-law during the treatments that were starting soon for her. I also wanted to put together a care package basket for her to let her know that we were thinking of her and wanting to help her out as much as we could. As I write this post, she is currently in her third week of radiation and chemotherapy to help battle her lung cancer.  She may even need more chemo and radiation after these first six weeks. grrr :(  The scans that she will have in about a month will help to decide that fate. No matter what, it will be a long and uncomfortable road ahead for sure! I feel so bad for her and I want to help her out as much as I can.  God knows that she is a wonderful person, mother-in-law and grandmother to my two boys.  I just need her to be here for us for many more years to come!

After doing some research, I realized that the information on what to include in a cancer treatment care package was not super easy to come by, so with this newly acquired knowledge of mine, I have decided to make this post.  I hope that it may help out someone else out there who would like to also put together a cancer care package for someone that they know and love too.  I know this is totally off the subject of speech therapy, but shucks, this blog is about trying to help other's and if this post can help out someone in any way, than that knowledge will make my day!

As I write this I would like to kindly ask that everyone out there send comforting thoughts and prayers to all of the people in this world that are battling cancer.  It is a difficult diagnosis that requires some very trying therapies to try to beat it.  So many of the treatments available today do end up helping out tremendously though and that is the encouraging part of this whole story.  The treatments are hard to endure, however, and as our loved ones go through chemo and radiations treatments, I hope that we can help comfort and support them as much as we can.

Here's the list of items included in my mother-in-laws care package and why I included them.  Thanks for stopping by Twin Speech, Language & Literacy LLC today.
Best wishes,

 Bath gels, bath bubbles and lotion. Here is a picture of some bubble bath, lotion and bath gel for those times when she needs to just relax alone with a warm bubble bath. I did read that lotions and bubbles without fragrance are often the preferred choice for patients.

 Light Reading Magazines:   These are so she can have fun flipping through the pages of a magazine, but not have to worry about remembering all of the details that would be included in a long book.  Sometimes a person's memory can be effected for the short term during chemo therapy treatments.  The drugs given can make patients more forgetful.  These mags are light reading and are meant to add some fun to her      day.

Puzzles & Playing Cards: These are to help pass the time!  She loves to play cards with her girlfriends, and she is very good at crossword puzzles.  She can do very difficult puzzles.  These are medium level puzzles as I want her to have fun and fill in the answers and not get frustrated and stuck on too many.

These are Queasy Pops and they are something to have to help to ease an upset stomach.  She can slowly suck on each one and that will give her something to keep herself a bit busy while she waits for her chemo treatment to end.  I like that they come in a variety of flavors and they are made from natural ingredients. Unfortunately, chemo therapy does result in upset stomachs and nausea sometimes.

The hard candies are to help offset the dry mouth and yucky taste in the mouth that happens because of the chemo.  The black licorice is a treat for her.  That is her favorite kind of candy!  The chocolate is a stronger kind of chocolate.  This is also a treat and I read that taste buds start to lighten up during the treatments and that stronger tasting foods are better and help to offset the blandness of foods.  So, dark chocolates, mints and strong tasting black licorice may still taste good to her. 

This is a picture of Biotene and a sore mouth rinse by Colgate.  The dry mouth symptom is a commonly reported one for patients undergoing cancer treatments.  I hope that the Biotene helps her out!  The Colgate rinse should help to clean and soothe her mouth if she starts to get sores.  

Not pictured: WATER!  I gave her several bottles of water and I plan to buy her a new cool water bottle. This is to encourage her to sip water all day to help offset the dehydration that will be happening from the drugs. 

Salty snacks: She loves nuts and these have extra sea salt on them!  I heard that the steroids that are given during the treatments really make you crave salty foods.  Thus, the salty crackers and salty nuts shown! I also gave her some potato chips that I know she likes.  She deserves these salty treats!

Here are soft silky socks and a new pair of slippers.  These are to keep her feet warm and cozy and most of all, comfortable during her chemo treatments.  I hope she feels like she can take off her uncomfortable shoes and slip these puppies on.  If she doesn't want to wear the slippers, she could just also walk around in the socks because they have grippers on the bottom. 

Here is a picture of Eucerin.  This is a nice thing to apply to her radiation area that will become red and sore and I hope it helps to heal the area and to soothe the pain there.  Also, I included some all natural healing salve called Green Goo, and several Chapsticks to help soothe her dry lips. 

Here is a picture of some of the food that I gave to her.  I also plan to make some homemade chicken noodle and beef noodle soups this week, as I know she likes those kinds very much and she loves the homemade variety much more.  Also, we are starting to put together small meals for her that can be put in a container and frozen.  That way, she can just take out a container and un-thaw it easily in the microwave when she feels like eating.  I'm including a lot of healthy vegetables for the vitamins, a little extra salt and seasonings to help spice up the blandness that she may be tasting with all her foods due to her dulled taste buds, and meat to give her body some much needed protein to help build up her muscle strength. 

Items not pictures, but that would also be great to include:

A soft blanket for the person to use as they sit in a cold treatment room during their long IV runs of the chemo therapy and to also have for comfort at home when they feel chilly.  Make sure it is soft and warm and not rough at all.  A handmade blanket would be a very nice gift for your loved one. 

Gift cards for restaurants, iTunes, Amazon, Target, Walgreen etc..  Cooking could turn into a tiring endeavor and the smells that come from it may be nauseating.  Buying a restaurant gift card would be nice to help bring food to the household but in a easy and quick way.  The iTunes gift card can help to bring some new songs, apps or movies for watching and listening to on a person's iPad or iPhone. The Amazon gift card is perfect for buying some new books or games to a Kindle or for even for buying something that you need from Amazon on-line.  Ordering on- line is a nice alternative to having to have to go shopping at a busy and big mall or store. The Target or Walgreens gift cards are ideas to help offset the cost of the medications that will be needed.  Maybe find out where the person picks up there medications and buy a gift card for that store or pharmacy? 

Non-prescription medications. Here is a list of some of non-prescription pharmacy items that someone going through treatments may need too: Tylenol, Motrin, Claritin, Colase and Senakot- I'm sure the list is much longer, but it is start if you want to buy some to add to your care package. 

A gift of a housekeeping service to help clean.  It is best to keep things clean during the treatments and your loved one may not have the energy to clean their house. Radiation and chemotherapy treatments can bring a lot of fatigue to the patient. 

Water bottle and cups with straws.  I read that it is just easier to have straws in cups for drinking when you are in bed and that it is nice to always have water, ginger ale, and juice around to drink.  Chemo therapy makes people VERY thirsty. 

Soft hats and nice scarves.  The softness is essential when the person's hair starts to fall out and they serve as a stylish cover-up. 

Kleenex and hand sanitizer.  The sanitizer is nice to have to help to keep the germs away.  A persons immune system is going to go down during treatments.  Please do not go around a person in treatments you are sick!  The hand sanitizer is to help to protect the patient from outside germs.  The Kleenex will be beneficial for the runny nose that also does occur often during treatments. Here's something to know: low immunity is due to low blood cell counts.and low blood cell counts occur because of the chemotherapy's effect on blood cells made in the bone marrow.  Blood cell counts often reach their lowest level around 7 to 14 days after the start of chemotherapy. Bone marrow suppression is the most common and most serious side effect of chemotherapy.  When it happens, the dose of chemotherapy is adjusted right away!  

Here's a link to read more information about the side effect of chemotherapy: 
Read more:

Cards and hand written notes of encouragement.  Don't forget to add your encouraging words and caring thoughts to your care package.  A hand written message means a lot to people, especially in this electronic age of emails. 

Heating pad, rice bags and ice packs.  These can help to comfort sore muscles and can be very nice to help to relieve mild muscle pain. 

Thank you for reading!  I hope you found this post helpful and God Bless! Manda 


Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing! This is a great post, as I have also wondered what to include in a care package. Prayers to you and others fighting this battle.

Anonymous said...

Many prayers are being said

Julia Likes... said...

I went through chemo a year and a half ago. I consider it my mission in life to tell other cancer patients about a medicine called Debacterol that is literally magic for mouth sores. Your list is great, I can't think of anything else that was helpful for me!

Bwitched66 said...

Great list and I know from experience. I would add water flavorings, antacids, and calendula cream for radiation burns.

Susan said...

Thank you for the list - I have a friend who just started chemo and I feel so helpless as to how to help. I think a care package like this would brighten her day.

Unknown said...

A sleep mask is really helpful to block out bright overhead lights and help you relax.

Unknown said...

Thank you. I to am you g though chemo and it's the hardest thing for me. Trying to eat is nothing nice because everything tastes like metal. So I eat on popsicles jello and I drink on broths soups and ensure or boost

Unknown said...

I have breast cancer


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