Chemo Survival Kit

clipart of a woman receiving medication from an IV

I recently found out that my friend’s husband had stage four kidney cancer that would require aggressive chemotherapy. I asked around to cancer survivors about what I could do to help out with the misery of chemo. The most common suggestion was to help with household chores—grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning—but I live too far away and can’t afford to pay for a service on my freelancer budget. But I can send inexpensive gifts! Here are some suggestions.

Mary Ladd recommended:

  •  “A BIG water bottle because chemo makes me sooo thirsty, even days after.”
  • “Warm luxurious socks for when I am sleepy in the immediate hours after chemo” [Lauren’s note: I went with Maggie’s Organics wool snuggle socks. I have a pair and love them.]
  • Nice blanket

Margit Detweiler recommended:

Other suggestions were:

  • very soft sleep mask
  • cooling gel strips for forehead
  • Cooling pillows like a Chillow or Gel’O
  • candied ginger or ginger chews [I sent Prince of Peace ginger chews because I like their tea.]
  • Ensure
  • warm hat with soft lining
  • towel warmer (to warm up clothing)
  • hard candies to suck on [I don’t like candy so I gave my best guess of what would be nice and went with this.]
  • something silly, like cheerful stickers, pulp paperbacks, stuffed animals, dollar store bracelets
  • music streaming gift card

Most of these items mitigate common side effects of chemo: body temperature regulation, nausea, decreased appetite, metallic taste in mouth.

There were many, many suggestions for marijuana edibles or oils. Luckily the person going through chemo lives in Bend, Oregon, where both medical and recreational weed is legal.

If you are reading this because you or a loved one is going through chemo, I wish you comfort and ease.


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