How to Offer Support During Chemo
"A dear friend gave me a blank, lined notebook early on. I used it to take notes about treatments, medications, to write down my nurses' names, etc. I also loved when someone would talk with me about anything other than cancer. That's what I try to do for others now."~ Martha
It's been 10 years since we were supporting my dad through his chemotherapy, but my tears still come easily when I hear of friends or loved ones who are starting treatments. I always find myself feeling grateful for the hope that treatment provides, but I also remember how hard it is to see a loved one endure what is required.
If you are planning to be the support person for a friend or family member who is starting chemo (and you don't know what to expect) or you have a friend who is currently going through treatment, you can show your support by being prepared for what they might need during each several hour long treatment session.
Below is a list of items you might want to take along to the cancer center on treatment days when you are the support person. Even if you're not the support person, you could drop off some of these items in a cheerful tote on your friend's porch. Sometimes it's difficult to know how to offer support, but when you have ideas from someone who has been there, helping becomes easier.
- Gum or flavored candy (strong flavors like Big Red gum and Lemonhead candy) to provide a pleasant taste in the mouth
- Water and ginger ale (the ginger helps with nausea)
- Ginger candies
- Snacks like protein bars, crackers, and pretzels
- iPad and ear buds (to play music or watch a show)
- Hand sanitizer
- Disposable toothbrush and a small tube of toothpaste
- Beeswax lip balm (better than petroleum-based because it doesn't block pores)
- Decorative notebook
- A puzzle book, CDC? By William Steig is a favorite of ours
- Fidget toys, we like Nee Doh
- A book to read aloud or favorite magazines
- Warm socks
- A favorite cozy blanket (this is a favorite of mine - it's a nice size and so, so soft)
- A homemade fleece blanket in a fun or meaningful pattern
- Something to keep you busy if your friend is resting during treatment
- An easily accessible bag/small container in the car if nausea sets in on the ride home
- Crossword puzzles and pencil with a good eraser
- Something to share with the chemo nurses (even homemade treats)
Please let us know what else we could add to this list. Thanks!
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