Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Cancer Sucks

For my day job, I work in the Oncology department at a local hospital. I am the Health Educator over several hospitals. I plan patient programs and focus on community outreach. I help plan screening and prevention programs. I also manage a patient education library and help patients find information on their cancer, side effects, etc. All this connection with cancer patients, yet I've never had anyone really close to me with cancer. Until recently.

One of my friends and neighbors was recently diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer. Watching her go through surgery and treatment has changed my perspective on cancer. I wanted to do something for her while she is going through Chemotherapy. Since I have access to such great information and am aware of some of the common side effects of Chemotherapy, I decided to put together a Chemo Survival Kit of her. I thought I'd post what I included in the Kit in case it's helpful for anyone else out there.

Chemo Survival Kit

I bought a simple bag to put it all in. It's a re-uable shopping bag. I made a basic sign for the front.

The contents include lots of things to help ease the symptoms associated with chemotherapy. Each one included a little note to explain what it is and why it's included. Inside the kit is:
  •  A funny book that has nothing to do with Chemo. It's actually this book. Hilarious book about parenting.
  • A pretty scarf for when she looses her hair.
  • Plastic utensils to help with the metallic taste patients often get.
  • Educational materials because it's my job and I couldn't not include it.
  • Hard candy to help with mouth sores.
  • A small pillow (because hospital pillows suck)

  • Ginger tea to help with nausea.
  • Chapstick for chapped lips
  • A trashy magazine to keep up on celebrities and help pass the time.
  • Love Notes: This is one of my favorite parts. I asked friends and neighbors to write notes of encouragement and tied them together with a pretty ribbon. I was hopeful that it would help lift her spirits and feel loved during treatment

My friend really liked it and told me it was helpful. I enjoyed making it and felt like it was something I could do to be helpful during a time when there's not a lot someone else can do to take the burden.


Jessica G. said...

Awesome, awesome idea! As a cancer survivor, I definitely agree that cancer totally sucks.
(I tried to pin it but it wouldn't work so I will try later!)

Start A Dollar Store said...

How do you manage an interesting blog like this? I really enjoyed this one. You've got an amazing blog. More power to you:-)

Jessica said...

I can't figure out the Pin thing. I'm working on it, but this is a new thing for me.

Snarky Belle said...

I love this idea!!! Thanks so much for sharing. I'd love to get a group together, have everyone put one together, then deliver several to a hospital for them to give their patients. Thanks for the inspiration!

Mik said...

What a wonderful idea. I lost my mom to cancer when I was 19, and she would've loved something like this. I've been thinking of things to do with my kids as a way to give back and I think this is the perfect idea. Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I did this once and included very dark nailpolish which my Mum used to protect her nails during chemo.

Susan Jones said...

As a 5 year cancer patient I recommend Cottonelle wipes. They are a lifesaver. Along with Imodium. Gross but true!

robbie @ going green mama said...

I love this idea. We are going to do this as a scout troop for our Family Of God award, and it's perfect since one of the dads has been going through multiple rounds of chemo!

Anonymous said...

What a great idea! When my sister in-law was going through her treatment I went out a bought small token gifts and wrapped them up in pretty paper and so that way she had a gift to open either before, during or after her chemo treatment. I think she loved it. Thank you

Denverkat276 said...

I know this is a couple of years old, but this is a terrific idea. I have stage 4 ovarian myself. I hope your friend is doing well. From when this was posted, it appears that we were diagnosed around the same time.

I would also include some house slippers or house socks. I got terrible neuropathy in my legs and feet. My feet always felt cold.

Fortunately, I haven't had to have chemo in over a year and a half. I have a bag that I take with me when I go and it's similar. You're a very good friend.

Anonymous said...

I think this is a wonderful idea. Thank you for sharing.
i do hope your friend is doing well.

Shegufta Anam said...

Hello, it is a great idea. I am a cancer survivor. The thoughtfulness of the idea makes me moved, emotional, touched.

I wrote o fmyself in a blog www.adhunika.com as story of Shegufta.

Cancer is penetrating trauma.

Be aware, get cheeked.

Allah helps us all.

Joan Meyers said...

Thank you so much for this idea and a thanks to all how posted comments for additional items to put in the bags. I lost both of my parents to cancer. I love this idea to give back to those who are going through this horrible disease. I am going to present this idea to your women's group at church! Thanks again,

Sashiko said...

your friend is very lucky, because when I was diagnosed ten years ago, my two siblings and ALL my so called friends, walked out the door!, a very difficult and scary journey alone. But I made it.