18 Gifts for Someone Going Through Chemo and Radiation

Someone you love has cancer.  You may have no idea what to say or do.

They are facing chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, biologic or immune therapy. Or, all the above.

You want to help.  Here are some awesome, inexpensive ways you can.

Gifts that Help the Family

Treatment is just as stressful on the people who live with the patient as it is on the patient.

1. Prepare a meal.  Frozen casseroles are great because the family can heat and eat as needed.

2.  Arrange for a housekeeper through a charitable organization such as Cleaning for a Reason.

Gifts that Help Ease Nausea and Dry Mouth

Nausea is probably the most common side effect of chemotherapy.  Dry mouth and mouth sores, often painful, are also common side effects of many chemo drugs.  These gifts help nausea, and dry mouth:

3.  Peppermint – peppermint essential oil, peppermint tea, peppermint candy.

4.  Ginger – ginger syrup, ginger chews, crystallized ginger, ginger tea, ginger essential oil.  I find ginger honey crystals dissolved in warm water quite soothing.

5.  Throat Drops

6.  Biotene Mouth Spray

Biotene Moisturizing Mouth Spray eases dry mouth that may occur during chemotherapy treatment.

Biotene Moisturizing Mouth Spray eases dry mouth that may occur during chemotherapy treatment.

Gifts that Ease Pain and Discomfort

Another common side effect of chemo is Peripheral Neuropathy, nerve damage that causes pain, tingling, numbness, especially in the feet and hands.  Dry skin, lips, and eyes are also common.  Chemo patients are often cold.

7.  Foot Massage – a wooden massage roller is nice, too.

8.  Epsom Salt

9.  Pain Relief rubs or patches

10.  Essential Oil Blends for pain or relaxation

11.  Lip Balm

12.  Hand Lotion

13.  Eye Drops

14.  Warm fuzzy slipper socks.  They are like a hug for your feet.

Warm, fuzzy slipper socks are like a hug for the feet of a chemo patient.

Warm, fuzzy slipper socks are like a hug for the feet of a chemo patient.

Gifts for Taboo Side Effects

There are also some side effect from chemotherapy that the patient is not comfortable sharing.  For example: constipation, diarrhea, and hair loss.

15.  Hats and head scarves to keep the head warm.

16.  Dried fruit like prunes and dates to ease constipation.

17.  Moist Flushable Cleansing Wipes – dry toilette paper can be irritating.

18.  Travel Tissue Packs – because nose hairs fall out, too.

Pocket packs of tissue are a great gift to someone going through chemotherapy suffering from hair loss. Nose hairs fall out, too!

Pocket packs of tissue are a great gift to someone with hair loss from chemotherapy. Nose hairs fall out, too!

Final Word

Even the smallest gesture is appreciated by someone going through cancer treatment. It is an exhausting and emotional experience.

A huge note of thanks to my friend Stephanne Davenport. She dropped of two delicious meals, plus a bag full of useful goodies, after my most recent chemo treatment.  #FluffyKitty approved.

#FluffyKitty thinks he is a male model.

#FluffyKitty is the spokes model for these great gifts for someone going through chemotherapy and radiation.

How to Write a Thank You Card

In 2014 Mark Zuckerberg made a resolution to write a thank you card to one new person, outside of Facebook, each day.  That’s 365 thank you cards.

If the idea of writing 365 thank you cards has you tongue-tied, you are not alone!  Many people struggle with how to write a thank you card.

It doesn’t have to be hard.  A thank you note isn’t a novel.  It’s short, simple and to the point.  Four or five sentences are all you need!  Be genuine.  That’s it.

What to Write in a Thank You Card

Need more help?

The folks over at Your Dictionary have created a list of go to phrases to use in thank you cards from a simple note of appreciation to gratitude for a wedding gift.

Sample sentiments include:

  • I will always remember how you helped me to get this wonderful opportunity.
  • Thanks so much for taking the time out of your schedule to come over.
  • Thank you again for inviting us into your lovely home.
  • We love our beautiful new gift and we cannot thank you enough for your thoughtfulness.

See the complete list of thank you card examples at Your Dictionary.

Tips on how to write a thank you card. Click To Tweet
Words to the Rescue

Words to the Rescue by Steve Fadie

Words to the Rescue

If you are still tongue-tied after perusing the tips over at Your Dictionary, or you just want more ideas, then Words to the Rescue by Steve Fadie is worth checking out. It contains over 1000 sentiments to write in greeting cards. The book is available to send with a card through my online greeting card and gift shop.

SPECIAL OFFER for new clients:  Send Words to the Rescue to yourself, or anyone, for less than half-price when you contact me for a free relationship marketing consultation.  Offer good through January 31, 2015.

A side-note on how small this world really is…  One of my clients once called me to tell me that she saw this book in the gift shop and that Steve Fadie is an old friend of hers.

Relationship Marketing Tip of the Day

Not to beat a dead horse, but if someone does something nice for you, send them a thank you card.  Seriously.  Mary Kay Ash was right when she said that people walk around with an invisible sign around their necks that says “make me feel appreciated.”  When you make people feel appreciated, they appreciate you.  You bet your bottom dollar that the next time that person to whom you sent the card needs what you have,  they will call you first.  And that, ladies and gentleman, is how relationships grow your business.

More from Gratitude Geek

Two Meditations for Breast Cancer Patients Who Don’t Meditate | Battling Bertha

During our podcast on natural cancer therapies, Ann Fonfa mentions meditation as a breast cancer therapy, and then admits she does not meditate, as it is hard for her to slow down.

I have the same issue with meditation.  I want to do it.  I know I need to do it.  My brain just doesn’t want to turn off.

My friend Melissa Moog is the owner of Itsabelly Baby Planners in Portland, Oregon.  She suffered a stroke around the same time I was diagnosed with breast cancer and says that meditation is really helping her.  I can only wish.

If you want to be inspired, you should follow Melissa on Twitter.

While I never sit in silent meditation, I did learn two mantras over a decade ago from Lisa, my first yoga instructor, that I will often repeat while breathing slowly.  This was especially helpful during radiation therapy.

2 meditations for breast #cancer patients who don't #meditate. #healthy #blogboost Click To Tweet

The first, my favorite, is an ancient Tibetan blessing:

May I be filled with loving kindness.May (1)

May I be filled with loving kindness.
May I be well.
May I be peaceful and at ease.
May I be happy.

Change the “I” to “you”to bless others. Consider using this blessing on people who piss you off. It is rather cathartic to release anger in such a peaceful way.

The second meditation for breast cancer patients is a poem from Thich Nhat Hanh’s Being Peace (affiliate link).

Breathing in, I calm my body.Breathing

Breathing in, I calm my body.
Breathing out, I smile.
Dwelling in the present moment
I know this is a wonderful moment.

Accept and allow that right now is right now and it is wonderful.

If you are like me, and find it difficult to sit in silence, I hope these two meditations for breast cancer will inspire you to breathe in calm, breathe out fear, and live in the present moment.

All is well!

More from Gratitude Geek


This article is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians. The reader should regularly consult a physician in matters relating to his/her health and particularly with respect to any symptoms that may require diagnosis or medical attention.

Treat every client like you are working with a celebrity.

3 Tips for Working with Celebrities

Working with Celebrities

This is not a post about marketing or advertising to celebrities.  Quite frankly, my husband and I have worked with all sorts of film, television, design and music superstars but we are not quite sure HOW they found our niche custom furniture website.

Google changes their algorithms so often, it is hard to keep up with the latest search engine optimization protocols.  At times, it feels like we are just throwing keywords at the internet and hoping one of them sticks.

This post is about what to do once you have that celebrity on the phone or in your store.  Here are my top three tips after working with celebrities for 15 years:

1.  Act Naturally

Be yourself.  Do not put on airs and pretenses.  Just relax and act naturally.  Answer questions honestly and above all, be polite.

Not long after we launched our online custom furniture business (in 1999), I answered a call from a potential client who had a few questions about bookcases.   We had a very friendly conversation, I answered each of her questions, and she decided to order paint finish samples so she could coordinate with her color palette.  It was a very typical call, much like every other potential sales call,  except this potential client was Adrienne Barbeau.

A few weeks later, Ms. Barbeau called back to order her custom bookcase, apologizing for taking so long to get back to me.  She had been “on location”.

The key to working with celebrities?  Treat every client like a star!

The key to working with celebrities? Treat every client like a star!

2.  Respect Their Privacy

I asked Ms. Barbeau for permission to use her name on our website, which she granted.  Many celebrities want their privacy respected, and so I will not name drop just to impress you.   And if you are lucky enough to do business with a celebrity, I highly recommend asking permission before you send out any press releases.

I have fielded sales calls from celebrities across the board, including the dynamic design duo Mark Badgley and James Mischka, whose Kentucky home was featured in Elle Decor magazine shortly after the custom bed we made for them was delivered.  The bed is the featured image in the online version of the article.  Elle Decor called to ask us for specific product and company information before the article was published.  If the celebrity mentions you by name, it’s okay to mention them, too.

Some celebrities guard their privacy closely.  One client in particular had her assistant set up telephone appointments with me in advance of calling.  I was told by the assistant in no uncertain terms that her privacy was paramount.

Always ask permission to publicize a celebrity’s name in your marketing.

We asked Tate Taylor, director of “The Help” and “Get on Up”, for permission to use his name, and he sent us a raving testimonial plus photos of the bed we made for him in his home!

3.  Send a Thank You Card

A few years later, Mr. Taylor contacted us because he was moving and needed some minor repairs done to his bed.  Upon return of the repaired bed, he sent us a lovely handwritten note of appreciation.

If you have been following this blog, you know that I am a champion of the thank you card habit.  After every sale, a thank you card should be sent to the client, celebrity or not.

It’s classy and memorable.

Remember the star who needed her privacy protected?  I sent her a thank you card and gift.   A few weeks later she called to rave about my husband’s work and ordered more custom furniture.

Every Client is a Star

It is phenomenal doing business with celebrities.  Loads of fun.  But guess what?  Every client who walks through your doors needs to be treated like a super star.   Tips 1, 2 and 3 apply to all of your clients, celebrity or not.

Leave a comment or question below.  I’d love your feedback.