A friend of mine is putting together content to be given to friends and family who may be seeking to help out people, like me, who live on their own or are e.g. single parents, but also those seeking to help more widely. She wants to keep the content simple, but would appreciate some feedback on how helpful this seems, especially from those undergoing chemotherapy (what do you want/not want), and as a friend/family what more would you want to know?

infusion pump, saline solution equipment

There are lots of different types of chemotherapy, used to treat different types of cancer. Even cancers occurring at the same site, such as the breast, can vary significantly and will require different chemotherapy drugs to treat them. Therefore, even if you know more than one person who has had chemotherapy, there is a good chance that their experiences will be different.

Chemotherapy doesn’t just affect the cancer, it affects every cell in the body. This can lead to a host of unpleasant side effects- some that can be seen, but many are unseen. Unless you have ever had chemotherapy yourself, it is almost impossible to imagine how someone undergoing chemotherapy treatment will be feeling. On some days, even though they may look OK, the side effects could render them unable to do anything. Things that we take for granted, such as thinking, holding a conversation, sitting up for any length of time, making decisions, even being able to taste food, can all be massively affected by chemotherapy, and the patient may not be able to do any of these on their “poorly days.”

As a friend or relative, the best thing you can do is offer specific, unassuming practical support during these times.

Do

Don’t

Want to help in other ways?

If you’re unable to physically help, then cards and messages (without expectation of reply) are always appreciated. See if your friend has a list, such as an Amazon list, of things that may be helpful. This website has collated some ideas from current cancer patients as to gifts that may make a difference.

Photo by Mikhail Vasilyev on Unsplash

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