Care package for aunt with cancer

My aunt just began chemo/radiation. I want to send her a care package. Any suggestions for what to include or skip? I can personalize of course but don't want to include, say, chocolate if that's known to make chemo patients nauseous. Or whatever. Thanks!

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I've heard great things about these books:

My sister has given it to two friends with cancer and they carried it everywhere with them. Said it was like their bible.

Sending good wishes!


My dad did a radiation treatment (not chemo) but things he appreciated were notes/postcards that were little daily pick me ups, skin lotion, recommendations for TV shows and podcasts that were distracting (but not as much effort as books), and fun/soft hats.  Foods might be tricky, as his tastes changed all the time, but maybe a tea assortment?  Also, candles could be nice, or bath salts, or a nice soft blanket/soft socks--things that promote relaxation and taking care of yourself.  Very sweet that you're doing this for her!  Just sending a text with a picture of your kids or of you every now and then might be enough.  For my dad, that was his favorite.

Hi, I'm sorry that your aunt is ill. I've found that people really like soft, knitted hats. Preferably cashmere so that it's not itchy. Chemo/Radiation can destroy the bodies ability to regulate temperature and it can be helpful to have a very soft hat to put on. Preferably one that isn't too big so that it can be shoved in a purse or pocket when it isn't needed.

Another thing people seem to like are puzzle and coloring books. Like a book of Soduko or crossword puzzles or an adult coloring book with colored pencils. Anything to kill time that isn't TV.

Food items seem more particular to the person. But some snacks that the person can share with other visitors can be helpful. A nice box of chocolates is generally appreciated even if the patient doesn't feel like eating them.

Best wishes to your family. Your aunt is lucky to have you.

I suggest a very soft warm blanket.  Everyone I know who has gone through chemo has been unusually cold, and appreciated having something new to keep them warm.  I wish a speedy recovery to your aunt!

It is so awesome that you want to think of her at this time. Sometimes friends and family abandon a person with cancer because they don’t know what to say or do. If she is getting both chemo and radiation, eating, swallowing and tasting might be tricky. Because popsicles are hard to send someone, here are other ideas:

- fluffy socks (treatment areas can be cold, medications might cause swelling or sensitivity in feet)

- magazines or a favorite movie 

-Shawl or wrap

-restaurant or food delivery gift cards or coupons

-cleaning service gift card or coupon

-anything homemade like a photo book or pictures of favorite people or places

-pre-stamped thank you cards (might be hard to write with neuropathy)


Another idea is to find a person in the family (maybe you but could be someone else) to be the messenger with treatment updates, status updates, Facebook or caring bridge website updates. It wears the person out to have to tell 20 people what the doctor said for example. 

Finally, do what you can to check your own fears and worries when calling or writing. Focus on being there for her and then get support from friends or other source. Take care

That is very thoughtful of you. I did this with my aunt when she was ill and in a care facility.  I went to Whole Foods and selected some items from their personal care aisles.  Bath salts and lotions scented with essential oils.  Emollient hand and face cream.  Facial wipes and lip gloss.   You could get a lavender eye mask or neck support.  I love the diffusers that could sit on her bed table and she can breathe in a relaxing lavender scent.  

As for food..Nuts, dried fruit, crackers. 

I hope she recovers quickly!

Sorry to hear about your aunt. Cozy socks, lavender and peppermint essential oils, ginger chew candy, and a funny book. Best wishes! 

What does your aunt usually like? I enjoyed some of the graphic novels of the "Cancer Sucks" variety during that time. If she likes mysteries, a couple of new ones would be good (Louise Penny?) Does she like sudoku? If she's likely to lose her hair organic cotton hats/scarves are nice. Food is tricky because tastes change during chemo. If she likes massage or some complementary care modalities, a gift certificate would be great.

If you send a package do it through some method where she isn't stuck having to pick it up. (UPS is a pain in Berkeley for that reason -- if you are not home you have to chase it down. The Postal Service is better around here.)

A phone call every week or two is thoughtful and would give her a chance to keep up with you and family happenings.