Emma Betts is 24. She’s a wife, a daughter, a sister, a crazy dog-lady, a lover of pavlova, a former international aid and development worker, and current writer/blogger/advocate. She also has terminal melanoma and writes a blog called Dear Melanoma.
The Dear Melanoma Facebook Page went off last night. I felt like I was back to the evening when we had a mighty fine conversation about the stupid things people like to tell someone who has cancer – what a hilarious night it was! Last night I asked the Dear Melanoma community what they think should be in a ‘care package’ for people with cancer.
How did this come about? Well, as many of you know, I work one day a week at a fab little gift shop in Brisbane. I often have people come in to work and ask for advice on what to give a friend who is sick and I normally just point them in the right direction and make some suggestions. I often will not tell them my personal situation.
However, on Monday a lady came in and asked for help – she wanted to put a care package together for a friend who was about to start chemo. She was at a complete loss of how to support her friend and this was the perfect thing to show her love and support.
I don’t know what it was about this lady, but I told her I was undergoing treatment for cancer. I was enthusiastic about the idea of putting together a box of goodies for a lady I had never met, but felt an amazing connection with. So off we went for a wander around the shop choosing some great gifts and we also discussed some other items that were, in my opinion, essentials (i.e a colouring book and green sparkly slippers!).
So as promised, here is a very long list of my ideas, as well as the fabulous ideas that YOU have shared.
– Adult colouring in books and pencils
– Gratitude book (I completely failed at completing a gratitude book, but has worked for lots of friends)
– iTunes, amazon, book vouchers
– Hot water bottle to get those veins working
– Moo Goo (especially for patients going through radiation)
– Lip balm
– Hand cream
– Crossword/Sudoku books
– Munchies (chocolate, lollies etc)
– Comfortable earphones
– Crochet/knitting materials
– Herbal tea bags
– Eye mask
– A pair of fab PJs for those overnight stays
– Dressing gown
– Plastic cutlery to help with the metallic taste some chemos give
– Candle (scents that aren’t too strong)
– Soap, bath bomb, bath salts for post treatment relaxation
– Pamper vouchers (massage, pedi, mani etc)
– Pre-paid internet stick
– Home cooked meals for extended hospital visits or for home
– A dress that works with IV lines and any other lines coming out of your body. I left this one until last because it is by far the best gift I have been given for extended hospital stays (thank you to my darling sister!). I was given a fab Eb & Ive maxi dress before I had my lymph nodes removed.
As you can see from the picture the tie up at the top of the dress allows you to undo it and dodge your IV line or drains. I had my drain under my arm for two weeks and it was limiting! A dress is also fab for other reasons – sometimes your body just doesn’t agree with you and you have to have some tubes up places that you don’t want to think about. PANTS DON’T WORK PEOPLE. Look for dresses and nighties – avoid pants.