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Thread: Care Package for breast cancer patient

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Care Package for breast cancer patient

    You guys always have the best ideas, so here goes...

    My mom was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and is scheduled to have surgery (a lumpechtomy) next week. She's in great spirits, has a very positive outlook, and has the best caretaker (my Dad!) to help her through this. I live about 18 hours away, so I will not see her until several weeks after the surgery when DH and I travel there for my brother's wedding.

    I'm feeling really sad that I can't be there in person, so I would like to at least send her a care package to let her know that I'm thinking of her even if I can't be there. We bought a really cute ceramic frog for her the other day (she loves frogs), and I think I'll also include a photo of mom and me in a pretty frame. It's a recent photo I've been meaning to dupe and frame for her. I'm sort of stumped about other items to include. I don't want to go overboard--just a few more small things. She's a tea drinker, but we included that sort of thing in her Christmas package. She's really not into bath stuff. She loves to read, but I would have no idea what she has and has not read. Any suggestions? Also, does anyone know what to expect recovery-wise from out-patient lumpechtomy?

    TIA!
    -Laura

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
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    Washington
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    How about several brand new magazines? That way you know she has not read them, also that way she can read just a little at a time and take a nap if she is tired.

    The recovery time really varies, I have known a couple of women that have had it, it really depends where it is and if they check the nodes when she is under and if they have to remove them. One had the nodes removed and her lump was right at the bottom of her breast and she was pretty small breasted, she was up and about within a couple of days. The others was really near the arm pit and must have been bigger due to the size of the incision.

    Also maybe a meal ordered & delivered from a local restaurant, that is always nice and I am sure your Dad would also enjoy it.

    Good luck and good thoughts being sent you way. Let us know after.
    Kim E
    Take time to laugh, it's the music of the soul

  3. #3
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    Kim's right, recovery depends a tremendous amount on where the lump is and whether they're doing any axillary node dissection--and also people just bounce back differently. Is she a manicure person? Maybe some nail polishes in nice spring colors, maybe a nice soft 100% cotton top of some sort (undershirt or camisole top, likely she won't want anything scratchy next to her skin for a while), maybe a gift certificate to Blockbuster or Netflix or whatever movie rental place is convenient to them? I like the magazine idea---does she have an iPod by chance? A g.c. for music or downloaded books might be nice, she's likely to be spending a lot of time in various waiting rooms over the post op period.

  4. #4
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    Thanks so much for your ideas, KimE and Gilgamesh! I really appreciate the help. Brand new magazines are a great idea. I'll definitely do that and maybe throw in a Sudoku (sp?) puzzle book as well. (Dad says she's addicted!) I like the idea of a delivered restaurant meal, especially since Dad doesn't cook, but now I'm wondering if they'll already have a zillion casseroles. Mom has so many caring friends in town.

    Gilgamesh, I love your idea of something soft and comfy to wear. I may have to investigate soft pjs or other loungewear. She often gives me that sort of thing, and I believe that you sometimes give the type of gifts you'd like to receive yourself. Unfortunately, fun nail polish probably isn't for her. We're both terrible about maintaining our fingernails! In fact, I'm thinking of making manicure appts. for both of us before my brother's wedding just so we're presentable! Hmmm...maybe I will throw in some good, clear "strengthener" stuff--she goes through phases of nail repair when she's not gardening. As for dvds or music, she's pretty low tech. Every single time I tell her and Dad that we rented a movie, they say "we should do that sometime," then they never, ever do. I don't think they've EVER watched a movie at home!

    Thanks again. Keep the ideas coming!

    -Laura

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    I purchased my SIL a nice lightweight robe that zipped in the front. She really liked it because it made her dressing easier to get to, when it needed to be changed. She also liked it because she ended up having to have a mastectomy and anything any heavier really hurt her.

    I will say a prayer for your mom.
    Joyce
    You may have had a lot of unfair things happen, but when you look back over your life, remember something good that has happened for you. Replay the good memories. Joel Osteen

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
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    In my heaven on earth
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    A couple of points since someone close to me is going through chemo right now for breast cancer. She has an aversion to pink and red (red because of blood and pink because of its relationship to breast cancer) so you might be careful with those colors. I like the something comfy to wear idea too. If she ends up needing to have chemo I'll have lots more ideas for you at that point because of the longer time and more debhilitating (sp?) reactions that occur. My prayers go out to her and your entire family.

    Robyn

  7. #7
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    Tea Forte (http://teaforte.com/) makes some really nice "higher end" teas, I know my Mom loved having ginger tea during chemo since it has a soothing effect on the stomach. What about including crossword puzzles and a pair of "spa socks" by Karen Neuburger (http://shop.karenneuburger.com/Detail.bok?no=278), I think you can find them at Nordstrom.

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Good luck to your Mom!

    Having gone through this very thing 4 years ago, I can tell you that soft things to wear are the best! Does she have to have radiation? Soft sports bras are good, both to protect the skin and the dressing, but also to guard against lymphedema. Radiation can make the skin all over very tender.

    I agree that recovery times vary. Radiation or any medication she will be on will affect this also. Perhaps some "cool packs" that can be reused. If she is on medication, or has been taken off hormones, hot flashes can be a REALLY big problem!

    On the feminine side, manicures or pedicures are nice -- it sure is nice to be reminded that the womanly things are not all affected by the cancer and lumpectomy! Magazines are good. I craved tangelos, of all things!

    My DD me to stay with me during the radiation, and cooked all sorts of good (healthy) things, so dinners sent in would also be good. Mostly, just call and help your dad keep her spirits up... and don't talk about cancer unless she wants to! She (as I'm sure you know) is still the same woman she always was, just a little bit of a part missing!

    Maybe and Amazon gift certificate? That way, she can chose the book she's always wanted to read... or a book about what she's going through...

    I hope this helps! My prayers are with you all!

    Kay

  9. #9
    There have been loads of great ideas so far... I'm taking notes!

    There's one thing that you might be interested in, but you also might not be interested at all... thought I'd throw it in though.

    In the polymer clay world, we have something called "Bottles of Hope" or "Bottles of Caring" which are traditionally made for breast cancer patients (always given free). They're really open ended and you could do them any way you want.


    To read how and why these got started (by a breast cancer patient herself), take a look at this page:
    http://www.scpcg.org/bottlesofhopepage.htm

    Then if you want to see photos lots of them (and learn how to make them too), click on these pages:
    http://www.polymerclaycentral.com/bh_2.html (3 pages altogether)
    http://www.polymerclaycentral.com/boh02_winners.html (5 pages)

    http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/BOH.htm (many more, plus lessons,etc.)

    and here are a few I've made as well:
    http://www.glassattic.com/imagesCANE...ov-BOH/BOH.htm



    Best to your mom!

    Diane B.
    http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/contents.htm
    ---polymer clay "encyclopedia"

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