If you know someone who is a chemotherapy survivor or perhaps just coming to the end of their chemotherapy it is natural to think that a celebration is due. Whilst this true, and it would be good to mark the end with a happy celebration or token of celebration, time for recovery is still needed.
Recovery is still needed
Everyone responds differently, but it can take up to six months for the chemicals to get out of the system after chemotherapy. And people recover from the different chemotherapy side effects at different stages.
- it can take anywhere from about 21 to 28 days for the immune system to recover
- new hair growth starts to be seen approximately two weeks after the end of treatment
- normal taste returns within 1-2 months.
People feel different emotions when cancer treatment ends.
Some people get on with life easily when their treatment finishes and find it easy to put the experience behind them. However, others find the physical and emotional impact of their cancer hits home when it’s all over. They may experience difficult feelings such as anxiety, anger or depression.
What does your friend need when chemotherapy has ended?
You know your friend better than we do, but with the above knowledge a full-blown party, alcohol, champagne are probably not the best things at this stage of your friend’s journey. It might just be a time for them to put their feet up and rest. They may need time to digest what they have been through and look towards the future.
Six suggested gift ideas for you to help your friend
1.Your time and a listening ear
The best gift you can give your friend is your time. They may need you to run errands if they are still suffering from chemo side-effects. They may need to talk things through or just have someone there in silence as company. Being there for comfort and a chat, just to watch some movies together or for practical help is important at this stage. It is common that after chemotherapy or any cancer treatment people feel abandoned. Friends disappear as they think its all over and the medical profession and other support is not as easily available. If you can be there for them at this stage it might be all they need.
2. Home cooking after chemotherapy
Nausea and the bad taste side effects of chemotherapy may still be present for a while after chemo has ended. So you could make some special small, bland meals, appropriate to their needs. We have an article here about chemotherapy nausea and the food that helps. Your home cooking doesn’t just help with the continued symptoms, it also shows that you are still there for them even after treatment.
3. Celebratory uplifting/motivational/inspirational gifts
There are many suitable gifts big and small that provide a bit of humour and motivation/inspiration for someone recovering from chemotherapy.
Our ‘you can’t scare me badge’ picture here is available in our ‘End of Chemotherapy‘ gift box.
4. Comforting and pampering gifts for a chemotherapy survivor
The comfort of a soft neck pillow or the pampering of a foot massage can ease the stress and slowly bring your friend back to a peaceful place. Soft music for calm perhaps? A meditation candle? Pampering and comfort items should do a treat at this stage. But avoid anything strong smelling for now as they may still have chemotherapy nausea. And stay off the chocolates, rich and sugary foods unless they tell you they are OK.
5. Practical items to help your friend heal
Everyone is different and everyone heals at different stages. There is no right gift for healing. If you can’t judge what your friend might need we find that a fancy water bottle is never the wrong thing to get. It’s important to stay hydrated at all times, whether you are ill or not and, in our opinion, you cant have too many water bottles around.
6. A Gift hamper created specifically for chemotherapy survivors
Cancer Care Parcel’s End Of Chemotherapy Gift is packed with comforting, useful, inspirational and pampering items. Suitable for anyone who has survived chemotherapy. We have put these thoughtful items together so you don’t have to.
If you want to make sure that you are getting an appropriate gift hamper, please check out our special end of chemo gift hamper here.
As always we welcome your comments, good and bad. If you don’t agree with our suggestions or have some of your own please let us know.
Dr Cohen started her working life as a research scientist and lecturer with over 100 peer-reviewed scientific publications.
She followed a classical scientific career until she left mainstream science in 2000 (which coincided with the birth of her first daughter) to establish the Life Science Communications company, Euroscicon Ltd.
Euroscicon Ltd was her first company (which she sold in 2016).
In 2013 Dr Cohen was diagnosed with Cancer and set up Cancer Care Parcel which provides appropriate gifts for people with cancer.
Dr Cohen is the lead scientific advisor at Optimised Healthcare. A medical profiling company which provides advanced disease prediction, prevention and wellness optimization services.
She also works with and establishes businesses and charities which benefit local, national and international communities.