October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month so I wanted to post about it before the month is over. In a year that’s already so bad in so many ways, my mom’s recent diagnosis with breast cancer has given our family another hurdle to contend with.
The age of COVID has really made a terrible situation even worse. We’re constantly afraid my mom will catch the virus with her weakened immune system. No one is able to go to appointments with her. Friends and family are severely limited in ways they can help.
In light of all of this, I asked various family members if they would like to go in on a care package to offer a little comfort for my mom after her surgery (partial mastectomy and lymph node removal). Modern conveniences like Zelle, PayPal and Apple Pay made it a breeze. We collaborated and researched some of the best suggestions for people who had been in her shoes and put the package together. I thought I’d share what we came up with in case anyone in a similar situation comes across this page.
This particular care package included a wide variety of items to bring comfort, nourishment, and entertainment.
Here are some of the highlights:
The message “Strong and Beautiful” on metal tumbler from Target was PERFECT for my mom or anyone with breast cancer. It works great to help keep her hydrated at all times.
A nice journal to write thoughts, scriptures, songs, hopes or whatever else is on my mom’s mind has done wonders to help her process this new way of life. I got this one at TJ-Maxx.
A selection of puzzles, notebooks, and books can greatly help to take the patient’s mind off the pain and discomfort they may be feeling. I got the books for super cheap at Goodwill and the puzzles at the dollar store. The little notebooks are great for writing down meds, vitals and symptoms. Pens are always good, too!
I looked for the softest, coziest blanket I could find at TJ-Maxx and this cute one was a no-brainer!
These fuzzy llama socks (with grips on the bottom so we don’t have any accidents) and the eye mask added a nice touch of luxury to the package. As a bonus, the cooled eye mask was the perfect shape to fit under my mom’s armpit where the lymph nodes were taken out.
I wanted to put some practical items in the package. So I included hand sanitizer and wipes, lip balms, tissues, dry shampoo, lotion, Listerine tabs, and face wipes. I wanted her to be comfortable when she wasn’t supposed to shower for a bit after the surgery.
My mom’s been experiencing a lot of nausea so I got her these chew ginger candies. They have helped her immensely and since the surgery I ordered her another huge bag from Amazon. I tried to also include other ginger flavored things like tea and cookies since ginger is so good for things like that. Feel free to add other foods. I got a lot of fancy food items at TJ-Maxx.
The package was all put in this giant reusable grocery bag I got at TJ-Maxx. I wanted a pretty design that would make her smile and something she could use again.
For the card, I had everyone write me a message or drawing, printed them, then bound them into a 8.5 x 11 sized card. (Full disclaimer on the card: I scoured the internet for card ideas and put my own spin on one of the ideas.)
I gave her the package a few days before surgery and let’s just say tears were definitely shed.
She had the surgery over a month ago and is recovering nicely from it. We still have a long road ahead of us with radiation and possibly more surgeries but little things like this are a wonderful way for friends and family to show support during such a difficult time.