I have a dear friend who is one of those women who just gets it done. She has her own very successful business, has twins, a happy marriage and a full life. All was going along (more or less) swimmingly until she found a lump in her breast. After a mammogram and ultrasound, she heard those horrible words “you have cancer” and her life turned upside down.
She is now halfway through her breast cancer chemotherapy protocol and doing really well… all things considered. She has crap days and less crap days but is taking all of cancer’s crap in stride. She has relied on her community heavily during this chapter and we all do our best to buoy her spirits, keep her engaged and help her feel less alone – one of cancer’s unfortunate side effects.
I was recently over at her house, admiring the nook she’s created for herself to rest each afternoon as she undergoes treatment. It’s a beautiful space with luxurious linen pillowcases, a cozy sherpa blanket and lots of natural light. Books, Ipad and magazines flank the elegant, yet comfortable, settee she bought just for this space. I eyed a large tote in the corner – “what’s that?” I innocently asked. “Oh, that’s my chemo bag. Do you want to see what’s inside?”
Well, she knows what I do for a living so part of my curiosity was Le Wren driven, but I also wanted to see how this inspiring, accomplished woman was attacking her long hours in the chemo chair, knowing that if anyone could tackle organization for such an event it would be her.
What followed was pretty incredible and serves as our must-have list below. There are also a fair number of items in her chemo bag that you could give someone as a gift – if you wanted to be close to them and support them when they need it the most.
Key Items for a Chemotherapy Bag
- Face Masks
- Phone Stand
- Electronics Charger
- Reading glasses
- Water Bottle
- Cozy no slip socks
- Clean underwear
- a lightweight but soft wrap
- Jewelry box to house her jewelry
- Cosmetics Bag stocked with: hand cream, wipes, lozenges, lip balm, breath mints, nail file, essential oil mini roller, anti-itch cream, abreva, gingins, hair ties, contact lenses, Q-tips and cotton pads
- Her medicines: Steriods, Tylenol, Xanax, Onestraon
All of this she stores in a large lightweight nylon tote with a zipper top, so everything stays secure as she’s going to and from the hospital.
In her closet at home, she keeps clear organizing bins with back-stock of the above toiletries so that she can easily re-stock as things run out. By keeping it in her closet, the back stock is also safe from her twins rummaging through it and making a mess.
We think the best items in the above list to give as gifts are the ones listed below, giving your loved one practical support as they undergo treatment. Click the links to see our "best of" for each item:
Each time your loved one sits in that chair, they'll be reminded of your support and love. That can really do wonders for someone's healing journey.
Have other ideas for what to pack in a chemo bag? Please comment below. We'd love to hear what you think.