5 Ways To Help Your Friend Going Through Chemo

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Today’s blog is a practical one. I have been asked this question so many time that I thought it would be beneficial to share it with all of you. I am a cancer survivor of over 11 years, but I still remember so clearly the things that helped (and didn’t help) when I was going through my own treatments. It is with that experience in mind that I bring you this list of 5 simple things you can do to help your friend who is going through chemo.

  1. Gift cards for take out services and/or restaurant gift cards. So many amazing, loving people will offer home-cooked meals, but I highly recommend food gift cards instead. The reasons are many. People who are sick are not always well enough to receive you into their home. Even a quick drop of a meal can turn into standing around having conversations or answering questions they have no strength for. Germs are a consideration, as well. People going through chemo have lowered immunity and do not need extra germs being brought into their homes. Not to mention that taste is subjective, and people going through chemo often have extremely strong food aversions. Gift cards are easiest.
  2. Home cleaning. As mentioned above, germs are no friends to someone going through chemo, so it’s especially important that their homes are extra clean. Offering to clean while they have no strength to do so is a fantastic way to help. Side note: This is probably also something that your friend would never, ever ask for, so don’t wait until they do! Offer it!
  3. Girly things! This will obviously only apply to female friends going through chemo, but for me, one of the deepest hurts of my time with cancer was what I perceived to be a lack of my femininity and identity when I lost all my hair. I stopped taking showers in favor of baths because standing under a jetting stream of water was too harsh on my bald head. But I was still a girl at heart and wanted to feel like it! Get together some nail polish in the most fun, outrageous, sparkly colors and gift your friend with a spa basket! Bubble bath is another fun idea. Many chemo patients have low strength, but can be helped into a bath and feel spoiled while enjoying some quiet time. Warm, fuzzy socks in cute patterns help, too! Often time hospital rooms and clinical environments are COLD! Why not give your friend something cute and warm?
  4. Reading materials. Many chemo patients have lives that are built around their patient care calendar. As such, they’ll spend countless hours in hospital and clinic waiting rooms. Getting them a new book or some fun magazines catered to their interests is a practical way to help and encourage them.
  5. You. This is the #1 most important thing. You don’t have to know what to say. You don’t have to say anything, really. Just be there. Stay in touch. Remind your friend that you are their friend and will not be leaving them even though they may not be able to give much back for a while. Text, call, send cards, even visit (be sure to check with them beforehand in case they are not feeling up to having you). Just be consistent. People going through chemo can feel like the whole world is moving forward without them. Don’t let them! Make sure they are still a part of your life, even if they miss some of it due to sickness.

I hope this list helps you! Feel free to share any additional ways you can think of that would help a chemo patient in the comments below!

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