That’s where a good support system comes into play. YOU are needed now more than ever. If a loved one gets down and becomes weak, be their strength. Check-in regularly. Visit often. Provide emotional support. I’m often asked by friends and followers about what to give patients to make them feel better or show they are loved. After watching my mom go through treatment, supporting my sister through her preventative double mastectomy journey, and after getting a prophylactic double mastectomy myself here’s my best advice on gift ideas for breast cancer patients, previvors, and breasties.
Food or Meal Delivery Service
UberEats, Postmates, or your local food delivery service is a godsend for those going through treatment and recovering from surgery. Give a gift certificate or send food straight to their door. Sun Basket and Blue Apron are good options for meal-delivery services as well (but keep in mind the person on the receiving end will need to actually do the cooking whereas services like UberEats delivers food ready for immediate consumption YAY). Another idea for in-towners is organizing a meal train, a free meal calendar set up amongst family or friends who are close by.
I’ll never forget – my mom gifted me a massage the week before my surgery because she wanted me to feel pampered and lie on my stomach one last time before having to be on my back for months following my double mastectomy. Little did I know I’d be reverting back to that moment many times as I chilled flat in bed during recovery. A week after my surgery, she took me out for a mani/pedi. I still had my drains, but it was such a good excuse to get out of the house and feel pampered.
Dry Bar Gift Card
If you’ve never been to a Dry Bar before, they are pretty much the most amazing answer to feeling down and out and straight up GROSS. The sweet staff members at Dry Bars around the country wash, dry and style hair however you want it – perfect for mastectomy patients needing a pick-me-up after recovering in bed for days on end.
I adore dry shampoo, and this stuff comes in handy the couple of weeks following surgery. For me, I couldn’t shower for a while (read: not sanitary) so being able to have somewhat clean hair with dry shampoo was blissful. If you know someone going through chemo, don’t gift this as they will probably be losing hair soon, if they haven’t already. Here’s a post on my favorite dry shampoo brands.
Scarves & Headbands
Talk about great accessories for those going through chemo who want to cover their head from time to time. Many beautiful and funky options exist out there – go crazy on what your loved one might like 🙂 After treatment is over with, they can even use it when they travel (my favorite plane accessory!). Headbands for Hope is an amazing organization where every item sold gives one headband to a child with cancer.
PJs, Robes, Slippers, Socks, Pillowcases, Blankets & Eye Masks
Comfort to the rescue! Sometimes there’s nothing better than feeling the soft silk of a pillowcase on your cheek as your drift off to sleep or the fluffiness of divine slippers beneath you. If you’re gifting PJs, remember mastectomy patients probably prefer the button-downs and robes with pockets (perfect for drains!).
All Natural Beauty Products
From Caudalie beauty elixir face mist to the Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask, these natural products will have any patient feeling revitalized. Self-care and self-love are important on any day of the week but especially on recovery days. Help a sistah out by giving the gift of beauty 🙂
Run Errands, Pick Up Kids, Walk the Dogs, Schedule a Cleaning Service
This is probably the most practical gift out there for chemo or mastectomy patients. It’s basically helping with LIFE which is what’s really needed at the end of the day. If you have a good friend or family member going through a hard time, they might appreciate you taking care of these tasks more than anything else. Cleaning for a Reason is a non-profit that gives the gift of free house cleaning to women undergoing treatment for any type of cancer. To this day they’ve served almost 42,000 women and donated $14,000,000 in house cleanings! If that doesn’t give you ALL the feels, I don’t know what does.
Thoughtful Words via Greeting Card
Sometimes, we just don’t know what to do or what to give. Nothing sounds good enough. Thoughtful words can really pack a powerful punch in terms of encouragement.
If you don’t exactly know the right words to say, Emily McDowell’s cards say the important stuff for you with beautiful sayings like “The darkness is not an end. It’s a hallway. Keep going” and “Kicking Cancers Ass”. Wise words of encouragement, girl. Straight forward sentiments are the best sentiments. Personalize it and send it off or better yet, hand-deliver!
Treatment and recovery time is no joke. Books are highly recommended for patients as they spend hours in bed.
A friend gifted my mom ‘The Silver Lining‘ when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014. It’s a supportive and insightful guide to breast cancer written by a vegan eating, marathon running 39-year-old mom with no history of breast cancer. When Robin Roberts was promoting it on GMA she mentioned, “I wish I had this book when I was going through breast cancer.”
Another one I’ve heard a lot about from an eating perspective is Cancer Fighting Kitchen Book. If you’ve read a great book recently, lend the paperback to your friend/family undergoing treatment. My favorite recent reads: Scary Close, 10% Happier, Eat Pray Love, To Shake the Sleeping Self
Adult Coloring Books
This could be for your crafty friend or an artistic mom who needs to get their fix while still recovering. I Am A Cancer Warrior, Secret Garden, Calm the F*ck Down & Maybe Swearing Will Help are all great.
Netflix or Amazon Prime Membership
Ohhh yes. Peruse through page after page on Amazon or spend the day watching a new series on Netflix. This time is for rest and recovery – so take a load off and enjoy the quiet time. Give the gift of Amazon Prime Membership or Netflix email gift card.
Sometimes fresh flowers just make people smile. I remember after my surgery, the house looked like a florist shop. It was so beautiful and smelled even better. I was so thankful to those who sent them because it was as if they found a way to bring the outdoors inside to me while I was bedridden for days on end. I typically like shopping local when I can, but Amazon flowers aren’t too shabby.
Courage. Brave. Love. Believe. Hope. These are just some of the messages on jewelry from The Giving Keys, a pay-it-forward company devoted to doing good in the world. Every product purchased supports job creation for people transitioning out of homelessness. A friend of mine who had a preventative double mastectomy about a month after me gave me her INSPIRE bracelet from The Giving Key. It’s now my turn to pass it onto someone who inspires me 🙂 Gotta love the gift that keeps on giving.
Oh how I love the designs produced by GLDN. They have this boob necklace (called Au Naturel) that arrived on my one year double mastectomy anniversary, a little present to myself. The necklace is part of the La Femme collection to celebrate femininity in various forms. Half the profits from the collection go to care.org, working to empower women around the world. YASSS girl power.
I am low-key obsessed with my boob earrings from Year 901. The proof is in my ears (since I’m currently wearing them). I love the little blurb on the website to explain in more detail: “Everyone loves a good set of boobs. Each pair are uneven like real tatas.” Hell.to.the.YES. I received two pairs of boob earrings and gifted one to a boob buddy. If you feel so inclined to purchase, use my code ‘boobs15’ for a discount!
You better believe I have this Boob pouch where a percentage of proceeds goes to Planned Parenthood. I also drink my morning coffee out of this boob coffee cup (and here’s another). I’m also obsessed with potters Rose Grown and Pot Yer Tits Away Luv but their products are ALWAYS sold out. Let me know if anyone has the inside scoop on how to own one of these bad girls.
Robe (with drain belt!)
I’ve recently been alerted to the modern day drain apron! The Miena robe from Ana Ono comes with a drain belt that lets you wear the robe during treatment, recovery, and beyond. The thoughtful design helps to make life a little easier when you’re dealing with unique medical needs.
If you have more ideas, please share in the comments 🙂 The more ideas the better!
Practical items for recovery: 13 Things to Know Before Undergoing a Double Mastectomy
Gift a care package: Mastectomy Care Package Ideas
Give the gift of a party: How to Throw a Ta-Ta to the Tatas Party
Give the gift of a comfy bra: The Best Double Mastectomy Bras to Wear After Surgery
Give the gift of scar therapy: Healing from Surgery with Embrace Scar Therapy