As we have been navigating this journey of Phoenix’s cancer diagnosed and treatment, we have been given so many wonderful gifts from so many generous family and friends. I thought it might be helpful to share some of these gift ideas for any of you going through something similar to be able to share with the people that are no doubt asking how they can help, or if you are wanting to help a friend in need, but are unsure of what to get them.
- Pajamas for the child– When we go to the hospital, the first thing we pack is multiple pairs of pajamas. The treatments make Phoenix sick in various ways, and the fluids make him go to the bathroom super often, so we go through several pairs of pajamas every night. Having multiple pairs of pajamas on hand make for one less thing we have to worry about.
2. Pajamas for the adult who is staying at the hospital– I received a cute and comfortable pair of pajamas to bring to the hospital, and they have been the perfect gift! Keep in mind that when in the hospital, many staff will be coming in and out all night, so make sure to choose a pair you wouldn’t mind multiple people seeing you in every night.
3. Cleaning supplies– When Phoenix was first diagnosed, we had a friend and one of my sisters send a huge shipment of cleaning supplies (laundry detergent, clorox wipes, bleach, hand sanitizer, paper towels, etc). These supplies have been SO useful! When your child is undergoing treatment, their immune system will be compromised, so having a clean house is key to their recovery. It was so helpful to have a stockpile of these supplies without having to worry about going to the store to get more.
4. Toiletries– During our initial 3 week stay in the hospital while we were trying to figure out what was happening with Phoenix, we were given a lot of travel size toiletries. I keep all of these items in a bin in our bathroom, and it has been so helpful to toss what I need for each hospital stay in my bag, and also makes it super easy for Ben to bring me replacements of what I run out of while at the hospital.
5. Magazine subscriptions and books– One of my sisters subscribed me to a bunch of different magazines, and I have also been gifted many wonderful books, and it has been so nice to be able to take these with me to the hospital and clinic visits. I sometimes find it hard to concentrate on heavy reading material (my mind wanders to whatever procedure Phoenix is having done, etc), but magazines and easy to read books are perfect to pass the time.
6. Books and toys– We have been given so many adorable books and toys, and it really never gets old for the kids to open new toys. Now that we are currently in the hospital for a long stay, and in isolation, I have been letting Phoenix open something new any time he is feeling particularly bad, or has an especially hard part of treatment that he has to endure. Keep in mind that in some hospitals or for some procedures (such as Phoenix’s stem cell transplant), stuffed animals are not allowed, so check on the hospital policy before buying these.
7. Gift cards– These are so very useful. We have been given many different types of gift cards during this ordeal, and they have all been super helpful. The gift cards range from super practical to super fun, and they are all welcome and appreciated. The financial stress of long term hospital care cannot be overemphasized, so having someone pick up the tab for lunch, a grocery trip, or a haircut is so appreciated.
8. Food– We have been given the gift of food in a variety of ways, and it has always been helpful. Both of our jobs set up a meal delivery calendar (at different points along the way, which was so nice to have it staggered), which let people sign up to bring us home cooked meals. We also had friends send us pre-made frozen dinners that we just had to heat up whenever we needed, also super helpful. We also had family set up a meal delivery system (meal baby) for when we are in the hospital for a large amount of time. This allows people to send gift cards for delivery, and schedule delivery of food on the days and times that we need it. We have also had friends come to our house and stock our pantry, fridge, and freezer with all of our favorite foods- so helpful and kind.
9. Surprise Treats- When in the hospital for a prolonged period of time, the days and hours can stretch on and on. Whenever someone pops by to drop off an unexpected surprise or treat, it really makes such a huge difference in breaking up the day and giving us something to look forward to, and something to take our minds off of what we are going through. Some examples of the surprise treats that we have been so thankful to receive are: a favorite coffee drink, balloons for the hospital room, cupcakes, and smoothies.
10. Personalized Items- We were given several lovely personalized gifts when Phoenix was first diagnosed, and something about packing up these items makes it a little easier to go into the hospital each time. These items include an embroidered sign spelling out the letters of his name that I hang in his hospital room, a toy bag monogrammed with his name that I fill with little toys to pass the time during appointments and hospital stays, and shirts personalized with Phoenix’s name, or inspirational images.