Candy/amusements for adults going thru chemo?
May 6, 2021 12:33 PM   Subscribe

I have two family members (wife/husband) in their early 70's going thru chemo at the same time, alternate weeks. I'd like to send a "thinking of you" package. They of course say they don't want or need anything, are not hungry. Can you suggest perhaps hard candies, sweets (I know chemo affects taste?) and perhaps games or fiddly/fidget things to amuse for the long hours of infusions? Thanks so much! <3
posted by alwayson_slightlyoff to Grab Bag (13 answers total)
I can’t recommend a specific brand but you can find ginger candy in soft chews or hard candy form. It’s great for nausea and I’ve given all forms (crystallized ginger coins to soft chew to gum) to friends going through chemo and pregnancy. For hours of sitting at chemo, I think magazines or short story anthologies work well, so something that isn’t too long so you can pick it up when you need it. If you pick something that suits your friends taste that would be a great idea!
Crossword puzzles might be fun too!
posted by Champagne Supernova at 12:45 PM on May 6, 2021 [2 favorites]

I can recommend a specific brand of ginger chews, not for this in particular but just in general: Chimes.
posted by 4th number at 1:18 PM on May 6, 2021 [4 favorites]

I personally am not a fan of ginger candy, but I'd suggest trying the Asian types (often found in Asian grocery stores), and See's Candy chocolate covered ginger.

As for fidget toys, recently I've seen some squishy edamame pops. :D

It's pretty cute. :) Obviously there are tons more, and there are like $20-$30 kits that comes with like a dozen different ones.
posted by kschang at 2:03 PM on May 6, 2021 [1 favorite]

What about buying them a subscription to the New York Times Games app? There are loads of games you can play on your phone and they have different levels of difficulty.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 3:17 PM on May 6, 2021

While I was in chemo, I was told to easy on sweets by a nutritionist. However, Ice Chips peppermint candy were perfect for dry mouth, and have the added advantage of being sweetened with Xylitol, so they fight cavities as well.
posted by dbmcd at 5:29 PM on May 6, 2021

I got my mom a subscription to Sips By. It's a tea-of-the month thing. I personally hate tea, but understand that most people find it soothing and comforting. They can take a quiz and put in preferences. (Too much caffeine can be upsetting for a chemo tummy, so maybe no 'morning thunder' blend)

It was kind of a little bit of a fun distraction for her to pick stuff out and get little surprises in the mail of new things to try.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 6:07 PM on May 6, 2021

I take larabars with me to chemo. Except for those with chocolate chips, they don’t have added sugar. They get their sweetness from fruit and dates. Sometimes I end up spending much more time at the cancer center than I expected, and it’s good to have those in my bag because they’re filling. I really love the pineapple and the blueberry.
posted by FencingGal at 7:21 PM on May 6, 2021 [1 favorite]

Seconding the ginger candies; they used to keep a big bowl of them in the chemo suite for our use. (For a good chunk of time after finishing treatment, the smell and taste of ginger actually caused nausea since my brain had come to associate it with the effects of the drugs, but during treatment it did help. Same thing with the smell of rubbing alcohol.)

I used to enjoy listening to audiobooks during infusions; focusing my eyes on print was just too much effort.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:24 AM on May 7, 2021

The (terribly named IMHO) Preggie Pop Drops were a fav when I had nausea when I was pregnant and also during chemo.
posted by machine at 6:29 AM on May 7, 2021

Claey's hard candy's are relatively cheap, but really tasty and they've got a lot of flavour choices. While horehound might not be for everyone, it might give them a blast of nostalgia (assuming their sense of taste hasn't changed). Note that the "fruit" flavours are relatively acidic, so I need to limit myself to avoid mouth sores, but all of the non-fruit flavours are relatively save. There is some rough sugar on the outside that could be problematic.

Werther's is also a great classic hard candy, and the carmelized sugar taste might be pure/simple enough to not change too much?
posted by nobeagle at 7:32 AM on May 7, 2021

I had infusions that were much shorter and less onerous than chemo. I listened to my personal playlist on a iPod shuffle via a good set of earphones.
posted by SemiSalt at 1:10 PM on May 7, 2021

I had infusions that were much shorter and less onerous than chemo. I listened to my personal playlist on a iPod shuffle via a good set of earphones.

A few years ago I had to have daily IV antibiotics for months. Each infusion was almost exactly as long as one Judge John Hodgman podcast.

Maybe a super-comfy set of earphones might be a good gift if they don’t already have them. Or a splitter if they’re allowed to have someone in the suite with them.

A bone pillow might also be welcome for getting comfortable in the chair.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:13 PM on May 7, 2021

Response by poster: Folks, these were all great suggestions! I love those edamame toys -- at first looking at the name, I thought they were something to eat (doh) but they are delightful and led to other stuff.

I had forgotten about ginger for nausea! Several suggestions here. Games, apps, pillows, low sugar bars etc.

Wishing you and all your loved ones wellness.

Excellent! Thank you all!
posted by alwayson_slightlyoff at 9:35 PM on May 7, 2021 [2 favorites]

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