Someone Cares: Chemo Countdown

A thoughtful gift from a friend brought her comfort and joy during her challenging chemotherapy.

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Posted in , Feb 26, 2021

A chemo Advent box filled with care products; Illustration by Coco Masuda

I walked into the cancer center where I’d been receiving chemotherapy every week to treat bilateral breast cancer. My treatment regimen was 20 weeks long, the hardest thing I’d ever been through in my 32 years.

“Jenn, I love your earrings!” one of the nurses said. I reached up to touch the dangly motorcycle earrings, which were all the more noticeable because of my baldness.

“Thanks. They were a gift,” I said. I couldn’t help smiling.

I’d unwrapped the quirky earrings that morning, just as I opened a gift every week on chemo day. After my diagnosis, my friend Janell had given me a box filled with 20 wrapped presents, one for each week of treatment. “It’s a chemo Advent box,” she said. “It will help you count down the weeks.”

Each week, I opened something that reminded me I was cared for. Fuzzy socks, picture frames, candles, lip balm. Small gifts that brought me so much comfort—and joy—during the most challenging weeks of my life.

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