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Thread: quilt for cousin with breast cancer

  1. #1
    Super Member Dina's Avatar
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    quilt for cousin with breast cancer

    My 33 year old cousin just found out she has breast cancer and will be having chemo and surgery soon. I couldn't think of any way to help, but I offered to make her a quilt, and she accepted my offer. I am delighted that she let me do this. I sent her some patterns and asked for her to select one and to give me colors to use.

    I have finished the top and my sister is going to quilt it on her long arm tomorrow. I should be able to get the binding on tomorrow evening and mail it to her.

    I got the idea of making a quilt for her because I have read so many threads on here about people making quilts for cancer patients and for folks having chemo. Somehow I had it in my head that chemo causes patients to be cold and the quilt can help with that...warm thoughts, warm prayers, and warmth. But I can't find anything on line that confirms that idea. So I am asking you folks. Other than a quilt just being a good idea for anyone (which it is!!), is there any truth to what I had in my head about chemo patients being cold during or after treatment?

    Thanks. I'll include a picture of the quilt top. She wanted a cheerful one, and she actually asked me to duplicate a quilt I had already made. I have done that, except I tried to make hers better.

    Dina
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  2. #2
    Super Member Maggiemay's Avatar
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    My friend said she got cold during her chemo treatments & took the quilt I made for her with her to chemo. I wish I would have made her a tote to take it in. Nice quilt- your cousin will appreciate it.

  3. #3
    Senior Member AudreyB's Avatar
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    Gorgeous quilt. I know she will love it.
    AudreyB
    Those who sleep under quilts are covered with love.

  4. #4
    Super Member Pickles's Avatar
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    O my I adore that quilt and she will also, you did a really nice thing , bless you .

  5. #5
    Super Member Neesie's Avatar
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    Your quilt reminds me of blue skies and sunny days! Beautiful!

    When one of my dearest friends was going through chemo, she was constantly cold.

  6. #6
    Senior Member pdcakm's Avatar
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    when my son went thru chemo they would give him heated blankets to keep warm. most of the people there used some kind of blanket to keep warm. not sure why they get cold.
    pdcakm alias pat
    If things go wrong, don't go with them. ~Roger Babson

  7. #7
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    Very pretty and I'm sure she will love and appreciate the love you put in to making it for her.

  8. #8
    Super Member MacThayer's Avatar
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    It's a gorgeous quilt, and the fact that she picked it out is even more meaningful. Bless you for making it for her. It will help in the tough times ahead.

    Speaking as a Nurse Practitioner who is familiar with both chemotherapy and radiation, I can verify that the patients are often cold, and there are good reasons for that. The treatment suites are not designed for patient comfort, especially warmth. Bacteria breed in warm areas, so they're careful not to keep any area too warm. That cool-feeling circulating air is going through filters to screen out pathogens before it is returned to the suites, and it is constantly being recirculated. It must feel like a cold draft to someone in a hospital gown. Also, people often lose weight during this therapy, thus losing their natural layer of insulation. But there are several things you can do to combat that "cold all the time" feeling.

    First of all, the quilt is a great idea. Just keep it simple and washable, and if anyone out there is going to make a quilt for someone undergoing cancer therapy, please, please, please ask them if they want any "ribbons" on their quilt. I can't tell you how many breast cancer patients (and others) who didn't want anything to do with Pink Ribbons until their ordeal was over, and when people brought them "Pink Ribbon motif" items, they went in the trash as soon as the people left. So be sensitive to that as well.

    They may have to wear hospital gowns because of access to ports and lines and ECG leads and things like that. But generally, they can wear a pair of sweat pants without problems, and I highly recommend them. They are both warm and comfortable, and they will need to come from home. By the same token, a nice, thick pair of socks or some warm slippers, or both would be great. I know when my feet are cold, I'm cold. Just be sure to put those "grippers" on the bottoms of whatever she would be walking around in, either the socks or the slippers. It's a safety issue. If you don't put them on, the nurses will be forced to take them away from her, as much as they will hate doing it. So get those grippers on there! Also, the shoulders are often an area that lets in cold. They can't put their arms in sleeves. Someone is always coming along to take a blood pressure, or the line may be a long line in the arm, or lots of things. So a warm shawl that can just sit on their shoulders, and be pulled up around their necks, is often a welcome gift. Another thing that can warm people up is a simple hot water bottle. Just fill it with the hottest water you can get from the tap at the facility, wrap it in a towel, and place it at their "core", meaning their belly, or sometimes people like to hug them to the belly and lower chest. You won't be allowed an electric pad. As the patient becomes more fragile, they will burn more easily, so the hot water out of the tap is the best idea. It's usually not hot enough to burn, although of course you must test it. Every person I've given a hot water bottle to has thanked me profusely.

    You have to remember, even the IV fluids they're giving are at least 25-30 degrees below body temperature. The IV fluids are at room temperature, so about 68 degrees. Humans are 98.6 degrees. That approximately 30 degrees is an important difference! Plus a lot of the chemo drugs have to be held in the refrigerator. They are taken out approximately two hours prior to the session, but they are no where near room temperature by the time the infusion begins. So they could easily be 30 to 50 degrees, or even more, below body temperature. This is a big reason why people feel so cold, all that cold fluid pouring into their veins. Yet you don't want the chemo to start to degrade before it's infused, so it really is a catch 22 on that one.

    So bundle them up good, and give them something warm to sip on. Hot tea is good. Sometimes just holding a cup of hot tea and breathing in the warm vapors is enough. And that's OK. Whatever it takes.

    Just a thought: When you've finished that quilt, you might think of doing a larger, heavier one to use on the couch at home, where they'll be a lot of the time. I've heard them tell me how lovely it is to have a larger quilt to look forward to cuddling under as soon as they get home.

    That's all I can think of right now. Hope this helps!
    MacThayer

  9. #9
    Super Member hopetoquilt's Avatar
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    My mom had cancer twice (breast cancer once, uterine cancer once) and beat both of them soundly!! She is doing wonderfully. She bought herself a beautiful quilted lunch bag and and other bag for going to the hospital to treat herself. Having treated herself and having a few beautiful quilted items made her feel better. Your cousin will love the quilt.

  10. #10
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    when my son was going thru Chemo trearments his wife made him a quilt to take along and he used it all the time. Yes, these patients do get cold. Sadly my son lost his battle with cancer so I now make comfort quilts for people in my area who are stricken with this terrible desease. That is my mission now in life as I am a long time quilter

  11. #11
    Senior Member BeverlyH's Avatar
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    What a nice gift to her that she will love and thanks to MacThayer for the valuable information!
    Take care of our earth. It's the only planet with chocolate!

  12. #12
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    Thankyou so much MacThayer for all that info. I love your quilt Dina, beautiful soft colors. I don't like all those pink ribbons either.

  13. #13
    Super Member Dina's Avatar
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    Thank you all. I knew you would know the answer to my question. When I googled it, all I could seem to get was information about how chemo patients caught colds more often than others. I must have been googling wrong.

    Thanks for the comments on my quilt, and thanks again for all the information, especially Mac Thayer. It helps to know what to expect.

    Dina

  14. #14
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    your quilt is beautiful and I agree with MacThayer too on the issue of the pink ribbons. I am a survivor and supporter, but, avoid all those pink ribbons at all costs. That is just how I feel about it, and there is no wrong answer, but, always wise to check with the recipient.

  15. #15
    Super Member fred singer's Avatar
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    what a thoughtful gift and so bright and cheerful you did a great job on it
    Pegg


    Have a great day and happy sewing !

  16. #16
    Super Member humbird's Avatar
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    Wishing the best for your Cousin. Lots of good advise from MacThayer. My sister lost her battle, but was always cold during chemo. I might add that most of MacThayer's advise also pertains to dialysis patients. My DH is cold during his treatments.

  17. #17
    Super Member Neesie's Avatar
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    Re: MacThayer's suggestion about socks/slippers with grippers - There's a nice sock crochet pattern (free, on internet), which uses worsted weight yarn and works up fairly quickly. I've used the Tulip "puffy" or "slick" paint on the soles, for non-slip. You just squeeze it out onto the sock (swirlies, hearts, etc.), let dry, then hold a hot blow-dryer over it; the paint sets (the puffy paint swells) and provides a good non-slip quality.

    http://www.crochetandknitting.com/socks.htm
    Last edited by Neesie; 04-24-2012 at 06:37 AM.

  18. #18
    Senior Member MdmSew'n'Sew's Avatar
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    Prayers to your cousin in her battle, you made a lovely quilt I'm sure she will treasure. I have a friend who has had surgery and chemo, she didn't want a quilt but I found a free pattern on Connecting Threads called Pink Ribbon Comfort Pillow https://www.connectingthreads.com/pa...__D991356.html I made several, in different colors, none of them with pink ribbons, she uses them all the time, especially when traveling in the car, says it really helps with the seat belt rubbing. If you have fabric left over from the quilt, you might want to make one or two - it took me about half an hour to make one, very simple, one pattern piece, just a few seams and then stuffing it.
    He who cuts his own wood is warmed twice, but she who makes her own quilt is warmed forever - SLR 11/7/2011

  19. #19
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    MacThayer, that is a wonderful, wonderful lot of information, I'm gonna bookmark this and I can go back to it at anytime. Thanks so much.

  20. #20
    Super Member Peggy Jeanne's Avatar
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    She will love it. My sister is a 5 year survivor, the quilt I made her was what she came home and snuggled up in. You are doing a wonderful thing!

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