Fighting cancer can be emotionally stressful. Fighting a pandemic at the same time can make things even harder. Although you probably have your own methods for dealing with sadness and distress, they may not always be enough. A good option is to talk with a professional who’s trained to counsel people with cancer. Because of the increased need for physical safety due to the coronavirus, you might decide to talk with a mental health professional through a secure, online platform rather than at their office. Opting for telehealth appointments provides other advantages as well. You don’t need transportation, it’s easier to virtually meet with a professional than go to the office, and you might have a lower copay.

Here are some tips to make the most of telehealth appointments during a pandemic.

- Choose a relaxing location to talk from. This might be your bedroom or somewhere else with a closed door. Since you’re talking about very personal matters, your privacy is important.

- Minimize interruptions. Turn off the television, notifications on your mobile devices, and anything else that will divert your attention. If you have family members living with you, let them know you can’t be disturbed unless there’s an emergency.

- Understand the technology. Use a strong internet browser. Check in early to resolve any issues. Adjust the volume and video as needed.

- Set appointments for times when you’re at your best. Whether it’s early or late morning or afternoon, you’ll have more energy and be able to better communicate.

Fighting cancer takes an emotional toll on people. This is even worse when fighting a pandemic. If you or someone you know is battling cancer, contact Chix 4 a Cause. Learn about our Gifts of Love program at today.

If you’re fighting cancer during COVID-19, regular trips to the grocery store can be stressful. Having a depressed immune system makes you more susceptible to contracting the coronavirus. As a result, you may not want to venture out each week. Fortunately, planning ahead can help you make the most of your grocery trips while maintaining your health.

Find out how you can plan your meals in advance to maximize your grocery trips.

Sit down with a paper and pen, or your phone, before going to the grocery store. Think about the types of meals and snacks you want to eat over the next week or two. Creating a healthy menu in advance will cut down on your time spent wandering the grocery aisles. You’ll get more done at one time and avoid going back a second time or as frequently.

Consider fresh produce and food that goes in your refrigerator as well as your pantry. Aim for a balance of fresh fruits and vegetables as well as nonperishable foods. You’ll get the vitamins and minerals you need to stay healthy.

Plan at least one fruit or vegetable with every breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Rather than as just a side dish, include the fruit or vegetable in the main entrée when possible. For instance, if you make lasagna, think about putting spinach or another vegetable in it. Be sure to consider how long fresh fruits and vegetables will stay edible so you consume them in a reasonable amount of time.

Repurpose the food you prepare so you’re not making something new every time. For instance, make a lemon chicken breast with rice and asparagus for dinner. Chop up the leftover chicken and add it to a salad for lunch the next day.

Finding ways to make the most of each day is especially helpful when fighting cancer. If you or someone you know is battling the disease, reach out to Chix 4 a Cause. Learn more about our Gifts of Love program at today.

Summer is the time for fun outdoor activities. Swimming, picnicking, and boating are among the top of the list. However, if you’re battling cancer, summer poses lots of risks that may not be as bad for others. If you’re going through chemotherapy, radiation, or other types of treatment, side effects such as vomiting, diarrhea, and hair loss can be worse when temperatures rise. Spending a lot of time in the sun can intensify these side effects and harm your health. Fortunately, you can take action to potentially prevent these side effects from becoming worse.

Here are some tips to enjoy your summer outside while dealing with cancer treatment.

Stay hydrated. You may lose your appetite for foods and liquids if you’re undergoing chemotherapy. This and other treatments also can affect your kidneys. This means it’s extra important to monitor how many fluids you’re drinking throughout the day. Two liters per day is recommended. If you’re spending time outside, drink even more. If you become dehydrated, you may experience cracked lips, feelings of weakness, dizziness, or fatigue. Dehydration can lead to heat stroke or kidney damage. It also may worsen vomiting, diarrhea, headache, and other side effects of cancer treatment.

Protect your body from the sun. If you’re undergoing chemotherapy, radiation, or targeted therapies, you are at increased risk for skin toxicity when exposed to the sun and UV rays. If you have burns from radiation treatment, going out into the sun can make them worse. Wear lots of sunscreen with an SPF of at least 50, a wide-brimmed hat, and light colored, protectant clothing with long sleeves. Stay in the shade as much as possible.

Avoid activities that can lead to infections. Since chemotherapy can result in decreased white blood cell count, receiving chemo can increase your risk of developing an infection. Swimming in lakes, eating food that’s been in the sun, and other activities can cause infections and other illnesses if you have a weakened immune system. To potentially prevent this from happening, bring your own food and properly store it. Sit in a lawn chair while others swim. Limit how much time you spend outdoors. Overdoing it can cause lasting damage to your health.

Fighting cancer requires a lot of preventative action. If you or someone you know has the disease, reach out to Chix 4 a Cause. Learn more about our Gifts of Love program at today.

© 2019 by Nicki Odell.

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