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During the COVID-19 pandemic, odds are you’re staying home more than going out. As a person with a compromised immune system due to cancer, you’re probably more vigilant about protecting yourself than people without a compromised immune system. As a result, you may want to limit your trips to the grocery store as much as possible to avoid increased exposure to germs. Thankfully, you can pick up shelf-stable pantry items that provide health benefits, break up your food routine, and not cause concern over expiration dates.

Here are some pantry staples you can pick up to reduce your trips to the grocery store.

Dried or canned legumes such as split peas, garbanzo beans, black-eyed peas, or kidney beans are durable. They last a long time on the shelf and can be used in a variety of ways. You can use legumes to make stews or salads. Because they’re high in protein and fiber and are packed with vitamins and minerals, legumes are a nutritious option that helps you maintain strength. They’re also very high in phytochemicals that help protect your health. If you choose canned legumes, be sure to wash off the extra sodium before consuming them. Canned fruits like tomatoes are another option. Diced tomatoes and tomato paste can be used to make soups, stews, or salads. If you purchase dried fruits, look for ones with no sugar added.

Shelf-stable milk is ultra-pasteurized and safe to drink. It doesn’t need to be refrigerated until

opened. Shelf-stable milk can provide the calcium needed for your health.

Protein-rich foods such as tuna fish, canned salmon, and sardines are good options.

Grains like brown rice, wild rice, oats, barley, farro, quinoa, and breakfast cereal are important

in your diet.

Peanut butter and jelly can last a while.

These pantry staples are excellent options to reduce your trips to the grocery store during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you need assistance with emotional support during this time of social distancing, reach out to Chix 4 a Cause. Find out about our Gifts of Love Boxes at

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If you began your journey with cancer before COVID-19 hit, you may have been used to receiving hugs from your oncologist. After having your doctor lay their hands on you during a medical exam, you might have received an encouraging hug for all that you were going through.

Because of the pandemic, things have changed. Due to social distancing and other precautions in place to reduce COVID-19 transmission, you may have more telehealth appointments than in-person appointments. This can add to the increasing amount of isolation you already may be experiencing.

During a telehealth appointment, you need to place your own hands on your body to check if the cancer came back. Although your doctor guides you through the process, it’s not the same as having their trained hands doing the exam. Rather than having your oncologist wrap their arms around you at the end of your appointment, you might receive a virtual smile instead. Despite your understanding that telehealth appointments are necessary to reduce the odds of spreading COVID-19, especially to someone with a compromised immune system, odds are you would rather see your oncologist in person.

Having a telehealth appointment also may cause you to focus on the changes you might be going through during the pandemic. Perhaps your weight has increased due to additional snacking, your hair is longer or turning a different shade due to not seeing a stylist or barber, or you choose not to wear makeup because you’re staying home. Maybe your computer screen shows a messy home, noisy child, or argument between family members.

Keep in mind that everyone is experiencing issues right now. Your doctor is not going to judge you because things look different. They’ll still be compassionate while helping you with your medical needs.

If you or someone you know is on a journey with cancer, reach out to Chix 4 a Cause. Learn more about our Gifts of Love program at today.

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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.

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