A cancer diagnosis is life-changing. Here's how you can reclaim yourself.
True
Walgreens

A cancer diagnosis brings with it a flood of thoughts and emotions that can be difficult to handle.

None of us are prepared to hear that we or a loved one have a life-altering disease with a potentially tragic outcome, and the uncertainty that follows a cancer diagnosis is scary.

Since 1 in 3 of us will experience a cancer diagnosis in our lifetime according to the American Cancer Society, it's good to know what to expect.


Photo by Gus Moretta on Unsplash

Dr. Jennifer Lee, PhD, a Licensed Psychologist at the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, says that it's normal to feel upset, angry, sad, or numb upon hearing the words “It's cancer." “Many people's initial response to a cancer diagnosis is shock and fear," Lee says. “The shock and fear should gradually decrease, but it takes time. As families get more information about what the diagnosis means and their specific treatment plan, many families begin to shift to a more action-oriented approach to take steps to address the illness and symptoms."

Some of that action includes purposefully engaging in self-care — doing things that can help you feel more connected to yourself as you go through your cancer journey.

Self-care for cancer patients goes beyond seeing doctors and taking medications.

"Self-care" can feel like a loaded term when you're overwhelmed, but that's when caring for yourself is most vital. Many people living with cancer will see a therapist to help them deal with the emotional and psychological toll that cancer can take, but there are other things patients can do along with that to help them feel more like themselves.

Keep living your life.

Photo by Olivia Colacicco/Unsplash

It can be tempting to put your life on hold while you're dealing with cancer, but Dr. Lee says that maintaining as much of a normal life as possible is one of the most important things cancer-affected families can do.

"This may require creating a 'new normal' for yourself after diagnosis," she says, "but be patient with yourself as you make these changes. If your treatment plan allows you to work or go to school, continue to do so as much as you can. This helps to alleviate financial stress, but also can be a good way to remind yourself that you are still living life while being treated for cancer."

Do the things that bring you joy, no matter how small they are.

Little things can make a big difference, especially when you're facing a major health challenge. Dr. Lee suggests regularly scheduling activities that help you relax or make you happy, such as brief exercise(doctor permitting), engaging in spiritual practices, or getting together with friends. Even something as simple as scheduling a spa session or taking regular walks in nature can help you feel more connected to yourself.

For some people living with cancer, finding ways to address how their body is changing can help boost their well-being. That begins with understanding how cancer and cancer treatments can affect you physically and making adjustments. For example, chemo and radiation can cause dry hair, eyebrow loss, dry skin and discoloration, and changes to nails and cuticles. It can also cause side effects that make you feel ill or uncomfortable.

Finding people who can help you manage those side effects and changes is important, which is why Walgreens created their Feel More Like You service. Specially trained beauty consultants and pharmacists work with individuals with cancer to help manage the internal and external changes that they're experiencing, offering individualized guidance and recommendations to help them look and feel their best. The service is available at 3,000 Walgreens locations nationwide —and it's free.

Connect with others — especially others in the cancer community.

Cancer can feel isolating sometimes, but it doesn't have to be. Dr. Lee recommends staying in touch with supportive people and communities while you're going through treatment and recovery. That might include your friends and family, your professional or religious community or local cancer support groups.

Dr. Lee says that others who have cancer can be a great resource as you go through treatment. "Connect with other people with cancer," she says, "especially if they are going through or have been through a similar treatment. Their expert tips and insights can be helpful, validating, and supportive." The Cancer Support Community website has a host of resources for people looking for such connections.

Indulge people's offers to help.

Photo by Emma Frances Logan/Unsplash

Caring for yourself sometimes means letting others care for you. Many people don't know what to do when a friend, family member, or coworker is diagnosed with cancer, but most people truly want to help. Dr. Lee suggests taking people up on their offers.

"If people offer to help, let them help, even if it is something simple like picking up groceries, taking care of your pets or helping to manage childcare," she says. "Not only does it help you, it helps your friends and family feel like they can do something to help you get through this."

Cancer diagnosis and treatment can be physically and emotionally draining, which is why self-care is so important.

There are also millions of people who understand what you're going through and who have the knowledge and skills to help you through your cancer journey. There are loads of people out there who you can call upon all along that journey.

But don't forget to do small things for yourself too. You might be surprised at how a simple thing like a meditation session or a trip to a museum or a new beauty routine can boost your spirits. A person with cancer is a person first and foremost, so as you treat the cancer, make sure you're caring for yourself as well, whatever that means to you.

Pexels
True
Amazon

Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

Of the millions of Americans breathing a sigh of relief with the ushering in of a new president, one man has a particularly personal and professional reason to exhale.

Dr. Anthony Fauci has spent a good portion of his long, respected career preparing for a pandemic, and unfortunately, the worst one in 100 years hit under the worst possible administration. As part of Trump's Coronavirus Task Force, Dr. Fauci did what he could to advise the president and share information with the public, but it's been clear for months that the job was made infinitely more difficult than it should have been by anti-science forces within the administration.

To his credit, Dr. Fauci remained politically neutral through it all this past year, totally in keeping with his consistently non-partisan, apolitical approach to his job. Even when the president badmouthed him, blocked him from testifying before the House, and kept him away from press briefings, Fauci took the high road, always keeping his commentary focused on the virus and refusing to step into the political fray.

But that doesn't mean working under those conditions wasn't occasionally insulting, frequently embarrassing, and endlessly frustrating.

Keep Reading Show less
True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.