Cancer: What to Ask Your Doctor

A cancer diagnosis can be hard to process at first. You may feel shock, anger, or even disbelief. But as a cancer patient, you are an equal partner with your doctor in your treatment and recovery. The more you understand what your body is going through, the better prepared you are to take care of yourself and make the big decisions necessary for your recovery.

So don’t hesitate to ask your doctor any questions you have about your diagnosis or treatment. Helping you understand your cancer is part of their job. If you’re not sure where to start, here are some recommended questions to ask about your cancer to get you started:


Understand Your Diagnosis

  • What type of cancer do I have?
  • Where is my cancer?
  • Has my cancer spread in my body? Where did it start?
  • What stage of cancer do I have?
  • How do I get a copy of my pathology report?
  • What are my odds for survival, as far as you can tell?
  • How can I reach you if I have questions later?


Understand Your Options

  • What is your experience treating the kind of cancer that I have?
  • What are my treatment options?
  • Will I need additional testing before we can determine the best treatment?
  • What treatment do you recommend?
  • What are the advantages and risks of this treatment?
  • Should I consider joining a clinical trial?
  • How can I learn more about clinical trials?


Understand Your Treatment

  • What is the goal for my treatment? Are we curing my cancer or controlling my symptoms?
  • Will additional specialists be involved with my treatment? Who will be in charge of my treatment plan?
  • What drugs will I be on? What will each of them do for me?
  • Will I need any additional drugs or other treatments?
  • What potential risks or side effects are associated with these drugs and/or treatments?
  • What side effects should I report immediately, should I experience them?
  • What should I do to prepare for treatment? Are there foods I should avoid? What about alcohol?
  • What changes should I expect to make to my day-to-day life? Can I exercise during treatment? Can I go to work?
  • How frequently will I need treatments? How long will each treatment last? How long will I need treatments for?
  • How will we know if the treatment is effective?
  • How likely is it that my cancer will recur?
  • How much will my treatment cost? How much will my insurance cover?


As a cancer patient, you play an active role in your fight to recovery. The better you understand your diagnosis and treatment, the better you can care for yourself during this time. So take an active role in your recovery and ask your doctor any question you have—it’s what they’re there for!

20 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day

Earth Day may not seem like much of a holiday. After all, banks and stores do not close and mail is delivered. There are not even big celebrations for it most of the time. However, Earth Day is very important despite its general lack of notice from most people. It is on this day that we celebrate our planet, raise environmental awareness and take a moment to look toward the future. But how can we celebrate Earth Day? If you are trying to figure out plans for your next Earth Day celebration, keep reading. Below are twenty great ideas to get you started.


  • Plant a Tree

Perhaps the most classic way to celebrate Earth Day is to plant a tree. Trees release oxygen into the air as well as removing carbon dioxide which is harmful to humans. They also can provide some much-needed shade. Just be careful to only plant trees on land you have permission to plant on.


  • Grow an Herb Garden

An herb garden is an excellent addition to your home. Not only do herbs smell nice, they are wonderful to use in cooking. When you grow your own fresh herbs, you know exactly what is going into your body. The use of fresh herbs can help the environment as well. Commercially bought herbs often include pesticides and antibiotics which are harmful to the environment. Your use of fresh herbs prevents a bit of those chemicals from entering the environment.


  • Carpool

Fossil fuels are a huge problem. The burning of these natural resources leads to air pollution as well as deforestation and soil erosion due to mining. With this in mind, a good way to celebrate Earth Day is to find friends to car pool with. This way, though there are still fossil fuels being burned, the impact is much less than if everyone was driving their own individual cars. If car pooling is not an option for you, perhaps you could take a bike to some of your destinations or use public transit.


  • Repair Your Leaky Faucets

Another problem facing our planet is water waste. Fixing leaky faucets is an inexpensive way to do something to help the environment as well as saving money on your utility bills. As a bonus, you will no longer have to hear that annoying drip drip drip.


  • Get Engaged

Earth Day is a wonderful time to learn about the environment. Do research to discover what the problems facing your particular area are. If you live near a body of water, for example, you could look online to find out if it is healthy or in need of cleaning.


  • Join a Forum

There are plenty of groups out there dedicated to environmental concerns. Find one for a concern you are interested in, and join it. There is nothing more amazing than the strength of a group of people working together toward a common goal.


  • Care for Animals

Donating to the WWF or the ASPCA or even your local shelter can be an amazing way to celebrate Earth Day. This sort of donation is vital to the continued work of these causes that protect our planet’s animals and assure that species do not go extinct.


  • Save Energy

This Earth Day, make a conscious effort to save energy. Unplug appliances when not in use. Turn off the television when you are not watching it. If you have power strips or surge protectors, make sure to turn these off when the devices connected to them are not in use. This, like the waste of water above, has a twofold bonus. You will be caring for the environment while saving money on your electric bill.


  • Go Outside

Earth Day is in the spring, the highlight of beautiful weather. This Earth Day, take a moment to go outside if it is at all possible. Take a moment to relax, smell the spring flowers and appreciate our planet for its beauty.


  • Make a Recycling Plan

Recycling is important for our environment. It cuts down on the amount of garbage which would normally be thrown into landfills. Recycling insures that metal, plastic and other wastes can be used again. Work with your family to develop a recycling plan. Even children can help out, making it a game as opposed to work.


  • Swear Off Bottled Water

Many of us drink bottled water, but it is very bad for the environment. The number of empty water bottles in landfills today could stretch from the Earth’s surface to the moon twice! Giving up or cutting back on the amount of bottled water we drink reduces the number of bottles rotting in landfills. Further, some companies take water for their bottled water from drought-stricken regions such as California, which drastically worsens the problem.


  • Get Your Friends Involved

Put up a white board in your office or school. Invite your friends and co-workers to make a small change that would help the environment and to post those changes. Working in groups will increase accountability and give each of you someone to cheer you on.


  • Buy Local

Locally-grown foods are easier on the environment as they do not require massive amounts of fossil fuels to transport and are not grown in hot houses with chemicals. Further, if you buy local and organic, you are supporting the farmers. This support is vital to their continued livelihood. Both the farmers and the planet will thank you.


  • Go Paperless

Due to the production of paper, millions of trees are cut every year, trees that we need to breathe. Paying your bills online can help reduce the amount of paper wasted every year. Another way to go paperless is to carry reusable shopping bags, or ask for environmentally friendly alternatives at your local supermarket.


  • Install a Bird Feeder

Watching birds feed can be a fun and relaxing way to celebrate Earth Day. Do research to see what types of birds live near you and what types of foods they like. Then install bird feeders in nearby trees. They do not have to be fancy. Even a pine cone spread with peanut butter and coated with seeds will work. For hummingbirds, install hummingbird feeders filled with nectar.


  • Plant a Play Garden

A play garden is a space for children to grow food and get their hands dirty. Teaching the next generation about the value of plants is very important, and they will enjoy eating the things they have grown.


  • Walk to School or Work

Avoid the car altogether. If the weather is nice, take a walk to school or work. This way you help conserve fossil fuels while also getting fresh air and increasing your energy level.


  • Check Your Carbon Footprint

There is a site that allows you to check your carbon footprint, the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by a person or group’s consumption of fossil fuels. Using this site, you can calculate the amount of fossil fuels you use and discover ways to use less of them.


  • Test Your Car’s Emissions

Testing your car’s emissions can be a great way to help the environment. A car that does not meet the national emission standards puts out a lot of carbon dioxide and other harmful chemicals into the air. Furthermore, having a car which does not meet emission standards is also illegal in some states. Checking your emissions can actually save you a lot of money in fines.


  • Get Away for a Day

If you happen to live in a large city, plan a day trip to the country. It may sound old-fashioned, but a trip out into the country where air pollution tends to be less prevalent can actually show you more of the beauty of nature. You can even pack a picnic lunch to eat once you are there. Sit back, relax and feel all the beautiful gifts this world has blessed us with.



This planet is the only one we have, so we need to try to conserve resources as much as we possibly can. Earth Day reminds us to slow down and take a moment to do something nice for the environment and to enjoy the beauty around us. And that makes it a very important holiday indeed.

Finding a Good Wig

Why Wear a Wig?

For many chemotherapy patients, wigs are a lifesaver. Many women who have experienced breast cancer or any other type of cancer which required aggressive chemotherapy, know the trauma of losing a major part of your body – head hair, body hair, eyebrows and eyelashes. For these brave women, a beautiful wig can make a huge difference.

Our hair is one of the main ways that we express their individuality and image and styling hair is normally a significant part of a person’s daily routine. Wigs and hair pieces are a great way to help you to look and feel comfortable, and to hold onto this familiar part of daily life while you undergo your treatment. Choosing to cover your head with a wig can also help boost your confidence when you are out, making you feel less self- conscious about your image, and more able to go about your daily routines.

Choosing to wear a wig can also help to feel as if you are taking control over your situation – you control the style, the color, the texture and the brand. You can even control when you lose your hair if you choose to cut it before your treatment.



Most people who decide to use a wig during their chemotherapy treatment have some time to prepare before they need the wig. Taking the time to make sure that you are well prepared can help make the process less stressful, and make the transition from your own hair to your new hair piece, a little smoother.

The fantastic thing about wigs is that you can choose one, try it on and have it styled to suit you before you even lose any of your hair. This can be a great confidence booster and can help you to feel at ease when you have so many big changes coming up.

Here are some tips to help you get ready for your new wig:


Cut Your Hair

If your hair is not short, then cut it short before you begin your treatments. There are several reasons for this:

  • Firstly, it is much less traumatic to lose small clumps of short hair than it is to see your long locks falling out.
  • Secondly, if you have some time to adjust to short hair before your treatment, it won’t be too long before your hair grows back and feels ‘normal’, since your hair was short to begin with.
  • Lastly, it is much easier to fit a wig over shorter hair.


Think Seasonally

While you may have had luscious long locks before, wigs can feel hotter than natural hair. For this reason, you might want to consider whether a shorter or thinner wig would be more suitable while you have your treatment. The last thing you want to do is add any further discomfort to yourself while you are undergoing chemotherapy.


Shop Around

It can be hard to know where to start if this is all new territory, so don’t be afraid to ask for help! Your local cancer center, hospital or hairdresser may be able to point you in the direction of a quality wig shop.

Be sure to also get recommendations for hairdressers who will shape the wig for your face. You may even want to book an appointment to speak with one before the actual cut, to make sure you are comfortable and confident with the professional you have chosen. It’s best to pick out your wig and have it styled before your begin your chemotherapy – that way the hairdresser will be able to see your natural hair colour and style and tailor the wig accordingly.


Choosing Which Type of Wig

Wigs come in two main different varieties: synthetic and real hair. Most chemotherapy patients opt for a synthetic wig but there are advantages and disadvantages to both types.


Synthetic hair is ‘man-made’ – fashioned mostly from acrylic to look and feel like real hair.


  • Dries very easily
  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to manage
  • Maintains its good look around the clock


  • Must be washed with special products
  • Cannot be used with heat appliances


Human Hair

Real hair is made from good quality human hair which is treated and coloured before being made into different style wigs.


  • Can be colored, curled or straightened just like real hair
  • Can be washed and styled with regular hair products
  • Can look more natural


  • More expensive than synthetic wigs
  • Need more care
  • Can have ‘bad hair days’ just like real hair


One option for those with long hair in good condition is to have your own hair made into a wig before your treatment begins. This takes a few weeks and can be very expensive but it might be worth considering if you have enough hair for it.

Whichever option you choose, keep in mind that most wigs only last between 6 months to a year. For most chemotherapy patients, this timeframe is perfect, but some people do need one for longer than this. Manufacturers generally only recommend a wig for six months if it is being worn everyday as wigs tend to sag and get friction build up over time.


Selecting the Right Color

Wigs come in a broad range of colors and styles and getting the color right can be the most likely cause of headaches when you are trying to pick one out. When choosing your wig, you should always select a color than it one to two shades lighter than your own hair. This is because your skin color tends to appear a little ‘off’ during chemotherapy, and because wig hair is so thick, it can appear darker once it’s on.

If you are feeling adventurous, you may even want to take the opportunity to have a different hair color for a wig so try on a variety of styles, colors and lengths before you settle on one.  If you want to make a radical color change then you may like to consider what clothes and makeup you wear, as sometimes these tones need to be changed up to suit the new hair color.


If you want to base your wig color on your natural hair color, be sure to choose a wig that has a mix of tones with highlights and lowlights. This will ensure that it looks natural and does not look too severe. If you normally color your hair, you can even select a wig that has darker roots, appearing as though your hair needs to be retouched. If you have lost your hair already then take a photo along with you to the wig supplier so the salesperson can help you to make the best color match.


Paying For Your Wig

Depending on the type of wig you choose, the cost of your temporary hair replacement can be expensive so you need to think about how you will fund this.

If you have health insurance, be sure to check if your policy covers part, or the entire cost of your wig. Not every company will offer a reimbursement for this, but a large amount do, so this should be your first port of call.  If you find that you don’t have any health coverage for a wig, make sure you look at other options such as funding it yourself. If you think you might have trouble covering the cost of the wig yourself, make contact with a local cancer centre to enquire about free wigs or other funding options.

Keep in mind that you will also need to budget for a small amount of extras which are not normally covered by any kind of funding. This includes a wig stand, wig brush and styling products.



Caring For Your Wig

To keep your wig in the best shape possible and ensure it lasts for the duration of your treatment, you will need to care for it properly, just like you would your own hair. Follow these tips to keep your wig in tip top shape:

  • Give your wig ‘time off’ by wearing a hat or scarf some days
  • Wash gently at night and leave to dry naturally overnight
  • Brush your wig only when completely dry – brushing wet will cause the wig to lose its shape
  • Enhance the wig with a small amount of product suitable for its type
  • Avoid using heat products, particularly on synthetic wigs as they will melt



What is Autism?

Have you or someone you know been diagnosed with autism? Are you left confused, afraid and wondering what exactly this condition is? Are you stuck with media stereotypes about an autistic person’s lack of functioning? If so, keep reading. This article will explain what autism is, without invoking any of the stereotypes commonly associated with the condition, stereotypes which are not true for all or even most autistics while giving a plain-English definition of the features and symptoms of the condition. Do not give up hope. A diagnosis of autism is not a tragedy, though it may feel like it at first, and it is not the end.


Definition and Symptoms

When people talk about autism today, they are generally talking about Autism Spectrum Disorders. According to the DSM-IV, the Autism Spectrum Disorders are a set of five developmental disorders that effect the person’s ability to engage with others. These deficits in social interaction can vary in severity from very mild to extremely severe, and in type as well though all people with autism will have some of these core symptoms. People with autism tend to have trouble with developing or using nonverbal social cues. They do not like to make eye contact, for example, and may find it very overwhelming. Autistic children may also not want to make friends with children of the same age, or have any desire to share interests and achievements. People with autism also have delays in development of speech or never develop it at all. As many as forty per cent of autistic individuals never talk. Some people with autism also deal with echolalia, which is the repetition of a phrase they have previously heard. They will repeat this phrase over and over. Other symptoms of autism can include sensory integration difficulties and problems with processing stimuli, as well as atypical movements and fascination with sensory stimulation. These symptoms can make social contact very overwhelming and draining for them.



The mean age of diagnosis for autistic individuals used to be between five and eight years. However, due to more sophisticated methods of diagnosis and the creation of the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule by Catherine Lord, Ph.D the age at which autism is diagnosed has been significantly reduced. Most children are now diagnosed near their second or third birthday. This earlier diagnosis means that parents can be more aware of what is going on and can then help their children better adjust to their limitations and the expectations of the world around them. This early intervention to help these children can mean that the child gets the early education they need.



Over the years, many things have been thought to cause autism, everything from drinking milk to getting your children vaccinated. However, none of these is the real cause, and as of yet no one is sure what the cause actually is. The most prevalent theory seems to posit that autism is a very strongly inherited genetic disorder, probably with several genes being affected.


Autism may seem like a nightmare. The person with autism may seem unresponsive and hard to reach. However, with some learning on both your parts, and understanding of the person’s abilities and limitations, this condition does not have to be a nightmare.

The Origins of Earth Day

The origins of Earth Day are not very well known. The history is not taught in schools as it is for Christmas, Thanksgiving and even Columbus Day, and children are not expected to make little clay globes or plant seeds in honor of the holiday. In fact, it usually goes rather unnoticed overall. This article seeks to change that lack of education as Earth Day is just as important as any of the other holidays and worthy of just as much publicity. If you are curious about the origins of this often under-represented holiday, read on as we cover its origins and history.


In the Beginning

The year is 1970. It is the height of the counter culture in the US. Environmental concerns are not mentioned often. Americans are driving gas-guzzling V8 cars and industry is belching black smoke into the sky. Smog is considered a sign of prosperity and not a concern. Offenses against the environment are not punished, but things were about to change.


Setting the Stage

The stage for environmental change had been set by the publication of Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring in 1962. This book, which was very controversial at the time, detailed the introduction of DDT, a very popular pesticide into the world’s food supply. It also showed how it accumulated in the fatty tissues of animals including humans, causing cancer and genetic damage. The book also stated that DDT remained toxic in the environment even after being diluted by rainwater. DDT had been banned. However, Americans still remained relatively oblivious to the problems at hand.


Earth Day

In 1969, there was a massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson saw this oil spill and the destruction that had been wrought on the environment and wanted to do something about it. Taking a cue from the student anti-war movement, Gaylord knew that if he could infuse that energy with the knowledge of environmental issues, the issue of environmental protection would be forcibly pushed onto the political stage. Gaylordproposed the idea of a national teach-in on the environment to the national media and coaxed a conservation-minded Republican, Pete McLoskey to be his co-chair. He also hired Dennis Hayes as his national coordinator. Hayes then built a staff of eighty-five to coordinate events across the country. April twenty-second was chosen as the day, as it fell between spring break and finals at many colleges. The first Earth Day mobilized twenty million Americans and by the end of that year, the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species acts had been created. In 1990, Earth day went global, mobilizing two hundred million people in one-hundred forty-one countries and lifting environmental issues onto the world political stage.


Earth Day is a very important holiday. Without it, we might still be using harmful pesticides, using leaded gasoline in our cars, and treating our environment as if it were invincible. Next Earth Day, take a moment to stop and remember the good work that Gaylord Nelson did for the environment, and be thankful he had the wonderful idea he did.

What is Earth Day?

Earth Day is an annual awareness event created to honor the Earth and the concept of peace. It takes place on April 22 each year, and marks the emergence of modern-day environmentalism.

As people became more aware that our everyday actions, like running our water excessively or guzzling gas in our cars, has an affect on the environment, there was more of a push to take action to protect our planet. Earth Day inspires us to remember the environment not just on April 22, but throughout the year, and to take positive steps to preserve it.

Founded in 1970s and originally celebrated in the United States, Earth Day went global in 1990 with a special worldwide celebration on the event’s 20th anniversary. Since then, it has become the largest secular holiday celebrated in the world, with over a billion people participating every year.

There are plenty of ways to join the celebration—spread the word, plant a tree, or reduce your ecological footprint, or check out these additional ways to join in.

Cancer: Managing Emotionally

Often people underestimate the emotional toll that cancer can have. Being diagnosed with cancer is a life-changing event – no matter which stage you are at.

Dealing with these life changes as well as undergoing treatment and side effects can be just as hard on a person emotionally, as it is physically.  From the time you get the diagnosis to the time you finish up with your treatment, cancer can bring about a broad range of feelings – ones that you are often not prepared for. Cancer can be disruptive to almost every facet of a person’s life including relationships, home life and hobbies or interests. Depending on how serious the diagnosis is and what sort of treatment will have to be carried out, it can make you re-evaluate everything in life, from relationships, to working situations, to the future.

During this difficult time, a person may experience a range of different emotions including depression, anxiety, a sense of isolation and even anger. Whether you are currently experiencing these new feelings, or are watching a loved one experience them, it’s important to read on, and realize that these feeling are normal and that everyone deals with their emotions differently.


Feeling Overwhelmed

When someone first learns that they have cancer, they may feel overwhelmed.

They may be overwhelmed by thoughts of their future and whether or not they are going to live, by the changes and disruptions in their normal routines, by the amount of medical information that they are suddenly being exposed to or by the feelings of losing control that they may be experiencing.

Though it can be a lot to take in at first, the best thing to do is to try and organise your thoughts and then begin to understand your condition as best you can. Try to learn as much as possible about your cancer and ask lots of questions at medical appointments. This will help to ensure that you are comfortable talking about your condition and are well informed and able to make decisions about your treatment.


Feeling Angry

It’s completely normal to feel angry about cancer. People who have been diagnosed with cancer often feel anger or resentment toward themselves, their loved ones or even their health care providers. While this type of anger normally surfaces when a person is diagnosed, anger can surface at any time throughout the cancer journey – even after treatment has finished and survivorship has begun.

It is helpful for people experiencing these feelings to know that this anger is a common response to have for someone living with cancer, and is completely natural.  When one considers the toll that cancer-related symptoms and treatments can take on the body it is understandable why even these things alone would cause someone to become angry.

While most people associate anger with negative connotations, anger is not necessarily a bad emotion – and sometimes, it is one that people need to feel. If anger is expressed in a healthy way it can be a safe, positive thing to experience and can often motivate people with cancer to overcome the obstacles they are facing.

The best way to cope with feelings of anger is to recognise them – identify anger for what it is and acknowledge that you are struggling with it. Once you have recognised it, it will be easier to identify when you are feeling angry, making you are less likely to confuse your emotions or take anger out on others without realizing it. Once you have identified your feelings, find a safe and healthy way to express it. This might include talking about it, undertaking a physical activity such as kickboxing, beating on a pillow or just having a good yell and cry to release some of your frustrations.


Feeling Stressed or Anxious

Cancer can be one of the most stressful experiences in life – for both the patient and their loved ones. Cancer can put strain on every area of life – from financial to work. It is completely normal to experience feelings of stress or anxiety when you are diagnosed with cancer. Often this results in feelings of tenseness, and can include many symptoms such as an increased heart rate, aches and pains, changes in diet, weakness or dizziness or an inability to sleep.

It is important that these symptoms are not simply overlooked, as stress and anxiety can actually inhibit the body from undertaking its natural healing processes, making your recovery longer. Studies have also shown that chronic stress can be detrimental to the immune system and affect overall wellbeing. If you are concerned about stress or anxiety, consult your doctor and consider the following tips for reducing stress:

  • Stay organised. Keep track of your appointments and activities using a day planner or a suitable app. Avoid overbooking yourself and try not to book too many appointments in one day or week. Know your limits and how much energy you have and be sure to prioritise – some things can wait.
  • Ask for help. Don’t be afraid to ask your loved ones for help. People will likely offer their support so think about specific tasks they could help with and take them up on the offer.
  • Don’t get overwhelmed. If you have large tasks that need to be completed, try breaking them down into smaller, more manageable steps. This might seem silly, but it makes otherwise overwhelming things seem easier to handle. If you need to clean the house, do just one room at a time, and have a break in-between.
  • Get on top of your finances. Cancer can hit your wallet hard, so be sure to manage this as soon as possible. Organise any insurances you have and how you will manage the cost of your cancer care before the bills start piling up.
  • Try to get some exercise in. When you have the energy, incorporate 30 minutes of exercise into your day. This can lower stress levels and give you time to regularly reflect and clear your head.
  • Consider what other support you might need. There are lots of other people going through the same journey so if you are finding yourself feeling stressed or anxious consider joining a support group or talking to a counsellor or social worker.
  • Make time each day to do something that relaxes you – this might be reading a book, listening to music or taking a bubble bath. It is important to set this wind-down time aside to destress each day. You may want to consider incorporating some relaxation techniques into your day to lower your stress levels – this might be deep breathing, meditation or yoga.
  • Talk to your doctor about medication. If you are finding that your stress levels are becoming out of control, speak to your doctor about whether or not you would benefit from medication. Ensure that your doctor also knows what cancer related medicines and treatments you are taking so that they don’t prescribe a medication that could interact with them.


Feeling Depressed

As well as experiencing anxiety about your cancer, you may also experience sadness or depression. Depression can occur at any stage of your cancer – from the time you receive the news, till after treatment is finished, and is a completely normal response to the onset of any major health problem.

Depression can affect many facets of physical and mental health including energy levels, eating, emotional feelings, mood, concentration, sleeping and can even lead to thoughts about hurting yourself or others. Like stress, depression can lower a person’s quality of life and make it difficult for them to go about daily activities. Though it is common for people to experience depression during or after cancer, it should not go untreated as it can undermine the strength (both emotional and physical) needed to get through the cancer journey.

You will need as much support as you can get from your friends and family, and may also want to consider what other support you may need. Tell your doctor what you are feeling and talk to them about what else might help – whether it is support in a group environment, some medication or other treatment such as counselling. Most importantly – don’t bottle up your feelings. Talk to someone you can trust about how you have been feeling and be open about your struggle.


Feeling Guilty

A common emotion suffered by cancer patients is that of guilt. You may feel guilt over getting cancer and how that has affected your friends and family, you may feel as though you are a burden on those around you or you may be feeling that your lifestyle choices are to blame for your cancer and are experiencing guilt for this reason. You are not alone – many people with cancer have these feelings.

Guilt can be experienced by those with cancer – and by those surrounding them. Often loved ones also experience guilt for many reasons. It is important to express these feelings of blame or regret with those around you. Feelings of guilt can come in many forms:

  • Guilt for not having noticed symptoms or seeking medical attention earlier
  • Guilt for feeling like a burden to your family
  • Guilt over not being able to cope with a normal schedule or workload due to your health
  • Guilt over the financial costs of your cancer treatment
  • You may even have ‘survivor’s guilt’ which is associated with feelings of guilt related to why you survived your cancer when other’s did not

Whatever the guilt is that you are experiencing, it is important to let go of it. A lot of the guilt that you might experience may be misplaced. Even if the guilt is justified, it is not healthy to dwell on these feelings and it is detrimental to your wellbeing to continue to be drained by them. Try to remember that cancer is nobody’s fault. There is a lot about cancer that even doctors and scientists are yet to fully understand so let go of any mistakes you think you have made and focus on what’s ahead.


Express Yourself!

The most important thing to do is speak up! Research has proven that those who express their feelings are able to let go of them more than those who choose to bottle them up. If you are comfortable, the best people to talk to are family and friends. If this is not possible, then talk to another survivor, a counsellor or consider joining a support group. Here are some last minute tips to keeping your chin up during this turbulent time in your life:

  • Stay Positive. Easier said than done, but making a conscious effort to be hopeful and positive can help. Try and redirect your energy to focusing on what lies ahead and getting well.
  • Accept Bad Days. You will have your bad days, and sometimes you need to just put your pyjamas back on and wallow. This is okay – if you can’t be positive and life is just getting you down then just declare it a ‘cancer day’ and crawl back into bed. People will understand.
  • Be Open About Your Cancer. It can be difficult for many people to talk about your cancer so talk about it , if you are comfortable doing so. People will want to support you but may not always know how to. Make them, and yourself, more at ease by discussing it and being open about what you are going through.
  • Control What You Can. Cancer can make you feel like you’ve lost control of everything. Take some of that control back by being actively involved in your health care, keeping yourself informed, setting and keeping your appointments and making changes in your life that will help you to manage while you are having treatment. These little things will not only help you to manage your care better, but will also give you back your sense of control over your life.


Just remember: there will be good days, and bad days. Try to let the good ones be more frequent than the bad and focus on what you can control and what is good in your life: family and friends.


What Are Special Needs?

As of the 2012-13 school year, 14 percent of all public school students were receiving special education services, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. But what does it mean for a child to have special needs?

Broadly speaking, “special needs” is used to describe children who require any kind of special support due to a physical, mental or emotional issue, beyond the average student. It’s a term that covers a wide variety of needs—one student may simply require a ramp to access the building from a wheelchair, while another may need special therapy.

Classifying the many different kinds of special needs can get complicated—the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) identifies 13 separate categories. At a broader level, special needs can be broken into four general types: physical, behavioral, emotional, and sensory. 

Physical Special Needs
A physical special need is a physical limitation that permanently makes typical mobility or bodily control more challenging. It often requires special equipment like a wheelchair. Examples of physical special needs include children with muscular dystrophy, epilepsy, or chronic asthma.

Sensory Special Needs
Sensory impairments are conditions that limit one or more of a child’s senses. This includes blindness, deafness, visual impairments, and more.

Developmental Special Needs
Kids with developmental disabilities experience challenges with skills needed for certain aspects of life, such as language, mobility and learning. These include conditions such as dyslexia, Down syndrome or autism.

Behavioral/Emotional Special Needs
This type of special need refers to disorders that affect a child’s ability to respond to traditional discipline or struggle with psychological conditions. These include conditions such as ADHD, bipolar disorder, and oppositional defiance disorder.

Empowering Special Needs Kids to Take On Challenges

While children with special needs all have one thing in common—a need for a little extra support—this term refers to a broad range of unique needs. But special needs kids are much more than this label. Understanding the challenges these children face is a great first step to helping them overcome them for full, satisfying lives.

Take Action: Wear Your Cause

From ribbons to bracelets to t-shirts, it seems there is gear for every cause and every style these days.

And sure, it’s great to join in when it comes to a cause you believe in, but does sporting your awareness swag really make a difference to researchers and patients? Sometimes it can feel like a hollow gesture.

But don’t be deceived! When you wear your cause support, you take positive action on behalf of your cause awareness in three important ways.

1. Honor Survivors and Remember Those Lost
By wearing your awareness gear, you’re honoring those who have fought against that cancer, disease, or other struggle.

In 2015, the American Cancer Society projects an estimated 1,658,370 new cancer cases in America alone—not to mention the millions of loved ones impacted by each patient’s fight. Even if no one says anything to you, it’s likely that your act of support touched someone personally impacted by the fight against cancer.

2. The Positive Side of Peer Pressure
Peer pressure isn’t just for teens with attitude. In its simplest form, peer pressure just means that people tend to go along with what those around them are doing. By advocating for a cause, you tilt those mainstream currents in a positive direction of informed support and action.

3. Trigger Conversations
Be careful—if you’re wearing awareness swag, it’s likely someone will ask you about it.

When they do, it’s a fantastic opportunity to share about a cause you’re passionate about. Tell a little about why awareness matters to you, and if you’re willing, share your personal story. Before ending the conversation, tip them off on where to learn more about the cause, donate, and get their own support gear.

One Easy Action, Many Ripples of Impact
Because wearing your support for a cause is so easy to do, it can be easy to think that this action doesn’t matter. But in reality, wearing your support can make a big difference to others affected by the cause and trigger a chain of awareness in those around you.

So what are you waiting for? Pick up your swag and start a positive chain today.

Are We in an Autism Epidemic?

One in every 68 children in America is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to data from the U.S. Center for Disease Control.

This is a much higher diagnosis rate than about 10-20 years ago. Scientific American cites the rate from 1993 to 2003 as one ASD diagnosis for every 2,500 individuals. That’s a major increase.

So are we experience an epidemic of autism? At a glance, it looks like it.

An early study investigating the issue linked autism to vaccines. But this study has since been disproven, and ten of the 13 researchers on the project have denounced its findings. Most notably, as vaccine numbers have remained the same, autism diagnoses have continued to rise.

Since then, additional studies have indicated that the increase in cases of ASD may be inflated. One such study was performed by the Child Development Center in England. By investigating autism diagnoses over a closed time period in the same area of the country, the researchers found that when the same criteria for diagnosis is used consistently, there is no increase in the rate of diagnosis.

Another study by psychologist Paul Shattuck at the University of Wisconsin-Madison observed that as the rate of ASD diagnoses increased, the rates of diagnosis of mental retardation and learning disabilities decreased.

A third study from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden found that when the parents of children diagnosed with autism were asked if their children exhibited specific symptoms of autism, the number of children who met the criteria for ASD remained consistent over time. A Danish study had similar findings, concluding that about two-thirds of the increase in ASD diagnoses in Denmark were because of how the disorder is diagnosed.

It’s possible that there has been some rise in cases of ASD, but the most up-to-date science indicates much of the apparent epidemic is in fact due to changes in how ASD is diagnosed.