Life is Coming Back Post-Vaccine: Cancer Survivors Sofia Vergara, Giuliana Rancic and Jane Fonda Have Kicked Off the Summer’s Much-Needed Festivities!

Published Jun 3, 2021

Marisa Sullivan

Coming Back to Life

  • Celebrity survivors like Sofia Vergara, Giuliana Rancic and Jane Fonda have all kicked off the post-vaccine summer festivities.
  • Travel restrictions and mask mandates are easing; over 41% of the U.S. population has been fully vaccinated.
  • For those still questioning the vaccine’s safety, a top expert from the Mayo Clinic goes over some important questions with SurvivorNet: It is safe for cancer patients, although checking with your doctor for your individual medical situation is best, and no, it does not give you COVID.
     

The Roaring ’20s?

Due to the pandemic, people around the world have not been able to see their loved ones in over a year, especially older parents, grandparents, cancer survivors and others who are  immunocompromised. But with millions vaccinated, mask mandates easing, and life steadily getting back to normal … the trips, parties, and social gatherings have begun!

Related: Breast Cancer Survivor Julia Louis-Dreyfus Says Facing Cancer & the COVID-19 Pandemic Was ‘Strangely The Same’

Celebrity survivors such as Sofia Vergara, Giuliana Rancic and Jane Fonda all kicked off the post-vaccine summer festivities, along with actress Kristen Bell, who lost her father-in-law to cancer.

Sofia Vergara

Sofia Vergara, 48, threw a Memorial Day BBQ at her home with husband Joe Manganiello. “So ready for my favorite time of the year! ready for sun dresses, sunblock, and [cocktail emojis].”

 

 

Vergara survived thyroid cancer. The America’s Got Talent judge found a lump in her neck by chance in 2000. She had taken her son to get checked out early for diabetes since her family has a history of the disease, which affects how your body uses blood sugar. “While we were there, the doctor wanted to check me, too, and he found a lump in my neck,” she told Health.

Related: Thyroid Cancer Survivor Sofia Vergara Launches a COVID-19 Response Fund for Underserved Communities

The actress had no symptoms. She was treated with surgery to remove the tumor followed by iodine radiation treatment.

“When you go through something like this, it’s hard, but you learn a lot from it,” she said. “Your priorities change. You don’t sweat the small stuff. And it had a good ending.”

Giuliana Rancic

Veteran E! red carpet host and breast cancer survivor Giuliana Rancic celebrated her husband Bill’s 50th down in Cabo San Lucas Mexico this past week with friends and family.

Related: ‘I Was Just Falling Through Darkness’ — Giuliana Rancic Opens Up About Her Breast Cancer Journey

“Happy Birthday to the love of my life @billrancic,” she wrote on Instagram along with multiple festive photos of their celebratory vacation for the Chicago-born entrepreneur.

“You are the most loving, caring, adventurous, hilarious, super smart, honest, fiercely loyal man who is a rock to so many. Duke and I loved every second of celebrating you this birthday week. Here’s to 50 more baby…We love you so much today and always!!!”

 

 

Rancic was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011, and underwent a double mastectomy. The author and fashion designer also faced fertility issues. Luckily, she had Bill at her side every step of the way, and now they have their beautiful son Duke, 8, to be thankful for. Luckily, Giuliana had just frozen her eggs, and they had success.

Related: Survivor Giuliana Rancic, 45, Found Her Breast Cancer After a Mammogram During Fertility Treatment — Now She Has a Beautiful Boy

“I didn’t go through breast cancer on my own,” Rancic told SurvivorNet in a previous interview. “Bill was right there by my side. We went through it together.”

And that also included when she had to choose whether to have a double mastectomy.

Related: ‘I’ll Swim Topless’: Comedian Tig Notaro On Owning Her New Body After Double Mastectomy

“We were at a really high stress point in the decision-making process, and I knew something was bothering her,” Bill shared with us. “I took a stab at it. I sat her down and I said, ‘Honey, I don’t care what you look like. I just need you around for the next 50 years … I want to grow old with you.'”

Jane Fonda

Actress and activist Jane Fonda caught up with an elementary school friend, author Jill Schary, for a birthday party held at Jill’s son Jeremy Zimmer’s house this past weekend. Jeremy is the founder and head of United Talent Agency.

Related: Cancer Survivor Jane Fonda Still Fit at 83, Works Out with Trainer Again: ‘I’m Getting My Muscles Back, I Didn’t Think This Could Happen at My Age!’

“Jill and I were friends in elementary school and we’ve stayed in touch,” the cancer survivor wrote. “It was so much fun catching up and meeting her friends, many of whom are part of her writers workshop which focuses right now on writers working on autobiographical issues. Jill is a wonderful writer.”

 

 

“I’ve had a lot of cancer,” Fonda said in an interview with British Vogue a couple of years ago, alluding to multiple skin cancer scares. “I was a sun-worshipper. When I have a day off, I frequently go to my skin doctor and have things cut off me by a surgeon.” One of those cancers was on her lip.

Fonda is also a breast cancer survivor. The fitness guru announced the news in 2010 on her blog. “I had a scare with a non-invasive breast cancer but it is ALL OUT NOW!!!’  She told fans how lucky she was and that they caught the cancer early. “I want to thank my friends and fans who have written beautiful ­letters. It has meant a lot to me,” she said.

Related: Jane Fonda, 82, Can Still Rock a Sweat Headband in Throwback Workout Video; She’s One Strong Breast Cancer Survivor

Fonda also told British Vogue that she had a mastectomy before the 2016 Golden Globes, when she was nominated for best supporting actress in Youth. “I get out of the car and I have the strange white dress with all the ruffles? That’s because I’d just had a mastectomy, and I had to cover my bandages,” she said.

Kristen Bell

The Good Place actress Kristen Bell, 40, has been cautious for the sake of her parents over the course of the pandemic and hasn’t seen them over a year, until now!

Related: Actor Kristen Bell Honors Cancer Caregivers: ‘I Know What it’s Like to Lose Someone’

“Saw my parents for the first time in over a year. It was my dad’s birthday, so we took him out to a nice dinner and he told me that since it was his birthday he absolutely did not have to take his mask off for the pictures I wanted,” she wrote on Instagram with a picture of the three of them.

“I get my stubbornness from him,” she added. “Happy birthday, dad. I’m so glad you’re mine.”

 

 

Bell is married to actor Dax Shepard. They have two daughters: Lincoln Bell, 8, and Delta Bell, 6. Bell was by Shepard and his family’s side when Dax lost his step-father to prostate cancer in 2012.

When Bell was pregnant with their first child, Lincoln, Shepard shared an emotional moment at the time of his father placing his hand on wife Bell’s pregnant stomach from his hospital bed, feeling the energy of his granddaughter that he would never meet.

Related: Nothing Stops Prostate Cancer Survivor Elton John, 73, as He Talks Post-COVID Tour & Empowering New Musicians

“It was an amazing, incredible, perfectly timed surprise,” Shepard said. “She lifted her shirt up and he put his hand on her swollen stomach. He left it there for the better part of an hour. He was smiling from ear to ear, sitting contently, unable to put together a sentence, but still capable of connecting to the new family member we were creating”

Sadly, they knew he wasn’t going to make it to the birth, but that didn’t stop him connecting with their first child in that special way.

“It was an emotional and triumphant moment,” he said. “One I will never forget. If I live to be a thousand, I will still be in debt to my wife for giving him that one last thrill.”

Getting the COVID Vaccine

Millions of Americans have been fully vaccinated: Approximately 136 million, or 41.5% of the population.

The numbers on COVID hospitalizations keep going down, travel restrictions around the world are easing, and getting on with a “newer” normal, that is, life past COVID, has been on the forefront of everyone’s mind.

For those who are still considering vaccination or have further questions, SurvivorNet interviewed Vincent Rajkumar, a top doctor from the Mayo Clinic, who went over the top 5 COVID-related vaccine questions and talked about why it’s important for cancer patients to get vaccinated.

1. Is the vaccine effective?
“These vaccines work. They work in preventing symptomatic COVID and they also work really well in preventing severe COVID,” Dr. Rajkumar told us. “The flu vaccine is actually not as effective as the coronavirus vaccines that we have released. In general, flu vaccines work 60-70% of the time each year and it varies depending on the year.”

2. Is it safe for a cancer patient?
“It is very safe and there is no increased risk to you just because you have cancer,” Dr. Rajkumar explained. “People getting treatment for cancer can speak to their physician for personalized guidance on getting the vaccine.”

3. When should I get it if I am a cancer patient?
“As long as you are feeling well, just go ahead with the vaccine whenever it’s offered to you. Sometimes even on the same day if you are going to the clinic to get a small dose of chemotherapy and they’re giving the vaccine, just get it, there’s really no major problem,” Dr. Rajkumar said. “The only people for whom we are saying to delay by a month or two are patients who have had a stem cell transplant because we have wiped out everything. And so you want to wait until some of the recovery happens so when you give the vaccine, they have an immune response.”

4. Will getting the vaccine give me COVID?
The COVID-19 vaccine cannot and will not give you COVID-19. “There’s no way anyone can get COVID from the vaccines,” he said.

5. Should I be concerned about mutant strains?
“These mutations occur because there are a lot of hosts who are getting COVID and the way to reduce the number of mutations is if we can increase the number of vaccinated people,” he explained. “The solution is always vaccines, vaccines, vaccines. You want to get as many people around the world vaccinated so that there aren’t enough hosts for the virus to mutate.”

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