Updated: Aug 7, 2020
Sorry 90's music fans, this post is not about a music factory. However, I will leave this right here for your listening pleasure. This was my jam as a kid!
Cancer & COVID
This post is about maneuvering a cancer journey during the COVID-19 pandemic. As time progresses, I'm becoming indifferent on this topic. There are naturally pros and cons. Because I'm trying to find gratitude in all things these days, I've began considering those good things. There are some things not considered if you've never been personally affected by cancer. Such as, having infusion companions, support during scan result days, visiting with family and friends, traveling, etc. This pandemic has made all of this extremely difficult or non-existent all together.
Every time I go for an appointment, I have to go by myself. No one to chat with between blood work, scans, meeting with my oncologist, or infusions. No one to love on if I'm feeling vulnerable or weak. No one to make me laugh to lighten the mood. This is the case for most (there are a few exceptions) cancer patients at Moffitt right now. Initially, this made me sad. Not only for myself, but for my companion cancer warriors that I pass in the halls too. We all need support, but especially during a cancer journey. However, I realized that good can be found in this too. First, our chances of contracting COVID are minimized while at Moffitt, which obviously is important for the immunocompromised. Second, this time alone can be very therapeutic. Sometimes I just let my mind wander, enjoy the silence, listen to an audiobook, nap, or pray. I'm finding that I'm enjoying this me time regardless of the reason behind it.
Naturally, spending time with family and friends is important--especially after receiving a cancer diagnosis. This too has been affected by the pandemic, unfortunately. When possible, such time is spent masked up and from a distance. However, I'm unable to spend time with everyone. For each person I'm around, I increase my chances of contraction despite our social distancing efforts. There are days when I wanna say, "F it" and just go for it, but I let that emotion come and go before acting. This too shall pass is what I keep telling myself. Staying healthy so my body can fight this stupid cancer is most important right now. Besides, we'll all get together at my NED (no evidence of disease) party! There, I'll give all the glory to God in my testimony, love on all of you, and maybe even dance to the aforementioned song.
I love seeing everyone on social media creatively living their best lives while trying to safely maneuver during this pandemic. Traveling, boating, renting giant water slides for the kids, etc. All of it looks amazing! However, adding a skin cancer diagnosis to the mix makes enjoying the outdoors during the day very unattractive. Yes, I can lather up on the sunblock, wear my UV clothes and a hat, get an umbrella, etc., but I'm still not comfortable doing so. I do all of those things just to go check the mail at the end of the driveway these days. Overboard? Most likely. As mentioned in a previous post, that's how I roll. I become very uneasy when I feel the sun on my skin even if it's protected. Soooooo, most of my days are spent indoors except for enjoying the covered back porch while watching the pups. This too yields opportunity though. I'm slowly organizing and rearranging every room in the house! I'm also finding fun things to do at night now too. I enjoy going to the beach with my family as the sun is setting--so beautiful! I also enjoy looking at the stars and the moon (full moon tonight btw).
So, yes......COVID has put a damper on things for everyone--cancer or no cancer. However, I truly believe that beautiful things can be born from difficult circumstances. Finding the good things in every moment--regardless of how awkward or uncertain--is where magic happens.
Love & Sunblock