This is our time, cancer patients.
The world is upside down in panic about the one thing we’ve been silently screaming about…our health. Many times, I’ve told people that if you don’t have your health, you have nothing. We so take for granted this aspect of our lives that when something comes up behind us, we are blindsided. Shocked. In a pearl clutching uproar. Everything about your life changes when your health is affected. Going to the gym, walking around the block, even walking around the grocery store becomes a Herculean task. Your life as you knew it is over.
With the eruption of COVID-19, people are really struggling with the reality of a shift in their norms. For metastatic cancer patients, this is what we refer to as our ‘new normal’ and guess what? This new normal we have to become accustomed to lasts the remainder of our days. It’s amazing to see how many people are fighting, rebelling against what is likely a temporary adjustment to their lives. I get it though, and here is why.
No one thinks it can happen to them.
News flash – it can and it will, because why not you? People used to ask me why I wasn’t more angry or self-despairing with my stage IV diagnosis. I remember thinking that there was never a point in saying ‘why me’ because really, why not me? I’m no more indestructible than anyone else. My family and friends love me like anyone else. I’ve lived a very satisfying, and in my opinion, good life so while I don’t necessarily believe in karma, I don’t feel I’ve done anything in my life to deserve a terminal illness (no bodies in my backyard, thanks Dateline). The reality is that some people get sick and it can happen to any of us at any time.
Here is why I have reached CORON-over it status:
⁃ The News: I can’t. I just can’t with all of the politicizing about this illness. Love it hate our president, he’s not a medical professional and I’m sure whoever writes his talking points aren’t either. Now he is allegedly a businessman, so yes, him wanting the stock market not to tank makes sense in a self-fulfilling way. I’m sure a lot of people feel the same all over the world, especially if they or their loved ones aren’t sick. You already know how you feel about El Presidente so why cause yourself more stress watching him on the news if it upsets you. It’s a mute from me. Thank you, next.
⁃ Springbreakers, naysayers, and conspiracy theorists: OVER IT. When and until you’ve brought home COVID-19 to your grandparents, your aunt sitting next to me at chemo, or your toddler nephew, you need to think about someone other than your own selfish behind and stay home. Awww, you’ll miss out on the memories? Trust me, you will have plenty of opportunities to get drunk, get shot down, and puke all over yourself many, many times in your life. Save it until you won’t accidentally kill someone with your ignorance. Stay home.
⁃ Finally, all of you saying it’s a media hoax, it’s blown out of proportion, etc: Just stay with me a second. What if everything you are seeing on the global news (yes, I said GLOBAL, not solely Fox or solely MSNBC…get outside your comfort zone on this one), just what if everything you are seeing IS happening? Pandemics are not something new. Throughout history we’ve encountered numerous ones and quite frankly were overdue for something like this. If you can break through that stubborn mentality and for a second think this could be happening on the scale doctors, scientists, researchers, and other people way smarter than you or me are saying it is, isn’t it worth staying home for a couple of weeks? Oh, you don’t believe in science and the Earth is flat? Then I suggest you keep walking flat-earther so you can leave me and grandma out of it.
Bottom line is, please think of others right now. Cancer patients, we’ve had to live like this for a while. Now our friends and family know why we stay gone so much. Only now it’s not just protecting ourselves that’s at stake, it’s protecting our neighbors as well. Stay home, pick up a hobby, read a book, and for goodness sake stop buying up all the paper products. That’s a whole other topic I can’t deal with y’all.
A huge, gigantic, world-encompassing thank you to all of the doctors, health care workers, police officers, and all first responders for selflessly stepping up right now. We’d truly be lost without you.
Stay safe, be healthy, and live with love.