How Cancer Prepared me for the COVID-19 Pandemic

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Let’s face it, being in lock down sucks. It’s hard and a lot of people are feeling VERY restless. It’s normal to feel that way. Whatever “normal” is anymore. We’ve all been abiding the rules, social distancing, wearing masks when appropriate, only venturing out of our homes when its absolutely necessary and trying to stay as calm and sane as possible.

When I had my double mastectomy and subsequent surgeries I experienced many of the same feelings as we are all experiencing now. You are scared, anxious, and yes even angry. You ask yourself why…and wonder when things will resume some sense of normality. You push on day by day trying to keep a positive outlook; trying to put on a good face and trying to find the “bright side” of things. Some days are better than others. And some days are just down right shitty! Trust me, I’ve had quite enough of being isolated, lonely and nervous. Do to my “under lying” health issues…mainly fuc#ing cancer and its ramifications, I am more vulnerable. There are many of us who are and we fear this virus even more because if we contract it, it could wreak havoc on our already weakened state. As if I don’t have enough crap to deal with, along comes a fuc#ing pandemic to add to the mix.

Some of you may never have had to deal with a trauma. And yes, what COVID-19 has brought to our world is traumatic. It’s big, its scary and it has disrupted our lives forever. There will never be a return to life as it once was. There will instead be a new “normal”. Life as we knew it is different now. And we must accept that. That doesn’t mean that this experience has to be wholly negative either. You can find happiness, joy, strength and a new focus. Think of the “good things” that this isolation has brought. Yes, you heard me….good. I know there is some. Ok, I’ll start. Let’s see…I’ve made use of things in my pantry that I didn’t even know I had because I couldn’t get to a grocery store. I crocheted colourful masks for friends and neighbors. I learned to bake bread and rolls just like my grandma used to make. (although finding yeast anywhere is like panning for gold!) I’ve had many WhatsApp/Zoom cocktail hour calls with my parents, daughter/son in law and brother and have been able to really connect and share our days/weeks and months with honesty and a lot of laughter. And I’ve been able to find renewed inner strength dealing with this crisis.

When this pandemic hit, I thought I was tapped out to be honest. I’ve been on my cancer journey for a lot longer than I anticipated and when the lock down happened I was really shaken. The isolation and fear of the unknown is far too close to what I’ve dealt with and felt since being diagnosed with cancer. My anxiety has reared its ugly head more times than not and physically I’m suffering because all my treatments and therapies have been cancelled until the world “reopens”. So many people are dealing with terrible losses of jobs, wages, illness and even death of family and friends. It’s unreal to think that just a few months ago we were free to do what we wanted, when we wanted without the crippling fear of the coronavirus. Our lives have been turned upside down and the entire world is experiencing this pandemic…together.

We are all stronger and more resilient than you might think. This is a traumatic time, but this too shall pass. I know…I’ve been down this road before. And if I can do it, so can you! Remember, the thing about pain is it won’t last forever. The thing about today is that there’s always a tomorrow. We will get through this. We need to come through this together, for together we are stronger. Together we are better. Together we can conquer anything.  Please look out for each other. Show you care. You don’t have to physically touch someone to show how much you love them. You can touch their hearts, their minds and their souls with words. Stay connected. Stay calm. Stay safe.

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President of As You Like It Marketing & Communications Inc. Award winning speaker and author. Breast cancer fighter and blogger. I’m sharing my journey…the good, the bad and the ugly. Hoping to help anyone else that has been touched by breast cancer be it you or someone you know or love.

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