Engaging with people is what makes me tick. Of course in person is best, but since we have been unable to do that in recent times, Zoom etc has enabled us to stay in touch even if it is only virtually. What has really shocked me in this time, is how the country is gripped with fear. I am on social media a lot and see what is happening there, but of course that is only one part of the equation. My conclusion is based on my own circle of friends. People who although not in their youth, enjoy being out more than in, with many fortunate enough to be able to travel round the world fulfilling their dreams.
Amongst that group are several in relatively poor health, shielding because of their own personal circumstances. We have all suffered from not seeing our grandchildren for many months too. A few of us require regular maintenance at hospital, which has all been cancelled because of Covid19. Most of us are ‘planners’ and have holidays etc organised months in advance without a second thought. We also regularly use public transport as it is far more convenient when living in London. Free for people of a certain age! But none of that is happening now.
Other than meeting up with family, and infrequent trips to buy food, many feel unsure about even leaving their homes. Inviting them for a day out in London is a very definite no! Many of us haven’t been on public transport for at least 6 months. These are friends of mine who in normal circumstances love to socialise. Frequently eating and drinking at our local restaurants. But in our house things are very slowly getting back to something more ‘normal.’ Mrs L is a regular again at her gym, and is starting to go out for lunch with some of her friends. We are eating out and have even had a weekend away with all the family.
People seem quite surprised when asking how we are getting on. They feel that Mrs L should be staying at home so as not to put me at risk. Also they sound slightly shocked when I tell them that I am going out quite regularly. What they don’t understand is that my family have always lived a well disciplined regime around me. We have all sacrificed a lot in the fear of cancer and it’s treatment. Much of this has been our way of life for many years. But no more fear from here!
Of course we are as sensible as we can be, but there will always be an element of risk in life. Look at how many life changing events that have happened in recent years including the explosion in Beirut, within the last two weeks! I have always felt guilty how my family’s lives have been changed because of my illness. I am delighted to see they are all getting on as best they can during these difficult times.
All our lives are full of uncertainty which has been the case since we were born. Part of that uncertainty creates the excitement we might experience. But it can also create the feeling of fear. That can eat away at you and can put you into a state of emotional paralysis. Which is what I am beginning to see for many people. The virus has taken many lives, quite shocking in this day and age, but we know a lot more about it now. We have reached the stage where we must live with it not hide from it!
My own life has never been the same since the cancer experience, but it has empowered me. I have no fear at all now, certainly not of Covid19. Having had my own brushes with death, I will not be hiding away. Only for the benefit of others. Risk and uncertainty will always be ingredients of our lives, with or without life threatening disease or illness. Of course there are many things we can do to minimise, but not totally remove them.
Risk is something we must all assess for ourselves. Surely we don’t need Government to tell us what is sensible for us? But let’s not get disabled by fear. Not only does the economy need us to start moving forward but it is for our own benefit and mental health. We are only now starting to see the impacts of fear, I don’t want to imagine what it might look like in another 6 months.
What kind of life will it be, if we all are hiding away from the things that we enjoy? Fear is stopping us from living our lives, that’s not how we want to live, surely. I didn’t go through all I have been through, to remain living in fear and hiding in my house. Nothing will stop me from living my life the best way I can. I haven’t come this far, just to stop. Other than health, time is the most valuable thing we have. It’s a daily decreasing asset. Don’t let fear take it from you, it can be more destructive that the virus itself. Who knows what might happen tomorrow?
As always these are my own thoughts and opinions based on personal experiences. Please feel free to share your own below.
Great post Chris. I get the fear thing that exists out there. These emotions are common too in my cancer coaching work, especially with patients who are newly diagnosed. But like you, i will live my life without fear of dying of covid. To a certain extent, i have become resilient over the years post my cancer diagnosis and am mindful about stayimg this way
Warm regards, Dianne.
Thanks so much for your kind words Dianne. I’m sure you see it a lot in your line of work. To a degree I understand why it exists. But like you have experienced all the cancer stuff I also have become resilient. Neither do I want my family to live in fear about what might happen to me because of something they do. We have lived ‘sensibly’ for many years and won’t change now. Life is for living!
Great to hear your own positive attitude. Very best as always, Chris
How often you say things how I feel Chris. Fear is a very nasty feeling that hides everything normal in life. I feel that at 81yrs have had not too bad a life which I want to continue a lot longer. I have seen alot of my friends go under and have ended up having to have tablets, not for me thank you look at plant life or the butterflies and animals they are not giving up. Love and best regards to you and your family and thank you for your Livy post. Georgine x
You’ve put it so beautifully Georgine, thank you for that! All of our lives are limited of course and it seems crazy to stay inside because of fear. I know you guys have seen so many difficult situations and I’m sure nothing will be stopping you now! Stay safe Georgine, big love from us all XXX
Well said Chris. We need to get on with living our lives. When your life expectancy has been shortened by a stage 4 cancer diagnosis you want to be spending whatever reduced years you’ve got living life to the full. I feel as if I’ve had 5 months stolen from me!
Thanks Tony! I am truly shocked at the amount of fear I encounter now. Many are paralysed by it. Of course we all react differently to a situation but we cannot let #Fear dominate.
Hear Hear Chris I second that and neither will I and hopefully neither will any of the other people suffering with Cancer being blatantly ignored by our Government
Thanks so much Barry. There are a lot more powerful things that #Covid19 including #Cancer and #Fear. Both very destructive in their own ways.
Thanks Chris for this lovely and encouraging post, as always. My daughter’s birthday is on Thursday and we were not going to invite anybody over for it. Last night, we found her in her room crying hysterically because her life seemingly has come to a halt since her cancer diagnosis early this year… I have been toying with the idea of inviting 2 of her best friends over on Thursday for a garden lunch… Now I know I’ll do it to give her joy and something to remember even as she prepares for the next stage of her treatment. Hopefully, it’ll give her something to blog about.
Here’s the link to her first blog: https://youtu.be/Zj7oabSGh1Q
Hi Tochi, thanks so much for your kind words! I am absolutely delighted to read this comment, you absolutely must do the lunch. That will be such a positive for you all and of course particularly for Toni. Please let me know how it goes.
The blog your daughter is doing is wonderful, I would be happy to feature it sometime if she would like that?
Really good to hear from you, and if I can help with anything please let me know. Very best to you all, Chris
Thanks Chris. I just showed Toni your reply and she’s delighted that you would like to feature her blog!
One of the first things we struggled with at the beginning of this journey was finding someone of a similar age and from the same ethnic background, to share their experience with my daughter, Toni…
So, you can imagine my joy when she decided to start her own blog to encourage other children. I hope you will join me to encourage her even as we prepare to commence the next stage of her treatment.
Please feel free to feature her blog and encourage others to Watch, Like, Comment, Subscribe and Share
Hi Tochi. When I started my own blog there weren’t enough patients doing it. Things have changed positively now of course. Sometimes someone has to start the ball rolling. I totally understand all the issues mentioned. I would be delighted to help Toni get more ‘out there,’ as and when the time is right. There is a massive value in what she is doing here. Not just for herself but others that are feeling isolated.
Happy to talk further about this when you feel the time is right. #TeamToni
Hi Chris, I thought I’d already replied to your article but clearly hadn’t. I totally agree that time is precious and, sadly, we don’t get to carry over the lost months of Covid like we might an annual leave allowance.
I was fortunate to spend the whole of lockdown with my adult daughter – we get on incredibly well so our experience was very different than those going through, e.g., loneliness or domestic violence. My employer kept me off rota due to underlying health issues, my daughter’s employer had her working from home, though she’s now back getting up at 4:30am & commuting.
Last month I chose to retire, which has shifted my voluntary womb cancer work to much more sociable hours. I’m also training to qualify as a life coach and NLP practitioner, so my life’s now very different. Though undoubtedly financially poorer I’m currently richer in other ways, especially time and how I use it – it took a pandemic to make me realise I shouldn’t be afraid to make those changes.
Action on Womb Cancer and Womb Cancer Info are members of Cancer52. Through Cancer52 I became aware of the NHS #HelpUsToHelpYou campaign to encourage people to see their GP about worrying signs and symptoms. The death toll from fear of Covid may, ultimately, be much larger than from Covid itself.
Keep well and much love to you and your family. Deb X
Hi Deb, time is certainly precious. Living with cancer, it’s very difficult to strike a balance, as we both well know. But after all these years I have learned to live with risk, and won’t be sitting at home waiting for the storm to pass. I hope you guys are doing well? Big love to you all, XX
We’re OK thanks, Chris. We’ve mainly sorted out the house this summer, unlike last summer when we were barely home. Not reading newspapers, limited viewing of TV news and being as discerning as possible about what we see on social media has helped us stay positive throughout. Keep well and enjoy life as much as possible! Take care. XX