The Gift That Keeps On Giving!

It didn’t feel right to write a blog now that didn’t include something about Corona Virus ( COVID19.) I don’t know about you but I am absolutely stunned at the stupidity of many people with their panic buying and selfish behavior during this crisis. But they have already taken up too much time so I want to focus on it’s connection with cancer.

Since my personal exposure to cancer I have got used to being classed as a vulnerable person, whether I like it or not! Sure, my immune system is absolutely rubbish and I am likely to catch anything that is going. Not only that but it will take me a long time to recover from even the mildest cold. Which may, if I am unlucky, turn to pneumonia. But after so many years of living life like this it has become the norm for me. Washing my hands wherever I go, and travelling off-peak whenever I can. Doing all those things that everyone is now being told to do. To me, these things are common sense and if people weren’t already doing that, then I hope they continue at least to wash their hands much more frequently now!

So cancer has made me vulnerable to yet a new threat. No wonder they call it ‘the gift that keeps on giving.’ There are now so many things I physically can’t do that I shock myself sometimes by how much I still love my life! “Remember Mr Lewis, don’t go in the sun!” “Try and avoid going into busy areas.” Oh, you have a very bad DVT, have you flown long haul recently, as that is one of the side effects.” “There is a very good chance that you will be affected by depression.” The list goes on and includes different medications that I need to take for life.

The side effects of cancer treatment whether it is surgery, radiotherapy or chemotherapy are still being understood. We have a vague idea of the impact on people but of course everyone is different and will respond in a unique way. Some of us are living much longer than expected so we are in uncharted territory. Nobody in my medical team knows how things will go for me in the short term. Will my cancer return, or get yet another complication?

Most of us sign up to treatment that we don’t know the long term effects of. Why, because we have no choice. But I’m sure, like me you are grateful for the extra time you have been given. But it is indeed extremely tiring dealing with situations that are very unexpected. When the most aggressive treatment available was thrown at me back in 2007, there was no real thought from me about what might happen in the future, having been given only 6 months to live. It was just a question of getting through one day at a time until I had done a complete week. Then a month, and so it continued.

Now I’m 13 years on and my life is still being hijacked by surprises connected to my cancer. The physical issues are one thing but the mental resilience required to keep your life on course is truly something else. We are now in times when we understand much more about mental health and why people affected by cancer may struggle with their issues. Yet another challenge for us to deal with!

Being ready for anything has become part of my everyday life. Although I must admit even I never saw this virus coming! I have seen a lot of confusion from people affected by cancer on social-media recently, but I do believe that most of us are used to living our lives this way. Of course there will be unique challenges this time, with increasing pressures on the NHS and problems purchasing every item from our shopping list. Our diaries changing at very short notice and maybe our working patterns too.

But this is yet another challenge thrown our way. All virus’s are dangerous for us and we would naturally stay out of the way of people with colds. We just have to be a lot more careful now! I have never seen anything like this in my lifetime, so we don’t know how this will play out. But one thing is for sure, this will clear eventually. I personally believe that our world will be changed for the better because of it. If we all develop much better hygiene habits alone!

People affected by cancer are becoming resilient to the challenges coming their way. Nobody wants them but unfortunately they are a fact of our lives. Maybe this recent incident has made more people aware of the problems that people with cancer face. It can be classed as an invisible illness for many but just because you can’t see the impact of our treatment, it doesn’t mean we are not dealing with it daily.

Stay out of trouble everyone, and as should always be the way, be kind to others! As always these are my views and experiences. Please feel free to share your own below.

Please watch this incredibly informative video for very detailed information if you are affected by cancer/blood cancer created by a collaboration of experts.

The Grove Hotel Bournemouth

I am an official support partner of the Grove Hotel in Bournemouth. The only hotel in the UK specifically for people affected by cancer and other life limiting conditions. 

 

10 Comments

  1. Hi Chris, I so love this post!

    You’re quite right, people living with cancer have always had to take the safest approach to their health and wellbeing but even moreso now.

    I find that I am still thinking about how to positively help others without risking my personal health. We need to think about others as you say, especially with this panic shopping- stop it! Eventually the supermarkets will limit most goods whether it be shopping online or in person.

    This will be the challenge of our lifetime Chris, a war against the Covid-19 virus, a war against the enemy we cannot see. I truly believe that if we share and continue to support collectively, we can still help others from a remote space. Charities will need even more volunteers (lots of people will be at home- can you safely spare some time?) and will certainly need the continuation of kind donations.

    I am pleased to see you are well.

    Thanks for a thoughtful and brilliant post.
    X

    • Thanks so much for your kind words Cheryl!

      I think a lot of our work will be online now and there are many ways to help people without risking your personal health. My belief is that this is the biggest challenge to the world that I have ever seen in my time. Many industries will never be the same again. Not always for the worse either. We will start to find more efficient ways of working involving less commuting and international travel. Eventually better for the planet.

      We will also prioritise health finally!! No matter how much progress we think we have made with technology, nature will push back!

      The charity sector will also be changed forever, possibly a good thing? Time will tell.

      Please keep in touch, Chris XX

  2. Another great blog Chris – stay even safer in these dangerous times for you

  3. Thinking of you. X

  4. Best wishes to you & your family, Chris. Deb X

  5. Another great blog post Chris and one that certanly strikes a cord with me. It seems the older we get and the longer it is since we were diagnosed the more we tend to think the illnesses we get are just part of getting old!! Sadly many things can be traced back to either the cancer itself or the treatment and the havoc it created on our bodies and our mind.
    Many people around us seem to think that just because we don’t have cancer anymore that we are ok but I’ve heard so many survivors over the past couple of weeks say they are really scared of this coronovirus outbreak and the possibility of getting it. Also many other vulnerable people like the elderly and disabled. I have a friend who has to travel to the mainland 3 times a week for dialysis treatment and he is so worried.
    It is a scary time for many people with long term health issues and I only hope that we can all get through this. If anything it might hopefully make people a bit more aware of what those with invisible health issues go through on a daily basis.
    Best wishes as always.

  6. Hiya Kaz,

    So lovely to hear from you. I agree with you, most of the things that are happening to me all relate to my cancer. I believe that the clinicians are also learning from our cases, as we continue to live longer with our cancer.

    For many these are difficult times, but as you know we have had to live our lives being careful, so many things remain the same. As others are drawn into this they are now beginning to understand what we have been going through. It is very difficult for the vulnerable in society and frightening for us all.

    We are in new times now and I believe nothing will be the same after this. I think there will be many positive changes to the world because of this. Unfortunately there will be casualties along the way. Not just people but entire businesses too. I have never seen anything like this in my lifetime.

    Big love as always Kaz and stay safe XXX

  7. Hi chris
    My son has just directed me to your blog
    I have sent u a message on Facebook I hope u get this
    I am 49 diagnosed out the blue with a grade 4 brain tumour
    I had the op 14 Jan to remove most and just at the end of my 6 weeks daily chemo radio

    I’m a networker with a huge access to many businesses and planning a big charity event once all this is over – the corona virus has made it all more difficult but only glad I’m not starting treatment now
    like yourself and have a need to help and motivate people

    Please email janegreen75@iCloud.Com

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