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.