Cancer and Covid

Double C’s…. Cancer and Covid. If you know, you know! Having Cancer is challenging in itself, battling through a pandemic while you’re facing this disease is a whole other story.

Everyone is now struggling, online learning, reduced work hours, masks, vaccines, no vaccines, boosters, social distancing, gathering limits etc etc etc. Covid has impacted all of us with cancer or not. Those with cancer are now also fighting harder than before, covid fatigue is settling in as we approach the 3rd year of the pandemic.


I had 2 visits to the ER this past 6 months I attended both alone. I am independent, however when you are upset, scared, and facing unknowns not having support with you is very isolating. I have attended every appointment, infusion, treatment for the last 18 months alone. Having to phone chat with my husband so he could be part of appointments to not only stay in the loop but also help remember all the details.


Covid means hospital staff are tired, balls are being dropped and the care I had always spoken so highly of has taken a turn. I understand, I always speak to my health care team about the pressures they experience and acknowledge the stress of these times on them. I have been told many times not all patients are as understanding. I truly believe that kindness is always reciprocated and we are all in this together.


The impact of covid has meant surgeries are postponed, staff shortages, and a lack of communication across the board. I worry about how many diagnoses are falling between the cracks in a healthcare system that is so stressed.


Self-advocating is more important than ever, understanding the pressure on our healthcare teams does not mean you should settle for anything less in your care. Our local hospital has an app that for a minimal annual fee includes all of your images and reports. My number one piece of advice for anyone facing a health concern is to request your reports, I have had 3 experiences where a scan showed something that was not brought to my attention until months and months later. This is unacceptable and without seeing the reports myself I cannot hold anyone accountable, including myself. It is okay to disagree or ask for a second opinion, ensuring you understand your options helps you make the best choices for yourself and your health.


Understanding your treatment options. This can be difficult especially when you are facing so many unknowns. I never thought I would know this much about cancer, unfortunately, no one seems to educate themselves before they have to. Why would we?


Covid is impacting those with compromised immune systems which strains life and daily living. There are ways to improve your care during covid:

o Changing an in-person appointment to be done over the telephone or a video conference

o Changing how often you receive treatments or postponing them to a later date

o Understand the screening requirements and visitor/guest policies for appointments

It is normal to feel nervous or worried if your cancer treatment plan has changed. Talk to your health team about your concerns.


How to take care of yourself during this time:

· Your health care team is there for you. If you are very worried about COVID, ask for help.

· If you find it upsetting to hear about COVID-19, try limiting your time watching, reading, or listening to news stories.

· Take care of your body. Eat healthy, be active, and get plenty of sleep.

· Make time to relax and do things you enjoy, such as reading, listening to music, cooking, or watching a movie.

· Stay connected with friends and loved ones through telephone or video chats. Social distancing refers to the physical distance between people. It does not mean social isolation.


The most important thing you can do is follow the public health guidelines and local health departments.


Everyone is now struggling, online learning, reduced work hours, masks, vaccines, no vaccines, boosters, social distancing, gathering limits, etc etc etc. Covid has impacted all of us with cancer or not. Those with cancer are now also fighting harder than before, covid fatigue is settling in as we approach the 3rd year of the pandemic.






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