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Let's Discuss...coping with cancer and COVID-19

Let's Discuss...coping with cancer and COVID-19

Posted by Lacey_adminCCS on Apr 24, 2020 11:51 am

Cancer is an underlying medical condition. So it’s natural to fear getting COVID-19. You may also fear that your cancer treatment will be delayed.
 


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Watch the webinar: Coping with cancer and COVID-19 (15 minutes long)
 
Take a moment to comment below- How are you doing right now? What is helping you cope? 
 

Re: Let's Discuss...coping with cancer and COVID-19

Posted by SpeedyStill on Apr 24, 2020 9:01 pm

I find that working on a challenge requires a person going back to the beginning.
What were the things I was doing before the challenge to find enjoyment in life.
We tend to loss our focus and control once challenged by a life changing event.
This is not easy and I don't want to make it sound that way.
The ability to motivate ourselves to move forward can be found if we look hard enough.
During my journey with Cancer I was in and out of control and focus. Sometimes I think more out than in but I did get to the other side.
I am in the high risk group because of my age and health issues.
What can I do?
Just what was said in the Webinar, work on the controlables and not be consumed by the uncontrollables.
I would suggest to everyone to listen carefully to the Webinar and write down those comments that are so important.
I would mention them here with personal comments but it would make this too long. She hits on so much great information.
Speedystill 

Re: Let's Discuss...coping with cancer and COVID-19

Posted by JustJan on Apr 27, 2020 11:30 am

Fortunately, I am finished with surgery, chemo and radiation and my heart goes out to those of you who have active treatment right now.  My last scans were done March 2nd just before the lockdown.  I am on a PARP inhibitor so do require monthly blood work and follow-up with my Oncologist. My care team has been wonderful.  They are sending me to a community lab for my blood work (to keep me out of the hospital where the risks are much greater) and we are doing telephone follow-up appointments. As long as my blood work is good, this will work.  I will say it is a bit odd not having that face to face contact with the care team but we are making it work as best we can. They also gave me a plan to follow should I get COVID symptoms which provided a great deal of relief for me.  

Practically speaking, my husband and daughter (who moved in with us for the isolation period) are doing any shopping that may be required.  We have taken advantage of delivery and curbside pickup where available.  The only time I go out of the house (yard) is to get my blood work done.  We have pretty strict sanitization practices to be followed if someone has had to go out.  We are doing puzzles, playing games and getting caught up on some movies and shows.  We are maintaining contact via phone, zoom, etc with our family and friends.

I will say that last year with the cancer diagnoses and treatment, really did prepare me for this.  As I spent a lot of time at home last year and not going out, it really helped me know that I am okay to be at home and comfortable with that.  It also made me realize that after getting two different cancer diagnoses in 2019 that this for me, is small stuff.  What is different with this isolation is that I have the ability to start to focus again on the things I love to do, such as sewing, knitting, and quilting.  It has also afforded me the opportunity to do some cleaning of closets and organization that slipped through the cracks last year.  It is helping me build up my energy and stamina once again and I am beginning to feel like my old self. I am also able to make my husband an extensive "honey do" list.  He said he likes projects, so I will give him projects. Lol.  In general, I am a positive person and tend to find silver linings in situations.   Right now I am happy to take this gift of time to help restore my strength and health.

Stay safe everyone!



 
Strength doesn't come from what you can do, it comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn't. - Rikki Rogers

Re: Let's Discuss...coping with cancer and COVID-19

Posted by PearlFran on Apr 27, 2020 11:53 am

Nothing beats cancer, seriously.  But we co-exist with cancer as calmly as we can.  
COVID19 adds more mental challenges to caregivers than patients (because we are more immune-compromised?).   My hubby and I still walk around the block, weather permitting.  The cleaner air these days is very refreshing.
Life is unpredictable, just like cancer, we do our best and are prepared for the worst.
Meanwhile, I practice physical distancing, wash my hands frequesntly, and wear a DIY fabric face mask when I am outdoor.  
Protect oursleves, our community and our nation.  Togther we are ONE.



 

Re: Let's Discuss...coping with cancer and COVID-19

Posted by Nan1 on Apr 27, 2020 12:24 pm

Fighting cancer is enough of a battle.  I do not need to engage in another one with covid 19.  My chemo treatment is done and tomorrow is my last radiation treatment.  I was concerned about being immunocompromised so I asked my Medical and Radaiation Oncologists about it.
It seems that it depends on who you talk to as to whether or not you are immunocompromised while under cancer treatment.  I have been told that as I have finished chemo that I am not immunocompromised but have also been told that I will continue to be immnocomromised for up to 12 months post treatment.  I was also told that Radiation does not pose any threat to your immune system and also told that it does.  These were 2 different replies..one from my medical oncologist and one from my radiation oncologist.
I found this rather frustrating to get conflicting information but am still being very careful with protecting myself whenever I  go out in my backyard or for a walk.  Has anyone else on this site been provided information about being immunocompromised?  I would be interested in knowing what you were told.

Nan1 

Re: Let's Discuss...coping with cancer and COVID-19

Posted by law on Apr 27, 2020 1:26 pm

Hi COVID-19 and Cancer Fighters,
What a wacky world for us these days. If we have survived treatment, surgery, depression and pain, we now have a new annoyance: COVID-19 . Swell.
Isolation for me is easy because I am not a caregiver, nor a home-schooler with antsy children, no work nor money freak outs as I am retired. I consider myself very fortunate.
I am however, concerned that every time I sneeze, cough, have a backache, or feel run down ...these are Corona Virus symptoms and I will soon be hospitalized with a breathing tube shoved down my throat and several serious hospital heroes wearing gowns, and special face coverings staring intently at me from above and are flipping me on my stomach so I can breathe. Of course this paranoid yet concerned fantasy would render me quite unable to breathe if I were on my stomach with intubation simultaneously. Oh, and I may be in the hospital hallway as the wards are overcrowded already.
Other than those nightmares, I am fine by just staying home quite a bit, (I love it because I am a lazy hermit already). I consider a 30 minute - 60 minute walk outside for daily exercise and then pop into a market for groceries. I like to stay busy by baking, cooking, emailing just a scant bit, and watching documentaries on TV. Often I find the news from the US networks very macabre, and Trump's ignorant and rude comments are laughable, yet scary.
I play clarinet in 2 bands----which are currently only Zooming online, or playing at the Beacon Hill Park Cameron band shell in Victoria....2 metres apart. It's pretty funny. One evening we played for an Alzheimer's Retirement Residence...the residents were watching us from a large window inside, while we were playing outside on the sidewalk.  We were 2 metres apart, and held up signs saying "Hello, How are you?" So sweet!
When I am a bit bored, I either read, or, I try to entertain my cat (who prefers sleeping and /or eating treats).
Hang in there folks, it's only our Brave New Normal World.
law

Re: Let's Discuss...coping with cancer and COVID-19

Posted by Scared on Apr 27, 2020 1:39 pm

There are days when I am so afraid of everything from this virus, my cancer coming back, not wanting to go to hospital for tests, to still grieving greatly over the loss of my father.  I dont trust the health system where I live because they have let me down before and I have seen the mistakes that have been made in our hospitals as well.  So, I don't always sleep well unless I take something.  And, speaking of meds, I've been in trials with 2 different medications to prevent hormone positive recurrence of breast cancer.  (Even though my tested rate of recurrence is medium low)   So far, the side effects have been unbearable and it takes a couple of weeks to get it out of my system when I stop taking them each time.  I'm afraid my oncologist will want me to try something else and frankly I dont think its healthy to put my body through another trial.  It seems to be doing me more harm than good.  For the most part I live in fear.  I have anxiety and will be happy when I can see more of my family.
This virus has made me afraid for my daughter who will be giving birth any day now and will he going to a nearby hospital.  The doctor assures her that it will be safe.   Whenever this happens I will be caring for her other 2 children and I need to be healthy for them.
I walk on my treadmill 2 or 3 times a week and if it's nice outside I walk around the backyard for a bit. Those things help to distract me from the fears I live with.

Re: Let's Discuss...coping with cancer and COVID-19

Posted by PamG on Apr 27, 2020 1:42 pm

I refuse to let COVID ruin the remaining time I have left.  Rick and I are getting out for walks.  We have "Date Nights" at home.  We cook a special meal, set up candles, get dressed up, have wine, and pretend we are in an upscale restaurant.  Today we are having a Love Song sing a long with You tube.  I am staying connected with family and friends via e-mail. We attend church services via you tube.  I am attending my support groups at Wellspring and Sage Hospice via Zoom.  And I remain pain free from my cancer.  Life doesn't get much better.  

Re: Let's Discuss...coping with cancer and COVID-19

Posted by Lacey_adminCCS on Apr 27, 2020 3:10 pm

PamG:
I refuse to let COVID ruin the remaining time I have left.  Rick and I are getting out for walks.  We have "Date Nights" at home.  We cook a special meal, set up candles, get dressed up, have wine, and pretend we are in an upscale restaurant.  Today we are having a Love Song sing a long with You tube.  I am staying connected with family and friends via e-mail. We attend church services via you tube.  I am attending my support groups at Wellspring and Sage Hospice via Zoom.  And I remain pain free from my cancer.  Life doesn't get much better.  

PamG‍ 

How wonderful! Thank you for sharing. Enjoy the love song sing-a-long.

Your post is so inspirational and a reminder to live each day to the fullest.

Lacey

Re: Let's Discuss...coping with cancer and COVID-19

Posted by Lacey_adminCCS on Apr 27, 2020 3:15 pm

Scared:
There are days when I am so afraid of everything from this virus, my cancer coming back, not wanting to go to hospital for tests, to still grieving greatly over the loss of my father.  I dont trust the health system where I live because they have let me down before and I have seen the mistakes that have been made in our hospitals as well.  So, I don't always sleep well unless I take something.  And, speaking of meds, I've been in trials with 2 different medications to prevent hormone positive recurrence of breast cancer.  (Even though my tested rate of recurrence is medium low)   So far, the side effects have been unbearable and it takes a couple of weeks to get it out of my system when I stop taking them each time.  I'm afraid my oncologist will want me to try something else and frankly I dont think its healthy to put my body through another trial.  It seems to be doing me more harm than good.  For the most part I live in fear.  I have anxiety and will be happy when I can see more of my family.
This virus has made me afraid for my daughter who will be giving birth any day now and will he going to a nearby hospital.  The doctor assures her that it will be safe.   Whenever this happens I will be caring for her other 2 children and I need to be healthy for them.
I walk on my treadmill 2 or 3 times a week and if it's nice outside I walk around the backyard for a bit. Those things help to distract me from the fears I live with.

Scared

Thanks for sharing with us how you are feeling. You have a lot on your plate right now it's understandable to feel afraid.

I'm glad to hear your walking is helping distract you and I wish your Daughter a smooth and healthy delivery.

Reach out anytime,
Lacey

Re: Let's Discuss...coping with cancer and COVID-19

Posted by princessmaura on Apr 27, 2020 3:16 pm

This is a very  scary time for cancer patients .  We need to self-isolate and wash our hands often. I make sure to watch the news to find out what is happening in the world.

Re: Let's Discuss...coping with cancer and COVID-19

Posted by PearlFran on Apr 27, 2020 5:05 pm

A patient has developed resistance to her targeted medication.  However, since COVID19 is a top priority, all other research funding has been cut.  So, oncologist cannot refer her for clinical trial now.  So sad.

Re: Let's Discuss...coping with cancer and COVID-19

Posted by Swood on Apr 27, 2020 7:22 pm

I have terminal lung cancer and have been told I am going to die sooner rather than later. I have been unable to accept this I am 55 and not ready to die. Now with Covid I feel like my last precious time has been stolen by isolation. I have raging anxiety and panic attacks. Trying very hard to stay in the light of life but I feel like I am losing that battle too! Sorry to not be a ray of sunshine.

 

Re: Let's Discuss...coping with cancer and COVID-19

Posted by SpeedyStill on Apr 27, 2020 8:44 pm

Nobody should suppress their feelings. Anger, anxiety, fear and all the others is our mind and body dealing with the situation we find ourselves in at this point in our lives.
Getting these emotions out in this environment is sometimes diddicult. I get responses like everyone is going through tough times. Yes this is true but the magnitude is different for different people.
There is nothing we can do to impact uncontollablles, we howevever can try to find something we love about life to focus on to at least make the day bearable.
I deal with depression, chronic pain and I am in the high risk group. I can't change those things.
My biggest go to is music I crank it up loud and sing along.
Our mind is programed by what we here and how many times our mind keeps repeating it.
Some people are doing okay and others are struggling.
I hope that those that are okay stay that way and those that are struggling find a little bit of happiness to get them through the days ahead.
Speedystill 

Re: Let's Discuss...coping with cancer and COVID-19

Posted by Wendy Tea on Apr 27, 2020 10:06 pm

Swood‍  I am sorry about your diagnosis especially during a pandemic when you should be spending time with loved ones and friends. It is not fair that you can't even give and receive hugs and comfort. Even though there are many ways to connect electronically,  seeing someone in two dimensions is definitely not the same as a 3D real live person. Please let me know how I can help.
Healing takes time and opportunity. Wendy Tea

Re: Let's Discuss...coping with cancer and COVID-19

Posted by Rayline on Apr 27, 2020 10:39 pm

Swood‍ I feel for you. So difficult living with a terminal diagnosis and with this Covid19 on top my heart goes out to you. I have heard some other members mention a virtual meeting for advanced cancer diagnosis. I find talking with other folks going through similar things helpful. Sending hugs out to you.

Re: Let's Discuss...coping with cancer and COVID-19

Posted by Lacey_adminCCS on Apr 28, 2020 10:25 am

Swood‍ 

I'm glad you reached out and shared how you're 'really' feeling. It's not easy to do I know there is someone reading your post feeling the same. So thank you.

Being a 'ray of sunshine' is not a condition of membership here. Not need to say sorry.

It's not fair that you are not able to spend your time the way you want to. It's okay to grieve that. Is your doctor aware of the anxiety your feeling? Maybe there is some help you can get to make your days more manageable? 

Sending hugs,
Lacey

Re: Let's Discuss...coping with cancer and COVID-19

Posted by Laika57 on Apr 30, 2020 1:21 pm

Caregiver here. It is stressful worrying about what I might catch and bring home every time I go out. More worrying is my husband ignoring most cautions and going shopping anyways (it is the only [social] outing available these days).
chemo is delayed again since he is in hospital with another infection. This was his 3rd or 4th negative covid test. Infections & covid share a lot of symptoms. Naturally.
and I have allergies, including a runny nose and cough, which makes me persona non grata pretty much anywhere. And yes, there is the persistent underlying niggle of doubt, what if it is covid after all?
meanwhile our dogwalker is throwing a hissy fit because I haven't been visiting her with our dog, calling me selfish for keeping him away from her (ah, more evidence she is a nutcase).  Whilst our friends are being responsible and declining my husbands invitations to dinner.
So, looking at the bright side, I think the covid precautions are actually a good thing, in my husbands case. It forces him to be more careful about infections than he would have been a year ago. And better still, since he is still pretty careless, everyone around him is taking steps not to infect him with anything.
He is probably safer now than he would be through a "normal" flu season, insisting on being his usual self...
 

Re: Let's Discuss...coping with cancer and COVID-19

Posted by Buffythevampire on Apr 30, 2020 5:54 pm

Next week I was supposed to have 2 appointments. Teeth cleaning at the Dentist but the Dentist office is closed means appointment is cancelled.

Second appointment was for an ultrasound for the non-surgery side breast which I am supposed to get done every 6 months. They have postponed the ultrasound. I don't know how I feel about the ultrasound being postponed. I have phoned my family Doctor to let them know. Now I have to wait and see if I get a phone call from my Family Doctor if she feels it is a priority to get the ultrasound done. On the positive side I have never had any problems with that side. I do know that I want the ultrasound done before I have my next surgery. I want an updated image before they operate on me. 

GRRR Covid-19!!


Update - I just got off the phone with my family Doctor who told me that because it was a screening ultrasound (not because a lump was found) she was ok with it being delayed a month or two. I said that I wanted it done before I had my next surgery. I want an update image done before they operate. She said that was reasonable and would accommodate. 

Re: Let's Discuss...coping with cancer and COVID-19

Posted by Cynthia Mac on May 1, 2020 8:37 am

Great job of advocating for yourself, Buffythevampire‍ !
“When the root is deep, there is no reason to fear the wind.” - Japanese saying

Re: Let's Discuss...coping with cancer and COVID-19

Posted by Drscrs on May 1, 2020 5:39 pm

Hi Lacey
Doing well.  I am retired and don't have to go out on a day by day basis to work.  Both my wife and I stay at home most of the time, only going out for groceries or the pharmacy. 
We went for a drive on Wednesday, just to get out of the house and give the car a drive.
Most of my appointments that I had have been cancelled. The only appointment that went ahead was for my cancer.  I had a CT Scan done and blood work and got good results back.  No cancer.  I am now cancer free for 2 and a half years.  It has been a rough 5 years.  The blood work showed that my kidney function was up, so the doctor ordered more blood work to be done.  That was done late last week and I am awaiting the results. 
It is suppose to be a nice day tomorrow, might just get outside for a while.

Take care and stay safe
Wayne

Re: Let's Discuss...coping with cancer and COVID-19

Posted by Clarke on May 9, 2020 5:25 pm

I am one of the lucky ones!   My radical cystoscopy and hernia surgery and hospital rehab  were completed by Sept. 2019, well before we heard of COVID-19.  And I am still getting nursing care at home.
i am thankful for the outstanding care of Dr Kulkarni and staff at Toronto General Hospital and Toronto Rehab Hospital.   And I am thankful that I was not caught in the surgery delays caused by COVID-19.
Several friends were hospitalized for surgery when I was last summer.   I have just sent them a reminder that this is one more thing to be thankful for, as we continue our sheltered and shuttered lives.
it has not been a great year - but it could have been so much worse.
Clarke Edward