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Reflecting on COVID-19 as a Person with Cancer

BY Gogs Gagnon
PUBLISHED May 25, 2020
While cutting the grass, I thought about the massive effort underway around the world to help flatten the COVID-19 curve and rid the world of the virus.

I'm incredibly grateful for the support and dedication of our health-care professionals, researchers, first responders, transit operators, sanitation teams, grocery store clerks, pharmacy staff, mail carriers, truck drivers, journalists and all other essential workers. I have enormous respect and admiration for everyone on the front line, including my two daughters, who both work in supermarkets, and my son, who works in a care home as a health-care assistant. Seeing the essential workers in action during this pandemic is a reminder of their overwhelming dedication and commitment to their craft. It gives me great comfort in this time of distress to know everyone on the front line is working above and beyond the call of duty while providing essential service and care for the protection and safety of us all.

The virus has reminded us to relearn the important basics that we all learned as children— wash your hands, don't touch your face, cough and sneeze into your elbows and to stay home when you're sick. In addition to these common courtesy behaviors, practicing social/physical distancing and only going out when absolutely necessary, are critical and simple steps that are the Achilles heel to COVID-19 that enables everyone, and gives us the power to help keep ourselves and others safe while reducing the risk of further spread of the virus.

My heart goes out to all affected by this horrible virus, including my dad, who lost a good friend to COVID-19. His friend was 53-years old, in good health, and suddenly developed a fever and difficulty breathing. An ambulance rushed him to the hospital. A test confirmed he had the virus, and two days later, he passed away, with no visitors or family by his side— a necessary rule for the protection of others. Even though it hurts not to have been with him, we are incredibly grateful for the health-care team of professionals who worked diligently and tirelessly to care for him and especially for taking the time to be with him and hold his hand during the final moment.

I'm proud of our health-care professionals and recently wrote a book that shares my personal patient experience during my prostate cancer diagnosis, treatment and ongoing recovery. The name of the book is Prostate Cancer Strikes: Navigating the Storm, and I'm forever grateful for the doctors and nurses who went the extra mile to provide excellent care and support throughout my diagnosis, treatment and recovery. Let's give them, and all the essential workers, the support and respect they deserve and help protect them by continuing to follow the safety protocols to rid the world of COVID-19. Stay safe, be kind, and together we will overcome.
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