Risky Business: Navigating COVID Challenges To Still Find Connection


A survivor discusses the challenges of finding connections during COVID-19.

As I’ve said before, fighting cancer has helped me step up my coping game.

I’d settled into a decent groove during COVID, with health routines, reading, writing, meditating, guitar— all my solo activities keeping me busy. With Kori working remotely, I was no longer alone in the apartment all day.

But Kori’s wired differently. She needs people around and changes of scenery. Kori thrives off in-person conversation, not video chats. She really missed her parents and friends back in Northern California whom we hadn’t seen all year.

It forced up a scary dilemma. While a trip out west felt important for Kori’s holistic health (we were protecting ourselves physically, but her heart and soul missed her people), California was pretty much the last place you’d want to travel.

I thought about how the past few years of our relationship have centered around protecting me and nurturing my needs, and this time, recognized I had to put the anxieties aside and make sure my wife was cared for. It was a proud moment to push ahead on the decision with her— I knew she’d be worrying about me and that I had to reassure her it was my choice too, and I’m not sure I would’ve felt as comfortable risking it in years past. But here we were, rolling the dice.

After planning safely ahead: stocking up with masks, face guards and areas to quarantine, we booked our flights. I still worried about leaving my healing center behind to essentially travel straight into the covid storm, but just like Kori has sacrificed endlessly for me, I’d do anything for her.

Two weeks later, we’ve been having the best time. Whenever I see Kori light up, chatting away with the people she loves, it brings so much joy— just knowing that she’s finally getting what she needed. And I’ve been just as happy. Didn’t realize how much I needed the change myself.

Maybe the past few years have trained us well for navigating high-risk situations. They’ve certainly helped us build trust in one another. They’ve toughened us up and brought us closer. And with scans coming up next, I’m glad to know we’ve gotten in more moments and created new memories; that even after all we’ve endured, we’re still enjoying ourselves the best we can and still taking things one day at a time.

Related Videos
Beth Blakey speaking in an interview with CURE
Cancer survivor, Frank J. Peter, playing an original song on the piano