A cancer survivor expresses the fears many survivors face with another year of staring down the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is the time of year when we let go of the previous year and prepare for the New Year. For most of us, 2021 was another tough year after the unexpected pandemic shattered the world in 2020.
We thought we had the pandemic behind us, but it is still rearing its ugly head. We seem to be dealing with the same old issues that are wearing us down mentally, physically and emotionally.
Dare I go out in public?It is safe to be around friends and family members? Is it safe to fly again? Will I work remotely or in an office or both? Will my child or grandchild's school be open or closed? The list goes on and on.
For cancer survivors, the questions become even more critical. Will the cancer return? What protocol will I be on this time? How do I stay safe with a compromised immune system? Is it even safe to go to the hospital for treatments that I need?
For some of us cancer survivors, the questions become even more dire. There is a new variant in my blood work (I am beginning to hate that word between the pandemic and with cancer) and I have been referred from my local oncologist to the Cleveland Clinic. They need to run some more tests, like a new bone marrow biopsy, and then decide if I go on new chemo, go back to a previous one, or consider having a bone marrow transplant. So the pressures on us are immense.
Personally, I have not flown for two years to see my family who are all out of state. Obviously, I am not climbing on a cruise ship anytime soon and that was the way I could travel because if I got tired, I could go to my cabin and rest. My 17-year-old service dog is truly showing her age and I wonder how much longer she can hang on.
What will the New Year bring? I think we are all contemplating this no matter who we are or where we live. Our situations may be different, but many of the dilemmas are the same. However, the only way to survive is to hold on and support each other.
This is not a time to retreat into ourselves, because we need each other more than ever. I have friends and family who are driving me to the clinic, bringing food and listening to me vent when I need it. I have a church where we support each other as a family. I have relatives who email and text me daily to keep in touch. I have other cancer survivors encouraging me daily on social media.
In my holiday letter sent for the New Year, I talked about the three most important things we have. These include faith, family and friends. No matter what our beliefs and our experiences are, we need these three gifts in our life.
Somehow, someway we will all face the New Year together and whatever it may bring. It is much easier to do it as a group rather than to be alone. And we must not forget that!
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