a breast cancer survivor in a covid19 world

I bet you didn’t know you could get COVID-19 face masks in breast cancer appropriate patterns, right? And no, nothing gets token donated to legitimate breast cancer charities.

Welcome to my breast cancer blog flowing stream of random consciousness. My head feels like a ping pong is going back and forth.

Yes I have been very quiet during this time, and this is the first time I’ve written in a long time on this blog. And if I’m honest with myself since the onset of coronavirus I’ve lived with a hum of anxiety. It’s always there. I don’t want it to be there I’m keeping myself safe and away and following the stay at home orders, even ordering all the groceries. But as a breast cancer survivor who is still technically a breast cancer patient, this thing scares the crap out of me.


Because every breast cancer patient and survivor lives an immunocompromised life. And I am the person who got the flu twice in a row the year I forgot to get a flu shot.

June 1st marks 9 years since the cancer was removed along with half of my left breast. My life is so much better post- breast cancer, I am very blessed. But this COVID-19 world in which we live is like a giant monkey wrench in the works of life.

We went into self quarantine two weeks ahead of stay at home orders because I attended a horticultural event where the second victim in my county was two weeks before the stay at home orders were issued in Pennsylvania . I never had contact with the person, did not get the virus but the rules are you are exposed or at something or where there was exposure, you report it and contact your doctors. And stay home.

This weird made for bad TV sci fi movie we are living is so surreal. A global pandemic and the last one was what? 1918? It is mind blowing.

A friend of mine posted the following on Facebook today:

March 13, 2020, schools closed in Pennsylvania.

Restaurants and bars closed the night of March 16.

Governor Wolf ordered people in the state to stay at home for thirty days. He then extended it until further notice. Delaware County may move from red to yellow on June 5th.

So we don’t forget…

Today is Sunday May 24, 2020.

– We are at 70 days of social isolation.

– Schools have been closed since mid March and are teaching remotely on-line. This will continue indefinitely. Keystones exams cancelled, AP and SAT exams postponed. Proms and graduations cancelled, postponed, or virtual. High school seniors are making their college choices based on virtual tours. Their orientations will be online, too.

– Employees who can work from home are doing so.

– Non-essential stores are closed since late March.

– There are lines / tapes inside the stores to keep people 6 feet apart.

– Long lines to get into grocery stores. Hard to get a grocery delivery.

– Amazon Prime delivery is no longer same day, next day, or 2 day.

– Bars and restaurants open only for home delivery & pick-up.

– Kentucky Derby has been postponed…1st time since 1945. Parades have been cancelled. Jazz and music festivals from coast to coast cancelled.

– All sports competitions have been cancelled. No baseball.

– All festivals and entertainment events have been banned.

– Weddings, family celebrations and birthdays have been cancelled. Funerals limited to 10 people.

-Zoom, which was a business application, is being widely used by everyone to gather groups of people virtually – socializing, funerals, weddings, workouts, religious activities are being scheduled on Zoom.

– Drive-by has a new meaning. People are doing drive-by parades to celebrate birthdays. People are doing drive-by baby showers by dropping gifts off at end of driveway.

– Young kids can’t understand why they can only see grandparents & other extended family and friends on a screen, or thru a window if someone visits in person.

– Hugs and kisses are not given. Elbows are.

-Airplanes are flying but majority of flights are canceled and only a handful of people per flight. JetBlue requires a mask.

– The churches are closed. Online mostly. Some drive-thru.

– We have to stay 6 feet apart.

– Primary voting will be done via mail-in votes.

– Shortage of masks and gloves in hospitals & other medical facilities. Shortage of ventilators.

– People are wearing masks. Grocery store and restaurants even require that you wear them to enter. People are making their own masks for sale or donation.

– Absolutely NO visitors allowed in hospitals, nursing homes, senior living, etc. If you go to the ER, you must enter alone, unless you’re the parent (or guardian) or caregiver.

– Toilet paper, hand sanitizer, antibacterial wipes and anything Lysol or Clorox is in short supply and limited per person…IF you can even find them.

– Flour and yeast are also nearly impossible to find. So are freezers.

– As of today, gas prices range from $1.69-2.29.

– Stores are closing early to disinfect everything. 24 hour stores are closing by 8 or 9pm.

– Store check outs, pharmacies, and even fast food drive thru windows have added plexiglass between employee and customer. Have to reach around or under to pay!

– Only 1 family member per cart in stores.

– You can’t find isopropyl alcohol easily…supply per person is limited.

– Banks only open using drive-thru or ATM transactions.

– Australia, USA and Europe have closed their borders, along with many others.

– Western Australia has been divided into 9 territories & an instant $1,500 fine issued for crossing the border without a valid reason. (Transport workers, Essential services etc)

– No one is travelling for leisure. Airports empty. Tourism is in crisis.

– 7:00pm is “Clappy Hour” in NYC to celebrate our healthcare heroes.

– We hung rainbows in our windows.

– Everyone is binge-watching Netflix and Amazon Prime.

– Remember the Concert from Home, the Disney Family Singalongs, the Some Good News prom and graduation, the Facebook Virtual Commencement…

Why do I post this?

Next year & then every year after, this status will appear in my Facebook memories feed. And it will be an annual reminder that life is precious & that nothing should be taken for granted. We are where we are with what we have. Let’s be grateful.

Thank you to ALL THE ESSENTIAL WORKERS – healthcare, veterinary offices, supermarket/deli/restaurant/coffee shop, delivery, mail, transit, sanitation, firefighters, police, bank, etc….it takes a village of essential workers to keep us going – be grateful they get up and do their job each day!

*copied and pasted

This is our world. Our friends and family memebers are stressed out. My husband is working 14 ++ hour days working from home. So are many others I know. Just as many, many more have lost their jobs or fear they will. Nothing like a global pandemic to rock the economy, huh? Yet do we really get relief from the astronomical health insurance premiums? Not so much.

And then there is the human contact, we miss our friends and family. And with a global pandemic we are seeing the best and worst in people wherever we live. I think there will be a special divine and social retribution for those who have been awful through this.

So here I am on the verge of 9 years since June 1, 2011 and I can’t even get a mammogram until mid June. And I am legit scared. Not so much of what the mammogram will say but bro actually have to go into a hospital setting. Same as today when I return to physical therapy (PT) post knee surgery. It was interrupted because of COVID-19.

And I am scared of that and I need the PT. My knee surgery was on my left leg, and left side is where sentinel node was removed in 2011.

And you know how after you’ve had breast cancer surgery they tell you where the sentinel node was taken out you never have blood drawn, you don’t get shots, you don’t have blood pressure cuffs, you fly with a sleeve? Basically you don’t do anything on the left side? I found out why. Since this knee surgery I have had slight lymphedema from my left knee down to part of my foot. It has lessened a great deal, but it still flares up.

So now as we begin to go back into the world, what does it look like really? Will it be easy to learn to re-navigate? Or fraught with disarray and chaos? Or will it be like this never happened?

I don’t have those answers.

Do you?

About carla

Writer, blogger, photographer, breast cancer survivor. I write about whatever strikes my fancy as I meander through life.
This entry was posted in breast cancer and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to a breast cancer survivor in a covid19 world

  1. Lori Ellen Mitchell-McNally says:

    I would love to order the masks for our breast cancer patients … where do I go to do that?

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