The following is my personal journal entry from 12/9/2020:
"Today, I met with my oncologist to review labs and follow up to see how I am doing. It has been 7 months of Tamoxifen and port flushes. Sitting in the room after the nurse took my blood pressure and temp, I couldn't help but be mesmerized by the wall with knit hats in plastic bags in magazine holders. It was surreal. It was sad.
There used to be reading material in this room as you wait for the doctor/nurse. These knit hats used to be on display in the lobby. There was a basket and a couple foam heads to display these knit hats as they were free to chemo patients losing hair. Those of us awaiting labs, chemo treatments and etc would interact trying to lift each other up. Offer support to each other or share stories. But when COVID came, the lobby and these "holding tanks" were stripped of anything not nailed down. No magazines, no pamphlets, and no knit hats. Only 2 or 3 chairs now sit in the lobby and these bagged knit hats on the walls where I wait.
Before surgery, I had met with those that would perform my radiation treatments after chemo. Their lobby at that time had a table with a large puzzle, coffee, donuts or cookies set out for those waiting on a loved one or waiting to be called in. How nice of them and I looked forward to that. . . but. . . then . . . COVID. By the time I got there for radiation all of that was gone. I was to come in alone, masked, asked the standard COVID questions, temp taken and told to sit in the far chair. It was bad enough having breast cancer and now to be treated with very little contact as possible for my own good as much as theirs. It felt so sterile and cold. My last day of radiation I rang the bell but received no hugs or celebrations with the staff. Just me, waiting for the nurse to sanitize the rope for me to ring the bell and go.
This is what COVID has done to those of us that have been fighting cancer the past year. What is hard under normal conditions; with COVID, it forced many of us cancer patients to fly solo like a kamikaze pilot. This is a disease with a treatment that tears a person down emotionally and physically over a period of weeks, months or years. The treatment sucks so bad that people pre-COVID planned actual celebrations the end of it. COVID took that away from several of us. I got my certificate and the nurse said sorry no hugs as she looked at me as I cried and rang the bell.
Those knit hats in plastic bags represent how I felt as a cancer patient during COVID. Fighting to be prevalent and present while being isolated for our safety."
I am just a 40 something married lady with kids who likes to ride gravel when life lets me. Just so happens I was called into the Cancer Club on October 31, 2019. Fought my fight with surgery, chemo, radiation, friends, family and lots of dark humor. I find sharing my experience helps me. Maybe it can help you.