Entering year two of lockdowns and restrictions, the question of: are we lifting restrictions too soon is a nuanced one. For many of us living with blood cancers, it’s not a simple one.
We probably have the same anxieties as the rest of the population except on a heightened level. As a survivor of MDS (diagnosed back in 2014), I would wonder if that sneeze, I just heard was covered up by a mask? Was his/her cough a clearing of the throat or something phlegmier? Is my tiredness from the residual effects of cancer or is it the onset of Covid-19? When will I feel comfortable sharing space with unmasked individuals again? Plenty of niggling thoughts indeed. Thank God, conquering cancer is off my bucket list. I’m pretty sure these concerns would have been much more amplified if I were still in the midst of recovery.
As I embrace my newly stem celled life, I proceed with guarded caution. I’ve adjusted to wearing my mask everywhere and I will adjust to whatever “back to normal” schedule the government recommends for us. It’s upsetting that the divisive opinions of any return proposal only add more unnecessary stress. We must continue to respect and consider each other’s vulnerabilities and be mindful that their anxieties are different than our own.
For me, getting through this pandemic means staying active mentally and physically. My daily routine consists a 20-minute workout, 30 minutes of meditation (including deep breathing - a great stress reducer) and an hour of reading. I try not to stay too sedentary by binge watching TV. My own rule of thumb is: if there is 80% PVR capacity, I’ve watched too much. Keep that box full of “view later” programs and instead, enjoy real life! I also try to eat healthy (with citrus fruits, veggies, ginger, garlic etc.) and stay hydrated (mostly water). To combat feelings of isolation, I recommend staying in touch with friends — perhaps consider a phone call over a text? Reach out to your community and lend a socially distanced helping hand — I found that taking care of others helps with my selfcare. There is value in going for walks, finding a new hobby and getting plenty of rest. All these things have helped me push through the storm.
I remain optimistic that the light at the end of the Covid restrictions tunnel is not that of an oncoming train carrying yet another variance. Stay safe and respectful everyone.