Thoughts on Cancer & Covid Life

by Bob Drummond

Published on April 27, 2020

My fellow cancer survivors have noted that this forced quarantine feels familiar from our chemo treatments: masks, gloves, super careful about germs, living in sweats.

It has occurred to me that our eventual reentry to post-COVID real life will be similar.

With cancer, there is no one moment when you can celebrate the end. Even after chemo ends. It can take weeks for your body and mind to feel normal. Even after you are done with treatment, there are still five years of follow-up tests, scans and doctor visits. It was hard to know how to and when to celebrate.  So I learned to celebrate the little victories:  my first cup of coffee or taste of chocolate after chemo (both tasted terrible on chemo), the day I could get back to the swimming pool at the YMCA, my first beer, my hair growing back…all of these were small victories over time that were signposts that I was getting back to “normal” and I was mindful to celebrate each one of them.

I think our post-COVID life will be similar.  There will not be a moment-in-time when “it will be all over.”  There will not be a communal celebration, like the 4th of July.  More likely there will be a series of small victories over days and months:  returning to work, seeing friends and family in person, coffee in a real coffee shop, going to the mall to buy some pants, a return to the gym, worshipping together in the same space.

I think we better start emotionally and mentally preparing ourselves to recognize, appreciate and celebrate each small step toward normalcy, as they slowly come.  Then, one day, we may realize that our “normal life” has mostly returned.